My collection of “Gems” – quotes and sayings I’ve heard that have helped my recovery

And then it happens…

One day you wake up and you’re in this place. You’re in this place where everything feels right.

Your heart is calm. Your soul is lit. Your thoughts are positive.

Your vision is clear. You’re at peace, at peace with where you’ve been, at peace with what you’ve been through and at peace with where you’re headed. 

If you want something you never had, you’ve got to do something you’ve never done

Never pass up an opportunity to keep your mouth shut. 

Breath animates life, Love animates recovery, service animates community 

Grow through what you go through

Loneliness remembers what happiness forgets

The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are! – Carl Jung

Sometimes you have to be willing to let go of something old to grab on to something new

The truth will make you bulletproof

When we lose our tolerance for vulnerability, joy becomes foreboding 

When something bad happens, you have three choices: You can let it define you, let it destroy you or you can let it strengthen you. 

Our anxiety does not come from thinking about the future, it comes from trying to control it

A word of encouragement during failure is worth more than an hour of praise after success

I’m one think away from a total disaster

I hope you stay sober long enough to be introduced to yourself

If you want to hide an alcoholics cash, hide it in their big book

Sometimes you’re the pigeon, sometimes you’re the statue

Be grateful for the uncracked molar

Stay sober on the truth or stay drunk on the lies

“Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness. If, in our heart, we still cling to anything—anger, anxiety, or possessions—we cannot be free.”

 ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

“We’re not just here for us. We’re here for others. All we’ve got is each other. We’ve got to help each other struggle through til we die and then we’re done.”

– Anne at the cemetery providing sage words to Tony

“Nothing’s as good if you don’t share it.” 
– Local man who received five of the same birthday card

“I’d rather be nowhere with her than somewhere without her.”
– Tony, confessing his feelings to Anne at the cemetery

“Happiness is amazing. It’s so amazing it doesn’t matter if it’s yours or not.” – Anne, sharing words of wisdom at the cemetery

“A society grows great when old men plant trees, the shade of which they know they’ll never sit in.” 
– Anne, talking to Tony at the cemetery

“Well, I think life is precious because you can’t watch it again. I mean you can believe in an after life if that makes you feel better but once you realize you’re not going to be around forever, I think that’s what makes life so magical.” 
– Tony having a moment of sincerity with Kath in the office

 “I realize that everyone’s struggling and I feel like I should help the people who helped me.” That’s what life is all about.

“I thought not caring was a superpower. I was wrong. Caring about stuff, that’s what really matters. Kindness and making other people feel good. That’s the real superpower, and we’ve all got it.”

People need encouragement like plants need water, the ones who need it the most get it the least

Live in AA and Visit the world


Addiction is like having sex with a gorilla, you’re done when the gorilla says you’re done

Words alcoholics are familiar with … I, me, mine, more, and I’m sorry

Be who you needed when you were younger

When people are trying to bring you down they’re already below you

There’s only one thing worse for an alcoholic than bad luck, and that’s good luck

The steps is the shitty flight to Hawaii

The best way to predict the future is to create it.

Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care – Theodore Roosevelt 

The Love in your heart wasn’t put there to stay, love isn’t love until you give it away

Immunity through community

If you ask an alcoholic what time is it? They’ll tell you how to build a watch.

When I relapsed I wasn’t thinking about drinking or using but I wasn’t thinking about not drinking or using

If you plan your work and work your plan your plan will work

Incremental improvement is far better than postponed perfection

We have a progressive disease that requires a progressive recovery.

“Relax. Nothing’s in control” – Buddah

Love is delusional without the truth and truth is hurtful without love

The thing about happiness is you have to learn to be happy without it

The way you act is so loud I can’t hear what you’re saying.

What you see depends on how you view the world. To most people dirt is just dirt, to a farmer it’s potential.

