12 Step Slogans

BumperstickerBecause 12 step programs are based on repairing spiritual damage, it’s sometimes hard to communicate the “recipes.” There are barriers we erect against anything that will help us recover. Getting the message into a pithy slogan is just the ticket to make it memorable and sneak it past the internal editor we carry around in our heads.

Most are short enough to fit on a medallion or a bumper sticker.

Easy does it.

One day at a time.

Live and let live.

For those who’ve never been in AA or another 12 step program, these seem a little mysterious — good advice, sure, but not nearly as life changing as many in programs have found them to be.

It might be a sad commentary that we need hard-hitting, but dumbed down phrases to get them to “stick.” It’s the reality of addiction – we just aren’t up for deep introspection or nuance.

But there’s a beautiful thing that happens. As we move forward in recovery, those same simple slogans that got us past an obsticle when we first arrived begin to take on new meanings. Like precious flowers that keep blooming showing ever brighter colors, the same slogans show ever more if we look.

Like many things it 12 step programs, you only truly appreciate the power in these little snippets of wisdom when you’ve lived a bit of the life and get some sanity on board. I remember thinking it an insult when I was new — some old timer throwing a slogan at me as if I were a child. Well, it turns out I was and the slogan really did address what was happening.

I’d advise taking another look at some of the slogans that have survived the test of time. Look at them with new eyes and you’ll find a new appreciation and a new flowering inside.

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