From Courage to Change of January 16;
There was a time when, if a thought entered my mind, it automatically came out of my mouth. Even if I wasn’t sure that what I was saying was true, the words poured out of me. In Al-Anon I have learned to “Think” before I speak.
When I’m tempted to respond to angry accusations with accusations of my own, I stop and “Think.” When I have an urge to betray a confidence, to gossip, or to tell something extremely personal to a total stranger, I stop and “Think.” And when my opinion about another person’s business has not been requested, I take the time to “Think” before I get involved. That way I make a conscious choice about how I will respond.
Perhaps I will decide to say nothing, or choose a more tactful way to proceed, or question whether I really mean what I have been thinking. I may decide that this is not an appropriate place to discuss what is on my mond. Or I amy choose to go right ahead and speak up in a very direct manner. Regardless of which option I select, today I am willing to accept the consequences of my actions because I have taken the time to make a choice.
Today I will let my words serve my best interests. I will choose them with care.
“I don’t let my mouth say nothin’ my head can’t stand.” ~ Louis Armstrong
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This is one of the early AA slogans along with “Easy Does It” and “One Day at a Time.” I have heard many interpretations of its meaning and speculations of its history. Because the quote capitalizes and puts in quotes the word “Think,” I imagine the author of those words is making reference to this slogan.
I have been told that the reason the iteration of think in the center of the quote is larger than the other two and has a large red T is because this represents a supernatural form of thinking guided by union with one’s Higher Power. It was common to red letter words spoken by God in the Bible, and this follows that idea.
I then go back to the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous to find a description of the type of thinking this slogan is talking about:
FIRST THINK: (Alcoholics Anonymous, page 86)
“On awakening let us think about the twenty-four hours ahead. We consider our plans for the day. Before we begin, we ask God to direct our thinking, especially asking that it be divorced from self-pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives. Under these conditions we can employ our mental faculties with assurance, for after all God gave us brains to use. Our thought-life will be placed on a much higher plane when our thinking is cleared of wrong motives.”
SECOND SUPERNATURAL THINK: (Alcoholics Anonymous, pages 86 – 87)
“In thinking about our day we may face indecision. We may not be able to determine which course to take. Here we ask God for inspiration, an intuitive thought or a decision. We relax and take it easy. We don’t struggle. We are often surprised how the right answers come after we have tried this for a while. What used to be the hunch or the occasional inspiration gradually becomes a working part of the mind. Being still inexperienced and having just made conscious contact with God, it is not probable that we are going to be inspired at all times. We might pay for this presumption in all sorts of absurd actions and ideas. Nevertheless, we find that our thinking will, as time passes, be more and more on the plane of inspiration. We come to rely upon it.”
THIRD THINK: (Alcoholics Anonymous, pages 87 – 88)
“As we go through the day we pause, when agitated or doubtful, and ask for the right thought or action. We constantly remind ourselves we are no longer running the show, humbly saying to ourselves many times each day “Thy will be done.” We are then in much less danger of excitement, fear, anger, worry, self-pity, or foolish decisions. We become much more efficient. We do not tire so easily, for we are not burning up energy foolishly as we did when we were trying to arrange life to suit ourselves.”
I suppose this is my very favorite part of the Big Book because it provides a discipline for thought transformation through the development of a two way communication with my Higher Power. It really doesn’t matter what I call that infinite entity that pervades the Universe and yet seems to care about me and the unfolding of my life. The labels I put on GOMU (God of My Understanding) tell more about me than about that strange Lover of my life. The will of GOMU is to transform in thought and action through conscience contact. May we all find our way to “Think … Think … Think.”