There are no ducks, there is no row

Don’t be overheard complaining, even to yourself – Marcus Aurelius 

You don’t know what chapter of someone’s life you walked in on

Got all my shit together once, had a big ol’ pile of shit

You never get to witness your own eulogy, but you write it every day.

Whatever is wrong, it’s all Right

Participate in your own recovery

Blackouts are witness protection for the mind

Addiction begins with pain and ends with pain

Outside solution for an internal problem

AA or NA can be like the ultimate game of telephone so it’s important that you have a good connection

I’d always found a problem for the solution

Grace is not earned, it is given

If you don’t know where you’re going. Every road will take you there.

Monday it’s gonna be different

When you treat me special I feel normal, when you treat me normal I feel ignored

I didn’t climb out of the gutter to sit on the curb

If there’s word for it someone has already done it

Everyone has two lives, the second starts when you realize you only have one.

A happy person wants 10,000 things, a sick person just wants one thing.

Happiness happens 5 minutes at a time 

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

Everything I’ve ever let go of in recovery has claw marks 

Just because I’m right, doesn’t mean you’re wrong

Procrastinating snatches away each day…and denies us the present by promising the future”

Sometimes what doesn’t kill you just doesn’t kill you

I didn’t get AA, AA got me

If I keep thinking about how I’m doing, I’m not doing any doing

People who refuse to share their problems, in the mistaken belief that sharing is whining, are indulging in self-pity. – Dr. Paul O.

It doesn’t take any talent to play hard – Derek Jeter

Figuring it out is not a step

Opinions kill motherfuckers and experience saves lives

There’s someone who knows more than anyone and that’s everyone

Slow down in recovery, there are speed bumps, if you’re going to fast you’re gonna wreck yourself

Life sucks better sober

Use your mind to solve problems, not to store them

Doing the work is less work than not doing the work

Trade in I got this for we get this 

Doubt kills more dreams than failure

A shortcoming is like a flat tire a character defect is like driving on it

Freedom is not getting exactly what I want, freedom is being ok with what I have

Guilt says you made a mistake, shame says you are the mistake 

Sometimes what didn’t work out for you really worked out for you

Learn to hurt

Experience is a hard Teacher because she gives the test first and the lesson afterwards

God created time so everything wouldn’t happen at once

Life gets better, but we want better to be better

You need a good memory to be a good liar

Using alcohol to treat depression is like a diabetic using sugar to treat diabetes 

Don’t be so smart that you don’t get an education

If there’s something you don’t know how to deal with, work on your addiction 

The only way to win is not to play 

What makes an effective AA speaker is an effective listener

Knowing what the right decision is at the time you’re making the decision is humanly impossible

Love them for who they are and forgive them for who they aren’t 

It’s not what you know it’s how you live – Joe Ward

“A man who views the world at 50 the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life” – Muhammad Ali

Depression tells you to wait til u feel better to do things. The remedy is to do things til u feel better

The same boiling water that softens the potato hardens the egg. It’s about what you’re made of, not the circumstances.

Pressure can burst pipes or create diamonds 

The reason most people fail is because they give up what they want most for what they want now.

You can’t spell listen without silence

“Hang in there. Today is the tomorrow you were so worried about yesterday. Young people, don’t give up. Just keep in there.” – Anthony Hopkins

You can’t wait for life not to be hard anymore before you decide to be happy

Alcoholics never felt like they fit in, Drug Addicts never wanted to fit in. I’m Both – Steve T

This isn’t what sober feels like, this is what getting sober feels like

Does it need to be said, does it need to be said now, does it need to be said by me.

When you are willing to feel it you can heal it

What is your “useful fiction”?

Steps 1-3 Give Up

Steps 4-6 Clean Up

Steps 7-9 Make Up

Steps 10-12 Grow Up

The more humilty we think we have, the less we actually have

We either transform the pain or transmit it – Richard Rohr

Humility isn’t thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.

Don’t look back, you’re not going that way

You never know how strong you are, until being strong is the only choice you have

I’ll never get to drink again? Turns into I never have to drink again 

Abandon all hope of a better past

Ever think of all the people who quit drinking before they reached your level of alcoholism?

