Recovery Idioms


Recovery has a wrench to fit every nut.

Recovery is education without graduation.

Recovery is like riding a bike – you can coast for a while but if you don’t start pedaling, you’ll soon fall on your ass.

Recovery is not for people who need it, but for people who do it.

Recovery is not for people who need it, but for people who want it.

Recovery is the easier, softer way.

Recovery is the last stop on the train.

Recovery may not open the gates of heaven and let me in, but it sure opened the gates of hell and let me out.

Recovery may not solve all your problems but it is willing to share them.

Recovery spoils your drugging.

A bad conscience has a very good memory.

Accept that some days you are the pigeon and some days you are the statue.

A closed mouth gathers no feet

Action speaks louder than words, but not nearly as often.

A fear faced is a fear erased.

A friend is one who knows all about you and likes you just the same.

A friend walks in when everyone else walks out.

A goal is a dream with a deadline!

A good example is the best sermon.

A good time to keep your mouth shut is when you’re in deep water.

A great remedy for anger is delay.

A hard thing about business is minding your own.

A hint is something we often drop but rarely pick up.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step

Drugs gave me wings to fly and then took away the sky.

Addicts are more intelligent than average.

Addicts are more sensitive than average.

Addicts work harder than average.

Addiction is an equal opportunity destroyer.

Addiction is the only disease that tells you that you are not sick.

All men are self-made, but only the successful will admit it.

An Recovery meeting is where losers get together to talk about their winnings.

An atheist is a person who has no invisible means of support.

A newcomer is someone with less than five years clean time.

Any day I don’t use is a good day. The days I remember that fact are even better!”

Anyone who is pulling his weight has none left over to throw around.

A person who learns nothing from his mistakes is doomed to repeat them.

A pessimist is someone who complains about the noise when opportunity knocks.

A recovering addict without a sponsor is much like leaving Dracula in charge of the blood bank.

Anger is one letter short of danger.

As a drunk I progressed until I achieved homelessness.

A smooth sea never made a skillful sailor.

A smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks.

A squeaking wheel does not always get greased, sometimes it gets replaced.

A thorough 4th Step will ruin your ability to hold resentments.

A true friend will put a finger on your faults without rubbing it in.

Attitudes are contagious. Is yours worth catching?

A turtle makes progress when it sticks its neck out.

Be careful what you pray for, you just might get it.

Be careful what you pray for, you’re liable to get it.

Before engaging your mouth, put your mind in gear.

Before you say, I can’t, say I’ll try.

Being an addict does not give me the excuse to act addictlike.

Being right half the time beats being half-right all the time.

Believe in miracles but don’t depend on them.

Be part of the solution, not the problem.

Birds have bills too and they keep on singing.

Boredom is the feeling that everything is a waste of time; serenity, that nothing is.

Break a bad habit by dropping it.

Bring the body, the mind will follow.

Call your sponsor before you pick up the first drug.

Calm waters never produced experienced sailors.

Change only happens when the pain of holding on is greater than the fear of letting go.

Confidence is the feeling you have before you understand the situation.

Counting friends is not as important as making friends that count.

Count your blessings.

Courage to change.

Daniel didn’t go back to the lion’s den to get his hat.

Dealing with life-on-life terms.

Death, insanity, or Recovery.

Denial is not a river in Egypt.

Diplomacy is the art of letting someone else get your way.

Does anyone have a burning desire?

Doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results.

Do it clean

Don’t count the days, make the days count

Don’t use, go to meetings, ask for help.

Don’t give up before the miracle happens.

Don’t hang around the tracks if you don’t want to be hit by the train.

Don’t major in minor things.

Don’t quit five minutes before the miracle happens.

Don’t think about the cold one going down, think about the warm one coming up!

Don’t think, don’t use, go to meetings.

Don’t try to clear away the wreckage of the future.

Drugging has gotten me two things in life: Fat and Broke.

Easy does it.

Emotions aren’t facts.

Emotions destroy intelligence.

Expectations are nothing more than premeditated resentments.

Expectations are resentments under construction.

Expect miracles

Experience is a wonderful thing; it enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again.

Experience is the hardest kind of teacher, it gives you the test first and the lesson afterwards.

Failing to prepare means we prepare to fail.

Failure is the path of least persistence.

Faith chases away fear.

Faith without works is dead

Fake it till you make it.

Fear is a darkroom for developing negatives.

