There’s no doubt in my mind that the numerous slogans I’ve heard repeatedly over the years in the rooms of A.A. have impacted my psyche one degree to another. Perhaps the most familiar commonsense catchphrase “One day at a Time” has definitely helped carry me through countless rough and tumble days in my sobriety.
The famous A.A. saying “First things First” has often come in handy as a gentle reminder to slow down when I’ve felt overwhelmed by a bombardment of thoughts rushing into my head too quickly.
The frequently heard tried and true line “Easy does It” has rarely if ever failed to have a calming impact on nerves.
I know when my mind starts focusing only on the negative and everything seems to be all about me the poor victim, the short but to the point “stinking thinking” often works to jolt my brain back into a more reasonable and objective state.
Still the one slogan that seems to have had the greatest impact and been the most life changing for me I heard while sitting in a small A.A. discussion group several years ago. One of the members was talking about how a “poor me” mentality can threaten our sobriety. He suggested sticking a “post-it” note on our mirror that reads “You’re Looking at the Problem.”
To admit to myself in a mirror that I am “looking at the problem,” I instantly become aware of my role in a given situation. As a result my tendency to fall into the victim role dissipates. I am admitting that I am responsible for my contribution to each one of my encounters and their outcomes regardless of how wronged I may feel. It is a very empowering slogan because it has taught that with something as simple as a smile or a deep breath that allows me to think before I act, I can change the outcome of a situation and potentially change my life.
The slogan “You’re Looking at the Problem” is a quick, foolproof and slightly humorous reminder that I create my own destiny. Whenever I share the quote it never fails to bring about a few chuckles and smiles. Humor aside, the sentence has been one enormously beneficial to my continued sobriety to remind myself that when all is said and done I am ultimately responsible for both my own joy and pain.