I am no longer performing my life, I am living it

A recovering addict without a sponsor is like a ship without a rudder

If you gaze long enough into the abyss the abyss will gaze back at you

I was a collector of injustices

Before you diagnose yourself with depression or anxiety make sure you’re not surrounded by assholes

If my higher power was small enough for me to understand it wouldn’t be big enough to handle my problems

practice won’t always make you good but it will always make you better

The point is not to master life nor endure it

Who you are becoming is more important than who you’ve been

Comparison is the thief of joy

I don’t always get it but I’ll do it

Sobriety is your superpower 

How determined you are determines your outcome

Get rid of all your old ideas even the good ones

Feeling free is free

The only person you’re destined to become it the person you decide to be

Are you in The program or on the program? Would you rather be in a submarine or on it?

Can’t win a battle if you’re not honest about what you’re really up against

A mistake repeated more than once is a decision 

The only thing wrong with me is this overwhelming feeling that something is wrong with me

We have a disease that has no respect for time

I am not what I want to be, and i don’t know what I’m going to be, but I thank God I don’t have to be what I used to be

Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction can end up being the biggest step of your life

Remember when you wanted what you currently have

In this fellowship we get to do things we want to do by doing things we don’t want to do

I started out with nothing and I still have most of it

When I’m alone I’m outnumbered

If youth is wasted on the young, don’t let the wisdom of experience be wasted on you

You will stop worrying about what people think of you when you realize how seldom they do

We have the rest of our lives to get this right

Discomfort is the price of admission to a meaningful life

I let the liquor do the driving and then I’d go into to booze control

Everything in life is meaningless until you assign a meaning to it

Everything in life happens for us not to us.

Elementary school is like growth in recovery some friends progress through grades quicker and mature faster than others

Fear Vs. Misery 

I am my problem, you are my solution

We are Control freaks with a lack of control

You can’t be sober on yesterday’s sobriety.

Do it scared

Don’t cling to a mistake because you spent a long time making it

Patience is not the ability to wait, but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting.

Live as if you were living a second time and you had acted wrongly the first time – Viktor Frankl 

When we are no longer able to change a situation we are challenged to change ourselves – Viktor Frankl 

Pain is only bearable if we know it will end not if we deny it exists – Viktor Frankl 

When a man cannot find meaning he numbs himself with pleasure – Viktor Frankl 

Man can only find meaning for his existence in something outside of himself – Viktor Frankl 

An abnormal reaction to something abnormal is normal behavior – Viktor Frankl 

If we take a man as he is we make him worse, but if we take him as he should be we make him capable of being what he can be – Viktor Frankl 

Between stimulus and response lies a space, in that space is the freedom and power to choose a response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. – Viktor Frankl 

Our greatest freedom is the freedom to choose Our attitude – Viktor Frankl 

I am my problem I am my solution

There are people who would love to have your bad days

Children are happy because they don’t have a file in their minds called “all the things that could go wrong”

Lying is deferral of concequences 


We cannot provide desperation…we can only recognize it by someone’s willingness

Expectations are resentments under construction

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Drinking is just borrowing happiness from tomorrow

If you are depressed, if you’re anxious, you’re not weak you’re not crazy…you’re a human being with unmet needs.

Just like bees evolved to live in a hive, humans evolved to live in a tribe and we are the first humans ever to disband our tribes

We live in a machine that is designed to get us to neglect what is important about life

Your depression isn’t a malfunction it’s a signal

Don’t let the life AA gave you get in the way of your AA life

The opposite of success isn’t failure it’s quitting 

The only person you should strive to be better than, is the person you were yesterday.

Just because it’s on your mind doesn’t make it interesting

An optimist views the future as uncertain

I used to think every solution had a problem

I didn’t look forward to today until today

We have a tendency to skip over the logs but trip over the toothpicks

“Trying to get lasting security teaches us a lot, because if we never try to do it we never notice it can’t be done”.

