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of A.A.s Most Workable and Useful Sayings
© The A.A.
Grapevine, Inc., July 1948
of the most useful of the sayings that have been adopted
in A.A. is that which advises, "Easy Does It."
So universally workable is this good advice that it qualifies
as the expression of one of the fundamental steps in personal
If this particular saying is applied sincerely and intelligently,
it will greatly ease the path of the newcomer in A.A., avert
slips and further the development of a mature
life both inside and outside A.A.
Axioms are only words in themselves, of course, and the
phraseology has become trite in many cases. Pseudo-intellectuals
are especially scornful of old sayings, and even less snobbish
observers may overlook the worth to be found in the meaning
behind the words.
For example, "Easy Does It," means - relax! Dont
fret and worry and stew and struggle! Take it easy! Relax!
Everyone who has an intimate knowledge of the alcoholic
will agree that one of the first things he needs to do is
to relax, not only in the early stages of A.A. but forever
after and a day. "Easy Does It" applies no matter
how long one has been in A.A. and, in fact, it is essential
to continue progress in A.A. and to a return to more normal
Physical realization has long been identified as a characteristic
of great athletes. The DiMaggios and the Williams have an
easy swing that belies yet accounts for much of the power
of their bats. The fastest of swimmers relax with each stroke.
In football, the relaxed player is less prone to fumbles
and injuries. The great runners have a relaxed stride even
when they are driving the hardest.
Relaxation frees the intellectual, the emotional and even
the spiritual functioning of the personality no less than
it loosens the muscles of the body.
Does It" for the newcomer during those first early
days of confusion, fear and doubt. If, instead of worrying
and tensing up because he does not grasp the
whole A.A. program in the first sitting - if he will relax,
he will find that the emotional understanding as well as
the intellectual understanding of the A.A. philosophy will
come along much more readily.
Fortunately, this is a saying which can be tested easily.
It does not have to be accepted on faith alone. Anyone can
find out for himself whether it works simply by trying it
Suppose a problem has arisen. Suppose it is the old urge
to reach for the bottle. Or suppose the problem is one of
those by-products of alcoholism which continue to come up
long after the urge to drink has gone. The reaction of the
alcoholic, and of more than a few non-alcoholics, is to
fight the problem, to worry about it, to get into a stew.
The tension begins to mount. Emotion runs wild. Self control
is slipping rapidly.
Thats the usual sequence. It can be broken if in the
midst of it, the victim sits way back, physically and mentally,
and relaxes. First he must relax his muscles, because thats
the easiest to do. Then he must relax his mind, by directing
his thoughts to pleasant subjects, to a reminder that others
have succeeded and so can he, to mental pictures of peace
and success. If he will but direct his mind away from the
problem, he will find a new source of strength rising up
At least that is the way it has worked and still works for
others. The individual who has learned how to relax has
already advanced a long way towards happiness and success.
Relax and enjoy A.A. Relax and enjoy life.
"Easy Does It." If you dont believe it,
© The A.A.
Grapevine, Inc., July 1948
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