This article presents a short and old recovery prayer “Just for Today” used in Alcoholics Anonymous. It helped me personally so I suggest others use it to achieve their goals as I did.
Over 14 years ago I left Rehab to rejoin the world and start again. To begin with I decided to focus on attending recovery meetings and follow the advice of my counsellor who I respected and admired. He had helped me understand so much about myself and recovery so I followed his direction. This was to get a sponsor and practice daily recovery rituals.
A journalist called Frank Crane wrote a newspaper column aptly named Doctor Crane says, for a newspaper called the Boston Globe, way back in the 1920’s. One week he published an article called Just for Today. Some of the essence of the text has been attributed to the Spiritual philosopher and psychologist William James (1900). Also interestingly in 1944 the Masonic Historiology, a journal of the masons movement printed a version of Just for Today, also attributing the original to Crane.
“Here are ten resolutions to make when you awake in the morning. They are Just for One Day. Think of them not as a life task but as a day’s work. These things will give you pleasure. Yet they require will power. You don’t need resolutions to do what is easy”
Many men and women who attend Alcoholics Anonymous may also know this inspirational reading as it has been adopted into their literature.
Here is the original text written by Crane;
Just for Today: I will try to live through this day only, and not tackle my whole life-problem at once. I can do some things for twelve hours that would appall me if I felt I had to keep them up for a lifetime.
Just for Today: I will be Happy. This assumes that what Abraham Lincoln said is true, that “most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” Happiness is from Within; it is not a matter of Externals.
Just for Today: I will Adjust myself to what Is, and not try to Adjust everything to my own desires. I will take my family, my business, and my luck as they come, and fit myself to them.
Just for Today: I will take care of my Body. I will exercise it, care for it, and nourish it, and not abuse it nor neglect it; so that it will be a perfect machine for my will.
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 all day. I will read something that requires effort, though and concentration.
Just for Today: I will exercise my Soul. In three ways, to wit:
1. I will do somebody a good turn and not get found out. If anybody knows of it, it will not count.
2. I will do at least two things I don’t want to do, as William James suggests just for exercise.
3. I will not show any one that my feelings are hurt. They may be hurt, but Today I will not show it.
Just for To-day: I will be agreeable. I will look as well as I can, dress as becomingly as possible, talk low, act courteously, be liberal with flattery, criticize not one bit nor find fault with anything, and not try to regulate nor improve anybody.
Just for Today: I will have a Program. I will write down just what I expect to do every hour. I may not follow it exactly, but I’ll have it. It will save me from the two pests Hurry and Indecision.
Just for Today: I will have a quiet half hour, all by myself, and relax. During this half hour, some time, I will think of God, so as to get a little more perspective to my life.
Just for Today: I will be Unafraid. Especially I will not be afraid to be Happy, to enjoy what is Beautiful, to love and to believe that those I love, love me.
NA daily readings book
This ‘just for today’ reading is a tool for change. Recovering addicts and alcoholics use this prayer to instill positive values into themselves.
For a newly clean and sober person trying to change and maintain recovery, living one day at a time can be a very positive and liberating prospect. The very thought of what to do with the rest of my life would have scared me back to using.
The AA just for today card is a set of instructions and suggestions on how to live life sanely. This of course will result in a happy and peaceful life.
AA Just for Today pdf download here
This wonderful text is short and printed on small AA cards, I call it ‘A program in your pocket’ because you can take it everywhere with you.
Apart from being a daily reminder, it is also a safety mechanism when things get tough. It serves as a reminder what a rational and constructive person we are now.
The message contained in the text can also be considered a relapse prevention program.
‘Keep it in the day’ you will hear people say in AA – why?
Being a newcomer in recovery can be daunting so taking on too much could undermine your fragile stability. We suggest managing one day at a time and being mindful – this means not thinking too much about the future or past.
Our new identity and behaviors, our new attitude and philosophy for life will take some practicing. Giving up all our character defects forever feels like an impossibility, particularly as some of our defects brought us instant gains and rewards. So we reduce the goals to manageable chunks, one day at a time.
CBT – therapeutically and Cognitively speaking these statements are all part of the positive affirmations process, they affirm what you aspire to be and want to do. Next you can say them in the present tense and act-as-if, I am or I do….this ensures they become new automatic behaviours.
By reading these words it challenges your old behavior and old thinking. We were very rarely doing any of the things on this list. However it feels good to read them and to commit to the intention to live up to these great words.
Rome was not built in a day but it was built a brick at a time, streets would develop over time and finally the city emerged. Changes in recovery are the same, we do not change overnight or just because we stop using, but instead work hard to change.
Doing the right thing in recovery is important so most people will reevaluate what this means to them individually – however collectively we also respect values and spiritual principles.
The good news is “Addiction is treatable’ but not with medication, instead with recovery tools like Just for today readings. They keep us from falling back into anxiety and depression and using again.
You can start any prayer with Just for today I will be…….