Just For Today Meditation for AA: What Is It and How Does it Work?

Written by Bridget Clerkin

There’s a certain power to saying something out loud. It takes the concept out of your mind and turns it into a physical act, confirming the idea for anyone within earshot and making you feel more bound to your word.

It can also serve as a powerful reminder to hear, in your own voice, what it is that you want.

In a typical Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, the strategy is used a number of times to help people reaffirm their commitment to recovery, and one of the most popular ways to do so is with the Just For Today meditation (JFT).

What Is the Just For Today Meditation?

As its name may imply, the Just for Today meditation gives its reciters a short-term list of things to focus on. just for today. It’s a reminder that, with sobriety as with life, we can only move forward one day at a time.

As such, the incantation changes often, and there are numerous different versions of the JFT, but this is one of the most inclusive:

Just for Today I will try to live through this day only, not tackling my whole life problems at once. I can do something at this moment that would bother me if I felt that I had to keep it up for a lifetime.

Just for Today I will try to be happy realizing that my happiness does not depend on what others do or say, or what happens around me. Happiness is a result of being at peace with myself.

Just for Today I will try to adjust myself to what is and not force everything to adjust to my own desires. I will accept my family, friends, my business, my circumstances as they come.

Just for Today I will take care of my physical, intellectual, and spiritual health.

Just for Today I will do an act of service for someone else without being found out. If anyone finds out about it, it will not count. I will do at least one thing I do not want to do, and I will perform an act of love for my neighbor.

Just for Today I will try to go out of my way to be kind to someone I meet; I will be friendly and act appropriately, I will dress becomingly, talk low, be courteous and not critical, I will not try to control situations or other people.

Just for Today I will have a program. I may not follow it perfectly, but I will have it.

Just for Today I will stop saying, “if I had time.” I will never “find time” for anything. I will have to take time.

Just for Today I will make time to meditate and seek serenity, truth, and acceptance of myself and others.

Just for Today I shall be unafraid. Particularly, I shall be unafraid to be happy, to enjoy what is beautiful, and what is lovely in life.

Just for Today I will accept myself and live to the best of my ability.

Just for Today I choose to believe that I can live this one day.

It’s a powerful and all-encompassing statement, helping to refresh our mental, emotional, and spiritual state.

But if that seems like too much to memorize or take into account every day, there are any number of Just For Today prayers that can help guide us. Consider, for example, this classic, short, and sweet refrain: Just for today, I am grateful to be alive.

If you have just begun your road to recovery or simply feel like you need more than just AA to overcome your addiction, call 866-968-5444Who Answers? to get the help you need today.


How Do You Use the Just For Today Meditation?

Using the meditation is as easy as saying it. A good way to get started is by allotting a particular time every day to recite the JFT.

Choosing a time when you can look in the mirror—like after you brush your teeth in the morning—helps amplify the impact of saying the words, by visually holding yourself accountable to what it is you’re promising.

Breathing can also play a big role in the process. Deep breaths help create calm and focus, making the words ring louder in your mind.

But understanding the forces at play behind the meditation is what gives the creed its true power. Mantras become such brilliant tools by tapping into our greatest mental faculty: focus.

Indeed, focus holds the power to change lives, as it lives at the center of our entire reality. What you choose to focus on is what you see; and what you see is what you draw from to build your understanding of the world.

If we’re constantly reminding ourselves of the best parts of that world, as with through the JFT prayer, it draws our focus to these positive things. And over time, we can actually reprogram our brains to seek out such optimistic outlooks.

Before long, finding silver linings becomes second nature, and with that attitude change comes a number of beneficial psychosomatic responses. Our brains, feeling happy, release a cavalcade of corresponding hormones. These, in turn, work to reduce our stress levels, which helps keep us happy and focused.

It takes dedication and a belief in the practice to really feel its deepest impact. But even at the most basic level, the Just For Today meditation can serve as a helpful tool.

Recovery isn’t easy, even with tools like the JFT meditation. If you need more help than what Alcoholics Anonymous can offer, find help by calling 866-968-5444Who Answers? today.

How Does The JFT Meditation Help Me Stay Sober?

Positive thinking doesn’t completely transport you into a fairytale. Of course, there will still be problems in the world, and personal setbacks.

But the power of the prayer is how it helps us deal with these unfortunate and inevitable events. We may meet them expecting the best, looking for lessons or seeking a productive way to work through the situation.

When it comes to the mission of Alcoholics Anonymous, the JFT is meant to help bring that same calm positivity to the practice of staying sober, even and especially during such moments of turbulence.

It works by first keeping our focus narrow, calling out common situations that might throw our recovery off track. It reminds us that while we may not have the power to change these things, we certainly have power over how we react to them, which often has a more powerful effect than the event in the first place.

Doubling down on this personal empowerment are the positive things the JFT points our focus towards. They are all simple things, helping us recognize how much we have to be grateful for every day.

But even the laundry list of promises doesn’t overwhelm us. Its daily recital frees us from the burdens of long-term upkeep, training us to think of these affirmations just for today.

The phrase is a reminder that we must take things one day at a time. And the concept can be freeing: All we have is this day, the chant reminds us, so let’s not waste it. Let’s live it and love it to the best of our ability.

We can go to sleep soundly each night knowing we accomplished our daily goals, and we can wake up refreshed each morning, ready to take on the new day’s batch of promises.

It’s amazing the amount of power that can be found in just three little words.

Are There Other Meditations That Can Help Me?

Of course, there are plenty of other types of meditations and affirmations that may help on the road to recovery.

Both Alcoholics Anonymous and the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation offer new daily thoughts and affirmations on their websites every day. And in our high-tech world, there are a slew of apps dedicated to helping people in recovery stay sober through the power of meditation.

If you’re at the beginning of your recovery journey or just feel like you need more than just Alcoholics Anonymous, get help now. Call 866-968-5444Who Answers? 24/7 toll-free to learn more about your available treatment options.

To learn more about the AA Just For Today meditation or the general AA philosophy, find your local Alcoholics Anonymous meeting.

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