If I had just a little bit of humility I’d be perfect – Ted Turner

Using when young “it’s the beginning of bad” John M

Today’s problems were yesterday’s solutions

Gossip barbed with anger is a polite form of murder by character assasination 

Know the difference between family and relatives

Faith in this fellowship comes easy with repeated experience.

If you want to do something for the right reasons don’t get caught doing it

Don’t confuse easy with simple 

Winners are losers who don’t quit trying


If I don’t change my sobriety date will

I didn’t pull myself out of the gutter to sit on the curb

Most people go through life trying to learn from their mistakes, in this fellowship we have the benefit of learning from the mistakes of others.

You are sitting among your family of understanding

Problems cannot be solved with the same mind set that created them

If we don’t believe in a common problem there is no common solution 

Early sobriety can feel like a roller coaster but it’s better than a merry go round 

You don’t have to have a lot to say to say a lot 

One Day? Or Day 1

If alcohol is your Problem, you’re probably not an alcoholic 

Adversity doesn’t build character it reveals it

Sobriety can be overrated if you’re not happy or at peace

It’s easy to make things difficult

Think twice speak once 

I couldn’t have known what I didn’t know until I knew I didn’t know it

Everyone of you is a part of me I’m getting to know

I got high from liquor stores, drug stores and hardware stores

Alcohol may temporarily numb the pain but it will ultimately make things much much worse. Sobriety may temporarily be uncomfortable but it will ultimately make things much much better.

I got the fuck, then I got the fuck it’s – Shirley 

If you’ve never been a 300 hitter in your career what are the chances that you are now?

No amount of grief will change the past and no amount of anxiety will change the future

Some AA members are so successful that they turn out to be almost as good as they used to think they were when they were drinking

Resentment is like burning down your house to get rid of a rat

Resentment is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die

Sometimes we get way too much vitamin “i”

The man takes a drink, the drink takes a drink, the drink takes the man

There are two theories to arguing neither one works

AA is the only place you can get change for a dollar

Angry is just Sad’s bodyguard

Cooperate with the inevitable 

If you leave the fridge open too long everything will rot 

So what Now What

Do you dig into yesterday’s mental garbage to create today’s experiences?”– Louise Hay

You can’t change the past but you can change your future by living with intention in the present.

Earn your shower (that feeling of clean and well being you get from doing the right thing)

My addiction affected everyone around me, I’m gonna make sure my recovery does too.

It takes 11 days for a million seconds to pass. It takes 31 years for a billion seconds to elapse. It takes one drink or drug to relapse.

A sip is a slip

S.L.I.P. Sobriety losing its place

There are no pictures in the big book but there are a lot of mirrors.

A master has failed more times than a beginner has tried.

It’s ok to fall apart, Tacos fall apart and we still love them

chronic relapse can also be called a chronic trying

If you can’t let go and let god, Let go of playing god.

Stop worrying about what you think may happen, worry about something when there’s something to worry about.

I can work on my recovery all day long but tomorrow when I wake up tomorrow I’ll still be an alcoholic.

Be kind for everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about.

I bang my head against the wall because I love how it feels when I stop.

“Don’t Complain About The Results you Are Not Getting From The Work you are not doing” — Kevin D.

Sometimes medicine Tastes bad

The length doesn’t determine the strength 

Pressure Can burst pipes or create diamonds

You can give up everything to have that one thing or you can give up that one thing and have everything

If nothing changes, nothing changes

There is nothing wrong with sobriety in moderation

Better a cruel truth than a comfortable delusion

You may not be able to control someone’s negative behavior but you can control how long you participate in it

When you replace the I In illness with we you get wellness

The world record for sobriety is 24 hours

Was it a bad day or a bad 5 minutes that you milked all day

I have not failed I just haven’t figured out how to get it right yet – Edison

Abraham Lincoln ran for office 28 times before he won

Failure is the tuition we pay for success

If you can stay sober in AA you can stay sober anywhere

The slogans are the bannisters to the steps

I wanted to be a boxer until I fought someone who really wanted to be a boxer

Recovery delivers on the promise addiction could never keep

When you’re hysterical it’s historical

It’s never too late to be what you might have been.