Fear is the darkroom where negatives are developed.

Fear is faith turned inside-out.

Feed your faith and doubt will starve to death.

First the man takes a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes the man.

First things first.

Flattery is like chewing gum, enjoy it briefly but don’t swallow it.

Forbidden fruits are responsible for many a bad jam.

Forgiveness is a gift of high value, yet it’s cost is nothing.

Freedom begins when you tell drugs to go fly a kite.

Friendship is like money… Easier made than kept.

Frogs have it easy for they can eat what bugs them.

Funny…I ruined my health by drinking to other’s!

Get a sponsor.

Go to meetings when you want to and go to meetings when you don’t want to.

Gratitude is an attitude.

Gratitude, that’s the attitude.

Half measures availed us nothing.

Happiness is not a place you arrive at; it is a way you travel.

Have a nice day unless you have made other plans.

Having a resentment is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die.

Having a sharp tongue can cut your own throat.

Help is only a phone call away.

He who does not remember the past is condemned to forget where he parked.

He who fails to plan, plans to fail.

He who foresees calamities suffers them twice over.

He who throws mud loses ground.

Humility is like underwear, it’s necessary but it’s indecent if it shows.

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

Humor is a shock absorber on the road of life.

I always look for the hardest way to do the easiest thing.

I’m an egomaniac with an inferiority complex.

I am one drug away from never being clean again for the rest of my life.

I’m basically a negative person, that’s why I’m so happy.

I’m fifteen years away from my last drug, and Twelve Steps away from my next one.

I’m glad to be here, and glad to be clean.

I’m like a banana, if I don’t stick with the bunch I will be skinned.

I’m not going to give anybody free rent in my head.

I’m not much but that’s all I think about.

I’m grateful to be here.

I came, I came to, I came to believe.

Identify don’t compare.

I didn’t get into trouble every time I used, but every time I got into trouble I was using.

I didn’t quit, I simply surrendered.

I’d never trade my worst day clean for my best day drunk.

I don’t know where I’d be without my sponsor.

I used, I lost.

I used too much, too often, too long.

If all you have is lemons, make lemonade.

If druggin doesn’t bring you to your knees, clean time will.

If everything is coming your way, you’re in the wrong lane.

If I could drink socially, I’d get drunk every night.

If I don’t let go, I lose my grip.

If I think, I won’t drink.   If I drink, I can’t think.

If it is to be, it’s up to me.

If it works, don’t fix it.

If I wasn’t an addict, I’d drink every day!

If I was not an addict when I was born, then an addict was born when I picked up my first drug.

If my brain didn’t need me for transportation, it would have killed me a long time ago!

If the going gets easy, you may be going downhill.

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

If you are having trouble keeping your head above water, you probably aren’t on your toes.

If you can’t love everybody today, at least try not to hurt anybody.

If you can’t remember your last drug, maybe you haven’t had it.

If you do what you did, you will be what you been.

If you want to hide something from an addict, hide it in the Basic Text.

If you want to stay clean, make the coffee.

If you commit suicide, you’re killing the wrong person.

If you continually give you will continually have.

If you don’t care where you’re going, any road will get you there.

If you don’t use–you are having a good day, even if you are too dumb to know it.

If you don’t get everything you want, think of the things you don’t get that you don’t want.

If you don’t grow, you go.

If you don’t have a Higher Power, borrow mine.

If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything.

If you don’t want to slip, stay away from slippery places.

If you don’t want what we have, we’ll gladly refund your misery.

If you don’t hear what you need to hear, say what you need to hear.

If you don’t want what we have, go back out to what you had.

If you don’t want what we have, we will cheerfully refund your misery.

If you ever wonder about your sanity, you are sane.

If you fly with crows, you get shot at.

If you hang out at the barbershop long enough, you’re bound to get a haircut.

If you keep one foot in yesterday and one foot in tomorrow, you’re just pissing all over today.

If you like everyone in NA, you’re not going to enough meetings.

If you’re not a lion tamer, don’t go into the lion’s den.

If your ass falls off, put it in a paper bag and take it to a meeting.

If you’re coasting, you’re going downhill.

If you’re not moving away from a drug, you’re moving closer to it.

If you see someone without a smile, give them one of yours.

If you share your pain you cut it in half, if you don’t you double it.

If you clean up a jackass, you will have a clean jackass.

If you stick with the bunch, you’ll get peeled.

If you still have not found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, just enjoy the rainbow.

