Applying Program Slogans to Your Relationship


Our last few articles have been focusing on popular 12-Step program slogans and how they might apply to your relationships, romantic or otherwise. Thus far we have reviewed these four slogans with the following applications:

  1. One Day at a Time. Challenges threatening us in our romance can quickly begin to feel overwhelming to us. The truth is, if we address one challenge at a time we all possess the strength and resources to handle today’s relationship as it is in the moment. The seemingly impossible challenges we face with our partner can indeed become possible, if we tackle them One Day at a Time.

  1. Keep it Simple. The early months of a relationship in recovery should focus on the simplicity of relationship building. Delving too deeply into the wreckage of the past at a time when the relationship is still so fragile is far more than many couples are ready to handle. It is generally understood that in the very early stages of recovery it is still too soon to explore each other’s past motivations or lingering defects of character. At this stage it is often best to Keep it Simple.
  2. Let it Begin With Me. This is a very difficult recovery concept for many of us – especially if we are suffering with the frustration of watching our partner fail to address the changes that he or she needs to make in himself or herself. But if the process of healing the romance does not begin with you, the cycle of unmanageability will likely never end. We encourage you to take one very deep breath (ok, two is also acceptable!) and courageously say “Let it Begin With Me!”
  3. Let Go and Let God. Yup, that three letter “G” word: God. But remember that in 12-Step programs no one defines who or what spirituality means to you. Atheists and agnostics have as much success at applying these principles as anyone else. “Letting go” does not mean we lose our voice. Quite the contrary – our sobriety can empower us to speak up and voice our concerns to our loved ones.

We hope you have opportunity to see how these slogans may benefit you and your romance. We have found the slogans to be a fairly simple way to get back on track when we have been derailed, but not always so helpful when we are trying to FORCE our partner back on the “RIGHT” track.

It is not hard to remember when we hurled the slogans at each other in anger or resentment as “recovery weapons”, so we are grateful to be able to offer them to you as recovery tools. You can scream that it high time for your partner to start living “ONE DAY AT A TIME” but it is not likely that you or your inspirational message will be well received.

We hope that you too appreciate the simple wisdom of these slogans. Our interpretations of their meaning may be not be yours. They speak to each of us differently. Let us know ways that you apply these – or any of the program slogans – in your relationship.

Also, we would especially like to hear about some “recovery weapons” you have employed dishonestly with your partner or those you have had your clients relay to you.  We would like to take your “recovery weapons” and incorporate them into an article we are preparing that will help our readers rehabilitate romantic dialogues that have gone bad when they have attempted to manipulate their partner with the language of  “recovery”.

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This article was written by John & Elaine Leadem, senior supervisors of the Leadem Counseling & Consulting offices in Toms River, NJ and East Brunswick, NJ. The content of this article is based on their book: “One in the Spirit: Meditation Course for Recovering Couples”



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    Last reviewed: 26 Aug 2013

APA Reference
Leadem, J. (2013). Applying Program Slogans to Your Relationship. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 2, 2015, from


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Elaine Leadem, MSW, LCSW & John Leadem, MSW, LCSW are authors of many books, including One in Spirit & An Ounce of Prevention.
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