People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Neither does bathing. That’s why we recommend it daily

“If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep on walking

“I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.’” – Muhammad Ali

“Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.” – Henry Ford

It can take years to build a building but seconds to destroy it

Pretend they didn’t say it because they shouldn’t have

Courage is the ability to act in the face of something difficult or scary

Comparison is the thief of joy

You are valuable despite your imperfections 

Maybe just May be a powerful way to think

I want to find out what will happen next

am I Functioning But like a weak fan is a functioning fan 

Watch your thoughts, for they become words, Watch your words, for they become actions, Watch your actions, for they become habits, Watch your habits, for they become your character, Watch your character, because it becomes your destiny.

Didn’t cause it can’t cure it.

Talk about how you’re feeling if you don’t say you’re sad you will not get compassion, if you’re angry you will not get understanding why would we shortchange ourselves by saying we’re fine.

We’re all in this same boat so Throw each other life preservers Not anvils.

Car on a full tank will not remain full once it’s driving.

Whatever you think about the most is your higher power.

It’s ok to be dragged kicking and screaming into happiness.

We can’t all be having a bad day at the same time.

Life isn’t all rainbows and orgasms.

I don’t say what I need to, and I say what I don’t need to.

A year from now you’ll wish you started today.

Once you lose your excuses you will find your results

Nobody stays recovered unless the life they’ve created is more rewarding than the life you left behind.

I can guarantee that you will fail at sobriety 100% of times you never try.

The greatest three words of comfort I heard coming into AA were, “Yeah. Me too.”

Grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change, The courage to change the one I can, And the wisdom to know it’s me

Alcohol gave me wings to fly and then it took away the sky

AA is where total strangers get together to reminisce.

If I could drink responsibly I would drink every day

Audrey Kishline, the founder of Moderation Management, (the alternative to the total abstinence of AA), killed a father and his twelve-year-old daughter driving in a blackout, spent three years in prison for manslaughter and later committed suicide.

I only know one answer that works for the question, “Am I an alcoholic?” The answer, if your life gets better when you stop drinking, chances are good that you are.

It’s said that Eskimo’s have 50+ words for snow and hundreds more to describe it. Alcoholics have so many different words for alcohol; booze, sauce, nightcap, cocktail and so on. The words for drunk; soused, plastered, shit-faced, three sheets to the wind, tipsy, etc., but the one that resonates with me looking back is wasted. So much of my life, time and my life’s energy was wasted in an alcoholic haze. I try to look back without regret but it’s hard not to when I think of all I might have been, all that I could have accomplished, all the irreplaceable years gone, all the damage caused and potential lost. But not for good

Your sponsor holds the flashlight. You dig.

The mind that created the problem is not necessarily the mind that can solve the problem.

If we stay in the rooms long enough, we will hear someone say for us what we are unable to say ourselves.

AA doesn’t promise things are going to get better. It only promises if you don’t drink you’ll be able to handle things better.

Obsession has a mind of its own

National Geographic should be photographing our meetings. We are a tribe of sorts, we have a metaphorical campfire exchanging stories we all understand in our own language, we share a common physiology, characteristics and we sure as hell have a common enemy.

We are isolators with a herd instinct.

I can let go of defending myself, sobriety is gracious, gentle And forgiving.

Why is drinking 8 glasses of beer so east but drinking 8 glasses of water a day so daunting?

When I was drinking/using I surrounded myself with people that served to reinforce my belief that what I was doing was normal



One thought on “RECOVERY GEMS

  1. Pingback: RECOVERY RESOURCES – noblemusicnyc

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