If you think the program is too simple, go out and use some more. By the time you get back you’ll be simple enough for the program.

If you tried to do something and failed, you are vastly better off than if you had tried to do nothing and succeeded.

If you turn it over and don’t let go of it, you will be upside down.

If you want to use, that is your business. If you want to quit, that is Recovery ‘s business.

I got sick of being sick and tired.

I got tired of the high cost of low living.

I had all kinds of excuses to pick up a drug but not one good reason.

I’ve been beating up on myself so much I feel like hitting myself.

I’ve been here a few 24 hours.

I have often regretted my speech, never my silence.

I might have another drunk left in me, but do I have another Recovery?

Insanity is defined as doing the same thing over, and over again, expecting different results. -Einstein

I only used when I was alone or with someone.

It gets better.

I thought that I made a mistake once, but I was wrong.

It is all right to drink like a fish providing you drink what a fish drinks.

It is easier to stay clean than to get clean.

It takes time.

It works if you work it.

I treat my head like a bad neighborhood: I don’t go in there alone.

It’s a lot better to stumble than not to take the first step.

It’s a pity we can’t forget our troubles the same way we forgot our blessings.

It’s better to look ahead and prepare, than look back and regret.

It’s easier to put on slippers than to try to carpet the world.

It’s nice to be important but more important to be nice.

It’s the first drink that gets you drunk, not the last.

It’s always easier to take somebody else’s inventory.

It’s a selfish program.

It’s easy to talk the talk, but you have to walk the walk.

It’s not the load that breaks you down…it’s the way you carry it.

It’s the engine that kills you, not the caboose.

I want what I want when I want it.

I was so paranoid; I thought the people in front of me were following me.

I was so sick when I got here, that when I heard, ‘Your best thinking got you here”, I thought it was a compliment!

I would rather be able to appreciate things I cannot have than to have things I am not able to appreciate.

Just for today.

Jumping to conclusions can be a bad exercise.

Keep an open mind.

Keep coming.

Keep coming back.

Keep coming back, it works if you work it.

Keep it green.

Keep the plug in the jug.

Keep your clean time first to make it last.

Kindness is a language deaf people can hear and blind people can see.

Learn to listen, listen to learn.

Let Gratitude be your Attitude.

Let it begin with me.

Let us love you until you can learn to love yourself!

Life does not have to be a daily struggle.

Life happens when your busy doing other things.

Life is a millstone – YOU decide if it’s going to grind you down or polish you up.

Life is not so much a matter of position as of disposition.

Life is strange, you can skate on thin ice and end up in hot water.

Little by slow…

Little by slow I got better.

Live and let live.

Live as you wish your kids would.

Living in the here and now.

Live in the now.

Live life on life’s terms.

Living our pre-Recovery active daily lifestyle was akin to switching seats on the Titanic.

Make friends before you need them.

Men who do things that count, never stop to count them.

Minds are like parachutes for they function only when open.

Most things can be preserved in drugs, dignity however is not one of them.

My best thinking got me here.

My daily clean time is contingent on my spiritual condition.

My head is like a bad neighborhood and I shouldn’t go there alone.

My mind is out to get me.

My spiritual awakening occurred when there was a flash of light with a cop behind it.

My worst day clean was better than my best day drunk.

Never get so open-minded that your brain falls out.

Never let yesterday use up today.

Ninety meetings in ninety days.

Nobody raised his own reputation by lowering others.

No man knows less than the man who knows it all.

None of the secrets of success work unless you do.

None of us came here on a winning streak.

None of us got here from drinking too much coffee.

No pain, no gain.

Non-alcoholic beer is for non-Addicts.

Not one of us have it all together but together we have it all.

Not only was I ignorant – I was ignorant that I was ignorant.

Nothing is as busy as an idle rumor.

Nothing is so bad; a drug won’t make it worse.

Nothing ruins the truth like stretching it.

Of all the things I lost as a result of my Addiction, I miss my mind the most!

Of all the things you wear, your expression is the most important.

Often the test of courage is to live.

Once an addict always an addict.

One drug is too many and a thousand is not enough.

One thing you can give and still keep, is your word.

One who lacks the courage to start has already finished.

Only a fool tests the depth of the water with both feet.

Only friends will tell you when your face is dirty.

On relapse: I never did anything in moderation…except maybe the steps.

Our favorite attitude should be gratitude.

Pain is the touchstone of progress.

