Russ Tyson, well-known Australian radio and TV personality, in his 1973 book “The Best of Russ Tyson” (Melbourne : Lansdowne) with the subtitle of “Alcoholics Creed” sets out the nine paragraphs of JUST FOR TO-DAY,
Many non-alcoholics who have read this feel that there is a good philosophy there for everyone alcoholic or not.
Long before I seriously tried to understand and practice AA’s Twelve Steps, these nine paragraphs helped me tidy up my thinking, quieted my behaviour and lifted my attitude by following one paragraph each day
In each paragraph there is the positive “I will do something” and in front of them are the words “I will try”. Early in the piece an older member told me that as long as I only tried to do something positive, that while I was trying’ it was unlikely that I would want to drink.
How right he was. Looking back, not even so far back, I know that the days when things don’t go right when I am depressed tired or bored, cranky and dissatisfied, are the days when I am not trying to do something positive about the program or “Just for to-day.”
By the time I was able to understand a little of the AA philosophy I realised that the positive actions suggested by “Just for to-day” were the exact opposite of my alcoholic behavior when drinking.
JUST FOR TO-DAY
1. I will try to live through this day only, ….
Before AA I never ever thought of the present, my mind was either occupied with wondering what I’d already done or fearful of what the future held.
2, JUST FOR TO-DAY I will be happy, ….
For many years I didn’t know the meaning of the word, I wasn’t happy before, during, or after drinking,
3, JUST FOR TO-DAY I will adjust myself to what is, …..
I always wanted to change the world and everybody in it. Frustration at not being able to do this meant I was always cranky dissatisfied selfish and self-pitying,
4. JUST FOR TO-DAY I will try to strengthen my mind, ….
Mental effort and concentration diminished rapidly in proportion to the amount I drank, If anything rather than strengthen I tried to blot out my mind,
5, JUST FOR TO-DAY I will exercise my soul.
Once I became a compulsive drinker I lost my belief in a soul, I never tried to help anyone, usually the opposite and I always demonstrated loud and long if my feelings were hurt,
6, JUST FOR TO-DAY I will be agreeable, ….
I could not agree with anyone when drinking, I always found fault and became quite voluble about it, Criticism was part and parcel of my every day living destructive criticism.
7, JUST FOR TO-DAY I will have a program, ….
I used to have a program but for the future some day I would stop drinking, My behavior was erratic I couldn’t always make up my mind to do anything constructive and often when I did, I’d often go and do the opposite.
8, JUST FOR TO-DAY I will have a quiet half- hour and relax, ….
Many days I was quiet for much more than a half hour mostly stupefied but never did I relax except into unconsciousness.
9, JUST FOR TO-DAY I will be unafraid, ….
Fear of something bad was always about to happen, fear of the future, fear of what I might have done, fear that I would run out of grog, fear of respectable people, fear of being found out. Fear was my constant companion and in the latter stages of my practising alcoholic days my only companion.
Nothing ever appeared beautiful to me – the world was against me, it was a hell from which I could only escape by drinking to oblivion.
Many years and many AA meetings have gone by, but I still need to follow my JUST FOR TO-DAY card. Complacency and over confidence could soon return me to my hell, could soon reverse the positiveness of the AA philosophy to the misery of a negative alcoholic existence.
Many AA meetings are I hope, still to come. Many things about the AA program and philosophy I still have to learn. Many more times must I practice the Twelve Steps. Many more times must I understand and try to carry the message to the sick alcoholic
And even then, I will not lay aside my JUST FOR TO-DAY Card I may give it to someone who wants it, but I will replace it immediately because just the sight of it helps one to remember that I am still only one drink off being a drunk Bill M.