By: Mike Clifford, Therapist
You walk into a 12 step meeting anywhere in the world and you see placards with “slogans” printed on them. Go visit treatment modalities anywhere in the world, and you see placards with treatment slogans printed on them. Why? What do they mean? Are they important?
Let’s talk. Treatment slogans have filled AA, NA, CA. rooms since the beginning. Slogans such as: “One Day at a Time”, “Keep It Simple”, “Honesty” are placed in visible places in order to make one THINK. These slogans actually have the ability to assault one’s thinking and hopefully create the catalyst for change.
They are often found posted on the walls of therapeutic communities to assist with the CBT – Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Slogans such as: “Understand rather than be Understood”, “You can’t keep it, unless you give it away”, “What goes around, comes around”. All of these cause one to slow down and think. They are really no different than traffic lights. Green = go, Red = stop, Yellow = slow down. Without the lights, there’s an accident. Do treatment slogans assist me in avoiding “The Accident”?
When racing thru a busy day, dealing with the everyday stresses, one sees “Easy Does It”. There is an immediate need upon reading this slogan to take a deep breath. Blood pressure is lowered. There is an attitude adjustment, along with a change in thinking. One reads, “One day at a Time”. There is an attitude adjustment; a change in thinking, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
When dealing with service work in the 12 Step Rooms, the treatment slogan, “You can’t keep it, unless you give it away”, really says it all. One has to question their perception. Is the cup half empty, or half full? You have to realize soon that a “Gratitude List” allows one to fill their cup to overflowing. It’s this overflow that you give away. It’s this overflow which is the foundation of your service work.
It is the basis of role-modeling, of being an asset to your community, a sponsor.
When working with others, being a parent, your relationship with significant others, “Understand rather than be understood” is invaluable. The Indians said,” Don’t judge, until you’ve walked a mile in their moccasins”.
These Slogans formulate a philosophy, a way of life. They are great teaching tools. They are instrumental in changing one’s thinking and attitude. The behavior, right living, will follow.