Addiction Recovery Tip: Easy Does It, But Do It!

From time to time I will present here samples of my Addiction Recovery Tips (available by email; click on Get Help at top of page). Here is one. Easy does it, but do it! is a slogan oft used in 12 Step recovery, whose second part is as important for the newcomer to recovery in the Twelve Step Programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, or Al-Anon, as the first part. Maintaining emotional balance by not getting too upset or too excited helps one to avoid relapse. HALT is a useful tool in this regard: Don’t get too Hungry, too Angry, too Lonely, or tooTired.

The AA Grapevine of July 1948 has its own unique take on the slogan, Easy Does It, in the language of that time, just three years after the end of World War II (I was 10 years old then):

“Fortunately, this is a saying which can be tested easily. It does not have to be accepted on faith alone. Anyone can find out for himself whether it works simply by trying it himself. Suppose a problem has arisen. Suppose it is the old urge to reach for the bottle. Or suppose the problem is one of those byproducts of alcoholism which continue to come up long after the urge to drink has gone. The reaction of the alcoholic, and of more than a few non­alcoholics, is to fight the problem, to worry about it, to get into a stew. The tension begins to mount. Emotion runs wild. Self control is slipping rapidly.

“That’s the usual sequence. It can be broken if in the midst of it, the victim sits way back, physically and mentally, and relaxes. First he must relax his muscles, because that’s the easiest to do. Then he must relax his mind, by directing his thoughts to pleasant subjects, to a reminder that others have succeeded and so can he, to mental pictures of peace and success. If he will but direct his mind away from the problem, he will find a new source of strength rising up within him.

“At least that is the way it has worked and still works for others. The individual who has learned how to relax has already advanced a long way towards happiness and success.

“Relax and enjoy A.A. Relax and enjoy life. “Easy Does It.” If you don’t believe it, try it.”(

However, there ARE things the recovering person must do: like sleep, eat, pay bills, go to work, attend AA, NA, or Al-Anon meetings, get a sponsor and listen to him/her, and don’t pick up a drink or drug, or have an emotional relapse into trying to control the uncontrollable, even if your posterior falls off, to name but a few. So, easy does it, but do it!

As always, comments are welcomed. Jan Edward Williams, AlcoholDrugSOS Services, 07/12/2016.

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