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Affirmations from CoDA NYC

2000 NYC CoDA Intergroup
All rights reserved.

The May 7, 2000 Affirmations workshop was a great success! Special thanks to Nancy for leading the event. With the workshop as inspiration, here are some thoughts on Affirmations as a tool of recovery.

1. Writing your own affirmations
  • Keep them in the present tense, rather than thinking of them as something that will happen. Your unconscious responds better to the here and now. Rather than, "I will be happy," try "I am happy," or "Happiness is in me and all around me."
  • Keep it positive. (Avoid negatives.) If you say "I’m not going to get sick," you are still focusing on sickness, and that is what your unconscious hears. Instead, consider, "I am extremely healthy." Similarly, rather than, "I don’t need my lousy relationship," consider something like, "I am a beautiful person, and I deserve healthy, beautiful relationships."
  • Tailor the affirmation to you. Using the 6th Step (became willing to have God remove our shortcomings), imagine what positive qualities will exist in you after God removes your shortcomings. Then create affirmations using those positive qualities. For example, one of my character defects is Judging. With Judging out of my life, I imagine I’ll be accepting and loving. So Acceptance and Love become my affirmation themes and I write: "I accept people exactly as they are," and, "Every day I am surrounded by God’s children." Positive statements give our unconscious something healthy to focus on, which takes attention away from our character defects.
2. Using affirmations
  • Whether you use affirmations from a book, or write your own, it’s good to work them into your life. Here are some creative ways:
  • Tape a list of affirmations on your mirror and recite them whenever you look at yourself.
  • Leave an affirmation on your answering machine, or send yourself a voicemail at work. Some voicemail systems will even allow you to send a message at some point in the future, like Tuesday at 11am. Then in the middle of a hectic Tuesday, you’ll hear an affirmation in your own voice, cheering you on!
  • Have a list of favorite affirmations that you say before going to bed and/or first thing in the morning. Make it a daily ritual.
  • Record your favorite affirmations into a tape recorder. Maybe record a few affirmations each day. Then, when the tape is full, you can play it back any time: while you sleep or do housework, for example.
  • Consider buying a daily affirmation calendar, and read out loud from it every day.
3. Prayers as Affirmations
  • By adding one letter to the Serenity Prayer, you can turn it into an affirmation: "God grants me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference."
  • Consider using other prayers or inspirational messages as affirmations.
4. Speak up!
  • It is much more powerful to say something out loud than to say it to yourself or think it. This is a kind of 'neuro-linguistic programming.' Chances are that many of our negative messages were said out loud at some point. Positive messages deserve the same treatment.
5. General Notes
  • Try an affirmation for a few days and see if you like it. You can always change it later. After all, there is no "correct" affirmation, just one that helps you and your recovery.
  • