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In the treatment and recovery world, there is no name that has achieved household recognition to the same degree as the grandfather of all 12 step programs, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Since its birth, countless iterations have been developed to focus on particular substances, behavioral addictions, and for those in various faith traditions. Many of the sayings of AA have been popularized in recent years due to their powerful impact on those in recovery, and certainly have found their use for anyone who is facing any number of obstacles, who might be struggling with anxiety or other mental health concerns.
Here are some twelve step sayings that have found widespread appeal:
1. One day at a time
If you are having a bad day and going through a lot of pressure remind yourself to take it one day at a time. You don’t need to finish everything at once. Take a breath and remember that all you have to do is get through the next five minutes, the next hour, just one day at a time.
2. First things first
When you have many things to do and you don’t know where to start, take a moment to prioritize the important things. Once your main priority is done, everything else can come later. Make it a regular habit to establish your priorities upfront and follow it through in a logical way.
3. Progress not perfection
Perfection is nearly impossible to come by, and most always comes at a price. Your drive to be perfect is your greatest defense mechanism in action, and a sign that you are uncomfortable with the human aspects of your nature, be it fear, failure or weakness. Truly, it is more important to focus on the small moments of progress than to expect perfection from yourself and others around you. It is a much kinder way to live.
4. This too shall pass
When you are battling an obstacle or an issue in life that does not seem to have a solution, remind yourself that it will pass because everything does. Rest in the fact that the world will go on turning, and there are forces at play much greater than you.
5. Cultivate an attitude of gratitude
We know about the therapeutic power that being grateful can have on your well-being. In low moments and in established daily practice, being grateful will help you remember the good times in your life and reset your focus.
6. Just for today
Sometimes you may be combating a lot of problems all at once. Instead of feeling overwhelmed about what comes next, focus only on what you can do today, remembering that life is lived just one day at a time.
7. Take what you can use and leave the rest
In life, we’re often presented with unsolicited advice that can just as easily incite anger as it can positive steps in the right direction. The choice is yours to make regarding how you will interpret the help or concerns from others.
8. Live and let live
You are not required to solve everyone else’s problems. This bit of wisdom is difficult when you may feel like this is the only part of life that you can control. Focus on your choices and reactions instead of the lives of others.
9. How important is it?
You should not allow anything trivial to take over your life. Your first priority is to yourself and those who love you most.
These 12 step sayings are not only useful to individuals in AA, but also for anyone when they need encouragement and inspiration. Although it can be difficult, allow their wisdom to speak to that part of your life that you’re currently struggling with. Take comfort in the fact that you are not alone, and that there is an entire community of others pursuing positive life change.
Take a moment of reflection to stop and think about what’s needed from you at this point in your life, where you’re headed, and how you’re contributing to your own difficulties. It may be that you need to recognize some harmful patterns of behavior, perhaps some avoidance or other harmful coping mechanisms. Whether it is about alcohol or other drugs, or a mental health concern that has been lurking in the shadows, there may be a message that you need to hear. Take the time to explore what we have to offer online, or give us a call directly to learn about what the right next step for you might be.