As we all navigate the coronavirus pandemic, I thought it would be a good time to look at some of many slogans associated with Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12 Step programs. Although they can sound kind of cheesy, each has an underlying message that can be helpful.

  1. This Too Shall Pass: This one seems the most appropriate at this time. It feels like forever that we have been practicing social distancing, avoided seeing our family, and friends, or been to a restaurant. It's so important during these times of despair, to remember that the only thing permanent is change. Life may not look the same from here on in, but the acute situation will pass and our lives will go on. Think about 9/11 and how horrible that was. Many things changed after that. A certain innocence and freedom was lost but we came out of it stronger.

  2. Easy Does It: We need to do whatever we can to keep calm and be easy on ourselves and those around us.

  3. One Day at a Time: The most iconic of all slogans. This teaches us to not project into the future. The truth is that we do not know what the future will look like and to try to anticipate the future will only lead to fear and anxiety. A much healthier approach is to take care of ourselves today. Focus on what is in front of us right now.

  4. Misery is Optional: I personally love this one. This slogan is about attitude and outlook. Are you a glass half empty or half full kind of person? The choice is yours. If you look at things negatively, chances are you will be more miserable. How about assuming things will be fine?

  5. HALT: Don't get Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired — the basics. If you are feeling down, please check in with yourself on these basic human needs. If any of these is in need of attention, attend to it and see how you feel afterwards.

  6. Progress Not Perfection: As long as we move forward, we are not moving backwards. Strive for forward progress. If we aim for perfection, we will most surely fail.

  7. KISS: Keep It Simple, Stupid. These are confusing, complicated times. Just watching the news and trying to keep up with current events is complicated. Keep it simple: let's do what we need to do to take care of ourselves and our families. If watching the news stresses you out, think about just checking it once per day and only check reliable sources.


  9. Recovery is a Journey Not a Destination: The pandemic is part of our collective journey. We have the tools to make it through without a relapse-medications, counselors, virtual and phone supports, etc.

  10. Recovery Begins with the First Step: To me that can mean asking for help or literally working the first step of AA — admitting powerlessness.

  11. Gratitude is an Action Word: Gratitude is something to be practiced. It is said that we cannot be grateful and depressed at the same time.

  12. SLIP: Sobriety Lost Its Priority. Unfortunately for some of us, this period of time will become too much to bear and we expect to see more problems with mental health and addiction. If that is the case, it's never too late to begin your recovery journey again.

  13. Be Part of the Solution, Not Part of the Problem: Is there anything you could be doing right now to help others?

  14. Take What You Like and Leave the Rest: Everyone's recovery path is different. If certain slogans don't resonate with you, that's fine, hopefully some do.

  15. It is so important to remember that we are all in this together. Help is available if you are struggling. The Coleman Institute for Addiction Medicine is well suited for withdrawal management or detox at this time. Our detoxes are performed in an outpatient setting and we comply with all CDC guidelines for safe and effective care. Please contact us at 877-773-3869 to see if our program may be right for you.

    Deborah Reich, MD