The ‘Just for Today’ card is a pocket-sized, folded card that has helped millions of people around the world to positively transform their lives. It is mostly used as an aid to overall healthy living by recovering alcoholics and addicts, but also – and increasingly – by many people outside of recovery communities too.
The card’s popularity has grown as more people hear about it, read it and immediately grasp its positive benefits for general wellbeing. It is basically nine elegantly written points that, if incorporated into someone’s general everyday living, will enhance that person’s life – and everybody’s around them as well.
Originally found at Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings and now many other Twelve-Step group meetings, this card is indispensable to a great many recovering addicts. It is available on its own or included in small packs of leaflets often given to people at their first meeting, which is known as the “newcomer pack”.
It’s so valuable to people that many carry the card with them everywhere they go. It can be read every morning as a reminder of how to live each day, but many will also read it if feeling troubled in some way, such as with anxiety or if triggered by a life event.
A design for living
My introduction to the Just For Today card came when I sought help from people in recovery who’d had similar troubles to me that led to my rock bottom. One of those people suggested in my first week of recovery that I write a gratitude list each day, as well as meditate and read the Just For Today card every morning.
Then, I was advised to live my life according to the card. Within days, I discovered it was a refreshingly wonderful way to live.
Along with many thousands of others in recovery, I still read the card most mornings – as I have done for more than 21 years. It is a design for living that now comes quite naturally to me.
If read every morning, it just starts to become the way that one lives. Its benefits can be positively felt.
For instance, one of the suggestions on the card says: “I will do at least two things I don’t want to do – just for exercise.” For me, this can be something as simple as putting out the trash at the end of a day rather than leaving it until the next day, or even longer…
By doing such a simple act, which takes just a minute or two, it is something off the “To do” list. This makes for increased peace of mind and consequently a more peaceful sleep.
I wouldn’t have believed the power in this suggestion if I hadn’t started to do a few things like this every day. The result is definitely noticeable in a completely positive way.
It can also make for greater harmony at home, in the workplace, or even the local community. It’s just one of the many beneficial suggestions for daily living on the Just For Today card.
What does the Just For Today card say?
Produced by AA on a slim white card that folds in half to be just three by four inches, the Just For Today card is around 330 words. If lived by on a day-to-day basis, it can have a positive effect beyond belief.
The Just For Today card says:
Just for today I will try to live through this day only, and not tackle all my problems at once. I can do something for twelve hours that would appall me if I felt I had to keep it up for a lifetime.
Just for today I will be happy. Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.
Just for today I will adjust myself to what is, and not try to adjust everything to my own desires. I will take my “luck” as it comes, and fit myself to it.
Just for today I will try to strengthen my mind. I will study. I will learn something useful. I will not be a mental loafer. I will read something that requires effort, thought and concentration.
Just for today I will exercise my soul in three ways: I will do somebody a good turn, and not get found out; if anyone knows of it, it will not count. I will do at least two things I don’t want to do – just for exercise. I will not show anyone that my feelings are hurt; they may be hurt, but today I will not show it.
Just for today I will be agreeable. I will look as well as I can, dress becomingly, keep my voice low, be courteous, criticize not one bit. I won’t find fault with anything, nor try to improve or regulate anybody but myself.
Just for today I will have a programme. I may not follow it exactly, but I will have it. I will save myself from two pests: hurry and indecision.
Just for today I will have a quiet half hour all by myself and relax. During this half hour, sometime, I will try to get a better perspective of my life.
Just for today I will be unafraid. Especially I will not be afraid to notice what is beautiful and to believe that as I give to the world, so the world will give to me.
Who wrote the Just For Today card?
Although the Just For Today card was first printed by AA in 1978, it was not written by AA. In fact, the card’s words are slightly adapted from a regular Boston Globe column called “Dr. Crane Says” that was written by journalist Frank Crane.
It is generally believed that Frank Crane wrote this particular column piece in 1921. It was titled “Just For Today” and contained a set of ten daily suggestions.
He wrote: “Here are ten resolutions to make when you awake in the morning. They are Just for One Day. Think of them not as a life task but as a day’s work.”
The one “Just For Today…” resolution that AA took out from Frank Crane’s column is: “Just for Today, I will take care of my body. I will exercise it, care for it, and nourish it, and not abuse it nor neglect it; so that it will be a perfect machine for my will.”
Perhaps this was just to do with the assumption that after years of abusing their bodies, alcoholics in recovery would naturally start to look after themselves physically.
In 1991, Narcotics Anonymous (NA) published the book Just for Today: Daily Meditations for Recovering Addicts. It was based on the idea of living in a positive way aimed at spiritual and emotional growth one day at a time.
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