By Vic Gerami

There is deep meaning behind every slogan and saying common in 12-Step programs. Although common in the rooms of recovery, some go back before the founding of 12-Steps in the 1930s. They are practical sayings that can apply to anyone and in most situations.

Slogans point to the fact that we really have only today, only this moment to experience. Although it usually doesn’t feel that way, we truly live moment-to-moment. Amid COVID-19 (CoronaVirus) learning to stay in the present, to stay in the now is one of the secrets to serenity. We can do this by staying conscious of the now even when we’re looking at the past or planning for the future.

Below are some of the most popular 12-Step slogans and saying that millions of people use to get through life, deal with situations, and process their feelings.


First Things First

Cultivate an Attitude of Gratitude

This too Shall Pass

Live and Let Live

Let go 

Time takes time

One day at a time

Principles before personalities


Misery is optional

Say what you mean, but don’t say it mean

Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less

Live life on life’s terms

You can’t think your way into a new way of living…you have to live your way into a new way of thinking



HALT = don’t get too Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired

Your worth should never depend on another person’s opinion

HOW it works = Honesty, Open mindedness, and Willingness

Learn to listen and listen to learn

To keep what you have, you have to give it away

If you do what you always did, you’ll get what you always got

Progress, not perfection

Resentment is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die

Keep it simple

Stick with the winners

To thine own self be true

Turn it over


Willingness is the key

Take what you need and leave the rest

If you expect respect, be the first to show some

Just for Today

Pass it on

Don’t quit before the miracle happens


When all else fails, follow directions

Change is a process, not an event

Give time time

I was sick and tired of being sick and tired

You only get out of it what you put into it

Nothing changes if nothing changes

It is possible to change without improving – it is impossible to improve without change

Easy does it but do it

Serenity is not freedom from the storm but peace amid the storm

Feelings are not facts

Turn it over, don’t turn it off

Growing old is mandatory – Growing up is optional

Slogans are wisdom written in shorthand