Parents soon learn that the children who left home to set the world on fire often return for more matches.

Pass it on.

People that don’t go to meetings, don’t hear about what happens to people that don’t go to meetings.

People who throw dirt lose ground.

Poor me… Poor me… Pour me another drink.

Practice an attitude of gratitude.

Practice makes perfect, so be careful what you practice.

Practice makes progress.

Principles before personalities.

Progress, not perfection.

Put the plug in the jug.

Put your chip under your tongue and if it dissolves you can take another drink.

Quitting drugging is not hard, I have done it hundreds of times.

Religion is for people afraid of going to Hell, Spirituality is for those who have been there.

Remember… always forgive your enemies, nothing annoys them as much.

Religion is for persons trying to stay out of hell, Spirituality is for people who have been there.

Resentment is a poison I take to hurt you.

Rule 62…don’t take yourself so God damned seriously.

Sanity is the playground for the unimaginative.

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

Self-pity is your worst enemy.

Serenity Isn’t freedom from the storm, it is peace within the storm.

Seven days without a meeting makes one weak.

Sit down, shut up and listen.

Clean time is a journey, not a destination.

Some folks won’t look up until they are flat on their backs.

Some of us are sicker than others.

Some people develop eye strain looking for trouble.

Some people use normally, and I normally use.

Some tasks have to be put off dozens of times before they’ll slip your mind completely.

Somethings have to be believed to be seen.

Sometimes we work so hard for things we don’t have, that we forget the things we do have.

Sometimes you have to get on your knees to rise.

Spend as long as you want on the pity pot. Just flush it when you’re done.

Sponsorship is great,I tell the guy what to do and if it works,I try it.

Stick with the winners.

Stinking thinking precedes drugging.

Success and failure can be equally disastrous.

Success is more attitude than aptitude.

Surrender to Win.

Swallowing your pride seldom leads to indigestion.

Tact is an ability to see others as they wish to be seen.

Take other people’s inventory until you can take your own.

Take the cotton out of your ears and put it in your mouth.

Take what you can use and leave the rest.

Talk does not cook rice.

Teaching a child not to step on a caterpillar is as valuable to the child as it is to the caterpillar.

Temper is what gets most of us in trouble. Pride is what keeps us there.

Temper may get us in trouble but it’s pride that keeps us there.

Thank you for my clean time.

Thank you for sharing my pain.

The Basic Text is your road map, the meetings are your filling stations.

The bottle, big house, or the box.

The definition of an addict; an egomaniac with an inferiority complex.

The farther I get from my last drink, the closer I get to my next drunk.

There are definite limits on man’s wisdom, but no limits on his stupidity.

The secret to long term clean time: Don’t use, don’t die.

The smallest good deed is better than the grandest intention.

The steps have numbers for a reason.

The strongest tree is the one that bends.

The ten commandments are not multiple choice.

The time is always right to do the right things.

The beautiful part about helping someone up a hill is that you get closer to the top yourself.

The best labor-saving device is doing it tomorrow.

The best substitute for experience is being sixteen.

The best vitamin for making friends is B-1.

The biggest fault some people have is always finding fault in others.

The dictionary is the only place where success comes before work.

The doors swing both ways.

The easiest way to feel good is to do good.

The elevator is broken, take the steps.

The first step in overcoming mistakes is to admit them.

The good is the enemy of the best. -Voltaire

The greatest of all faults is to imagine you have none.

The greatest test of strength is weather you can shoulder another man’s burden.

The guy who talks his head off isn’t losing much.

The heaviest thing to carry is a grudge.

The less you say, the more people will remember.

The meek shall inherit the earth — they are too weak to refuse.

The man who rows the boat generally does not have time to rock it.

The mind is like a parachute, it works better when it’s open.

The only meeting you’re ever late for is your first Recovery meeting.

The only person I can change is myself.

The only weapon that becomes sharper with constant use is the tongue.

The person with the most clean time at a meeting, is the one who got up earliest that morning.

The pursuit of happiness is the chase of a lifetime.

The power behind me is greater than the problem in front of me.

There are no coincidences in Recovery

There are no elevators in Recovery, only steps.

There’s no elevator, you have to take the steps.

There’s no gain without pain.

There is nothing that a drug won’t make worse.

There are no shortcuts to anyplace worth going.

There are none too dumb for the Recovery program but many are too smart.

There are two ways of being rich.   One is to have all you want, the other is to be satisfied with what you have.

