Alcoholics Anonymous Sayings

People in recovery tend to talk a lot – at meetings, on the phone, on zoom and face to face. Sometimes this can all be a bit irritating, but most of the time the things people talk about have real value in recovery.

Out of all the conversations, have developed a number of what are known as AA Sayings. These are normally remarks or comments that an individual will say in the context of AA, but which people generally resonate with at quite a significant level.

Below are a section of these remarks, which are either left to stand-alone, or may have a slight comment beneath it. Needless to say, most of AA sayings are applicable to other 12-step fellowships as well, and often a very individual choice or preference.

Is drink costing you more than money ?

This phrase was, and may still be used in AA literature, and on AA posters. It can cut through a lot of the debate about a mile or am I not an alcoholic and what does it mean.

Alcohol kept me alive until I got to AA

Sounds crazy, but often makes sense to many an alcoholic who understand that alcohol is normally felt to be the solution rather than the problem

Definition of an alcoholic – someone who is bad with alcohol and worse without it

Makes sense to anyone who has had a dry drunk, or been in a type of relationship with anyone who has had a dry drunk

Keep coming back

A day at a time

If you like everyone in AA you not going to enough meetings

Pointed comment but with quite an element of truth in it – AA reflects society and people in it, and different energies and friendships will develop between people in and outside of the rooms.

Hungry, Angry, Lonely and Tired (HALT)

One of the better acronyms in AA – reflects the common triggers for people, especially early in recovery, which can lead to a poor state of being, mentally, physically and emotionally.

If I ever get to heaven, it will be as a result of backing away from hell (adapted)

Remark made by Father Ed Dowling, a Jesuit, a friend and spiritual adviser of Bill Wilson, instrumental in the early formation of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Half measures availed us nothing

Quote from chapter 5 in the big book of AA – can sometimes be used as a bit of a big stick, but important in the sense that it does not say half measures availed us 50%

Take what you like and leave the rest

Actually an Al-Anon saying – hugely important in the sense of giving people the freedom to use AA and other fellowships as a body of experience, and to be able to interpret that experience in a way that makes sense to them.

Don’t drink and go to meetings

Sometimes derided in AA as being a bit too simplistic, but this saying does go to the heart of the two things that are probably the most important in recovery.

It is better to be in AA pretending you are an alcoholic, than be out there drinking, pretending you’re not.

Aimed very definitely at people who are new to recovery, often torn between the need to get well and the denial of their alcoholism or addiction that is slowly or quickly killing them.

Trust God, Clean House and Help Others

No-One comes to AA because their life is going well …..



(more to follow)