There are some communities in our recovery that we realize are making a strong difference. For some, these are the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) 12-step meetings and the community of recovering addicts that attend them.

Of course, for some, AA meetings might not be the type of community they require to stay sober. Perhaps AA is too spiritual or there are too many clicks or it’s too preachy. Whatever the reason, AA might not the right place for you. And that’s perfectly okay.

And yet for others, it’s perfect. There’s not only a community but there is an entire philosophy upon which the 12-steps are based. There is a clear set of guidelines, a map that will direct you out of addiction and into the land of sobriety. Many people greatly appreciate this map and all the tools that accompany it. For instance, there is a whole bucket full of quips and sayings and one-liners that say volumes about the transformation that sobriety requires. There is an entire book that explains the bumps, challenges, twists, and turns on the road to recovery. There are long lists of tips that can support someone on a day they might be having immense challenge.

For instance, the following list of tips is adapted from the Cocaine Anonymous of Utah as well as Clean and Sober Live. You might see these as essential AA tips. They have been found useful for many around the world:

–Work the 12 Steps.
–Go to 90 meetings in 90 days and then do it again.
–Don’t use between meetings.
–Don’t drink or use no matter what.
–Throw away all your drug paraphernalia.
–Get a sponsor.
–Call your sponsor every day.
–Avoid people, places and things that you associate with drug use.
–Don’t deal drugs.
–Get phone numbers and use them.
–If no one is home, and you’re in trouble, call the Hotline.
–Be of service; get a commitment at a meeting.
–Go to coffee after meetings.
–Remember that you don’t have to stay sober the rest of your life. We only do this one day at a time.
–Don’t get too Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired (H.A.L.T.).
–If the connection calls, hang up.
–Read the books and literature.
–If you think of using, think it through–all the way through.
–No matter what happens, keep coming back.
–Seek a Higher Power.
–Ask your Higher Power to keep you clean and sober each day.
–Stick with the winners.
–Ask questions.
–Make sobriety your #1 priority.
–Be Honest, Open-Minded and Willing (H.O.W.).
–Don’t be hard on yourself, recovery takes time.
–Be humble.  Always be willing to learn, and don’t assume you “know the way”.
–Reconnect with your religious roots.  It’s not for everyone, but if religion gives you peace of and, then don’t let it slip from your life.
–Give back to the community.  Do volunteer work, or get involved in a recovery group.
–Avoid vices.  Just because you’ve kicked your alcohol or drug addiction, doesn’t mean that addiction won’t still creep up on you.  Don’t replace your alcohol addiction with gambling, pills etc.
–Don’t get complacent.  Always keep moving forward in your personal growth.
–Discover your true passion.  The only way to do this is to try new things.
–If you know your passion, pursue it.  You only get one chance at life.  Don’t waste it doing things you don’t want to do.
–Take pride in responsibility.  Chasing a dream doesn’t mean you get to neglect your responsibilities.  Learn to find balance.
–Don’t live in fear.  Accept that there are some things you control, and other things you don’t.  Don’t let the things you can’t control, control YOU.
–If you do relapse, don’t let it slip back into full-out abuse.  Accept that you’re human and that you’ll slip up.  Then take massive action to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

The AA community along with its culture of well being, transformation, and sobriety can be a source of healing and change. Although it might not be a community that works for everyone, it has been an agent of change for millions around the world.

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