The reason I’m here is because I’m not all there.

There is no elevator to clean time, use the steps.

There is no problem that one drug won’t make worse.

There is no right way to do a wrong thing.

They tell me I live in a dysfunctional home. That scares me because I live alone.

Things won’t get better because you joined Recovery, but you will.

Think the drug through.

This too shall pass.

Thoroughly have we seen a person fail who has rarely followed our path.

Those who laugh – last.

Those who relapse are attending powerlessness graduate school.

Those who would have nothing to do with thorns must never attempt to gather flowers.

Time spent getting even, is time lost getting ahead.

Today is a gift… that’s why it’s called The Present.

Today “we” have a choice.

To keep it, you have to give it away.

Too many of us speak twice before we think.

To thine own self be true.

Toughest problem in arithmetic is to learn to count your blessings.

Triumph is just “oomph” added to try.

Try it for 90 days, and if you don’t like it, we’ll gladly refund your misery.

Turn it over.

Two things you have to do to become an old-timer, don’t drink and don’t die.


United we stand; divided we stagger.

Unity, Recovery, and service.

Unless I accept my virtues, I will be overwhelmed with my faults.

Use not only all the brains you have, but all you can borrow.

Use the 24-hour plan.

Walk the talk.

We are all here because we are not all there.

We are continually faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems.

We are the architects of our own misery.

We cannot change unless we survive. We will not survive unless we change.

We cannot solve the significant problems we face at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.

We don’t get run over by the train; we get hit by the engine.

We have to give it away to keep it.

We may have arrived on different ships… But we are all in the same boat now.

We are not human beings sharing a spiritual journey, but spiritual beings sharing a human journey.

We are the architects of our own misery!

We came, we came to, we came to believe.

We got a chair here with your name on it.

We have a chair here with your name on it.

We have a disease that tells us we don’t have a disease.

We have a living problem, not a druggin problem.

We have a thinking problem, not a druggin problem.

Well done is better than well said.

We’ll love you until you learn to love yourself.

We may have arrived on different ships… But we are all in the same boat now!

We’re sick people trying to get better, not bad people trying to be good.

We suffer from alcohol-ISM, not alcohol-WASM.

Whatever you put before your clean time; you shall surely lose.

What goes around, comes around.

What other people think of you is none of your business.

What step are you on?

When a person is all wrapped up in himself, he makes a small package.

Whenever you fall, pick something up.

When I came into Recovery I was a walking middle finger.

When I used, I had a beef stew relationship with my wife. She beefed, and I stewed.

When I get a chip on my shoulder, I remember the chip in my pocket.

When I first got here, I was so sick that I thought I was well.

When the pain of staying clean becomes less than the pain of getting drunk, you’ll stay clean.

When we couldn’t dominate, control, or manipulate, we would ask for terms and conditions.

When we were drunk we didn’t have relationships, we took prisoners and held hostages.

When looking for faults use a mirror not a telescope.

When you do all the talking you only learn what you already know.

When you’re home by yourself you’re behind enemy lines.

When you’re in fear you’re not in faith.

When you clean up a horse thief, all you have is a clean horse thief.

When you’ve got one foot in yesterday and the other in tomorrow, you can only piss on today.

When you starve with a tiger, the tiger starves last.

Wherever you go, there you are.

While I’m in a meeting, my disease is out in the parking lot doing push-ups.

Willingness is the key.

Willpower tells me I must, but willingness tells me I can.

Winners do what they have to do and losers do what they want to do.

Worry is just negative goal setting.

Worry is the interest paid on trouble before it comes due.

Write a gratitude list and count your blessings.

Yesterday is a canceled cheque, tomorrow is a promissory note, only today is cash in the bank.

Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift, that is why it is called the present.

You are not alone.

You can always tell an addict, but you can’t tell him much.

You can either see the light or feel the heat!

You can’t direct the wind, but you can adjust your sails.

You can’t give away what you don’t have.

You can’t speed up your Recovery, but you sure can slow it down.

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

You can talk the talk, but can you walk the walk?

You can turn a cucumber into a pickle but can’t turn a pickle into a cucumber.

You have to give it away in order to keep it.

You have to put in the time.

You live and learn, or you don’t live long.

You never get a second chance to make a good first impression.

You never have to use again.

You’re not alone anymore.

You’re right where you’re supposed to be.

You may not get what you want but, you will get what you need.