In recovery, you’ll have what’s known as a tool box. This means you’ll have a list of tools, coping mechanisms, action items, and skills to help you deal with everyday life in recovery. While drugs and alcohol may have been your go-to method for dealing with everything life throws at you, learning to live without those substances demands that you learn new methods of getting through good and bad days. One of the tools that many people in recovery use are affirmations. Affirmations are an easy, daily recovery tool that can be a great compliment to your recovery program in Alcoholics Anonymous, SMART Recovery, addiction treatment, or any other type of recovery path. Let’s take a look at where to find daily affirmations and how to use them.
What’s a daily affirmation?
First, you need to know exactly what an affirmation is. An affirmation is literally the action or process of affirming something or being affirmed, and it often provides emotional encouragement or support. Daily affirmations are positive statements or phrases that you repeat to yourself, through prayer or meditation, or as a daily addition to your thought process. The power of daily affirmations includes cultivating a positive mind and setting your intentions for a bountiful life. Words are powerful and affirmations can help you get you where you want to go, especially in recovery.
In AA there are many sayings, book passages, and affirmations that are commonly heard in the rooms of recovery. Some sayings you might hear in AA include:
- Easy does it.
- Live and let live.
- One day at a time.
- First things first.
- This too shall pass.
- Let go and let God.
- Just for today.
- Honesty, open-mindedness, and willingness.
- Keep coming back.
- It works if you work it.
- To thine own self be true.
- Progress not perfection.
Additionally, you might be familiar with AA daily reflections. This is a book produced by AA members for AA members. Each page is a day of the year and includes a reading passage from AA literature, a share or affirmation, and topic title. Here is an example from September 19:
We admitted we couldn’t lick alcohol with our own remaining resources, and so we accepted the further fact that dependence upon a Higher Power (if only our A.A. group) could do this hitherto impossible job. The moment we were able to accept these facts fully, our release from the alcohol compulsion had begun. — AS BILL SEES IT, p. 109
Freedom came to me only with my acceptance that I could turn my will and my life over to the care of my Higher Power, whom I call God. Serenity seeped into the chaos of my life when I accepted that what I was going through was life, and that God would help me through my difficulties – and much more, as well. Since then He has helped me through all of my difficulties! When I accept situations as they are, not as I wish them to be, then I can begin to grow and have serenity and peace of mind.
How to use daily affirmations
It’s up to you how you choose to incorporate the use of daily affirmations in your life. You could purchase the AA Daily Reflections book and read it every morning with your coffee. You could find your own daily affirmations that resonate with you and say them each day when you find a quiet moment to pray or meditate. Here are some tips on how to use your daily affirmations to strengthen your recovery:
- Use personal affirmations in the first person. You should experience your own goals and sense of responsibility when saying them.
- Use positive words only. Avoid negative expressions like “I don’t” or “I can’t.”
- Make your affirmations appropriate for any issues or problems in your life. You can make them recovery-oriented, or about relationships, or any other qualities you wish to work on.
- Use them regularly. The goal is to have them become embedded in your consciousness.
- Keep affirmations simple. You want to pick a specific topic and concentrate on that. Avoid vague and abstract words.
Resources to find daily affirmations
If coming up with affirmations on your own seems overwhelming, don’t worry—there are tons already out there waiting for you. Below are a few websites where you can find daily affirmations to incorporate into your own recovery life:
Daily affirmations should be one of the many tools you have in recovery. When you’re having a bad day or preparing yourself for a stressful week, these affirmations should help you feel better and more grounded. Affirmations are a way to live your life with intention and purpose, something a lot of us know nothing about until we get sober. Affirmations should help you get where you are going in recovery. They are the building blocks to help you sustain a long, healthy life free of drugs and alcohol. Affirmations are just one of the many puzzle pieces that will help you put together your new life.
Alexander, Ronald. “5 Steps To Make Affirmations Work For You.” Psychology Today. 15 August 2011. Accessed September 19, 2016. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-wise-open-mind/201108/5-steps-make-affirmations-work-you
Alcoholics Anonymous. Daily Reflections. Accessed September 19, 2016. http://www.aa.org/assets/en_US/aa-literature/b-12-daily-reflections.
Written by: Kelly Fitzgerald