Friday, September 4, 2009

Just for Today.

I was given the little card with this Slogan, early in my recovery. I took it home and used it as a bookmark - that way I'd get regular exposure to it, since I'm a voracious reader. Many times I'd go find whatever book I was in the midst of, not to read it, but to read the Just for Today card.

"Just for today I will try to live through this day only, and not tackle all my problems at once. I can do something for twelve hours that would appall me if I felt that I had to keep it up for a lifetime.

Just for today I will be happy. This assumes to be true what Abraham Lincoln said, that most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.

Just for today I will adjust myself to what is, and not try to adjust everything to my own desires. I will take my luck as it comes, and fit myself to it.

Just for today I will try to strengthen my mind. I will study. I will learn something useful. I will not be a mental loafer. I will read something that requires effort, thought and concentration.

Just for today I will exercise my soul in three ways: I will do somebody a good turn, and not get found out; if anybody knows of it, it will not count. I will do at least two things I don’t want to do just for exercise. I will not show anyone that my feelings are hurt; they may be hurt, but today I will not show it.

Just for today I will be agreeable. I will look as well as I can, dress becomingly, keep my voice low, be courteous, criticize not one bit. I won’t find fault with anything, nor try to improve or regulate anybody but myself.

Just for today I will have a program. I may not follow it exactly, but I will have it. I will save myself from two pests: hurry and indecision.

Just for today I will have a quiet half hour all by myself and relax. During this half hour, sometime, I will try to get a better perspective of my life.

Just for today I will be unafraid. Especially I will not be afraid to enjoy what is beautiful and to believe that as I give to the world, so the world will give to me."

"...not tackle all my problems at once." This is a great reminder to me that I cannot do what is not humanly possible, and that my life feels much more manageable when I'm dealing with it one small task at a time, rather than gazing out over the entire landscape and moaning about how impossible it all is.

"...I will be happy." I was staggered by the idea that happiness was a choice - dumbfounded, gobsmacked, blown away. I couldn't grasp it. I had the same conversation with my sponsor dozens of times, asking her "How can I choose to be happy when he's drinking?" and she would say this or that bit of program wisdom in response, until one day she looked me right in the eye, and said, "Well you choose to be unhappy about it, don't you?" I knew to the marrow of my bones that was a true statement, I could feel it next time I did it - he came though the door drunk, and I took a big deep breath and prepared to loose upon him the same calvalcade of words I always did, and...decided not to. I was in a good mood until he arrived, and I wanted to stay in a good mood. I smiled and greeted him kindly. He gaped at me in astonishment.

"...take my luck as it comes, and fit myself to it." This becomes easier with practise. When I don't expect, I'm not disappointed. When I hold my life lightly, rather than white-knuckling, I see the humour, and feel the delight, that I missed for so long.

"...I will be agreeable." I feel much better about myself when I can practise this behavior, and not respond in kind to rudeness or irritation. I like the bit about "...not try to improve or regulate anybody but myself." Let's face it, that's a full-time job all by itself.

"...I will be unafraid." I could not get to this, until I had a spiritual awakening, and felt my Higher Power close to me. Then I knew I was never alone, and didn't need to approach life as if it were a ravening beast set to devour me. I will deal with each day as it arrives, and take the wonders with the pain, that's the tradeoff of being able to fully feel the joy - I must accept that if I'm open to it, I'm also open to the pain. I don't ever wish to go back to my state of numb despair.

I had my Just for Today card for quite a few years, until I gave it to a friend who was in need of the wisdom contained in the slightly tattered and well-handled card. " I give to the world, so the world will give to me." A beautiful promise.


  1. I hope a lot of people read this. There's enough wisdom to keep us busy for a lifetime. I especially like your example of choosing to be happy and having your husband gape in astonishment. When addicts don't rule, they're kind of stunned. I'm so happy for you.

  2. Absolutely beautiful post -- I agree with Madison. I hope a lot of people stop by and read this.

    I'm glad I did...


  3. I've heard it said thst, for alanoners, alcohol is a disease of relationships. So what work we do to repair relationships-either with others or within ourselves- moves us to wholeness. That is a good way to spend a lifetime!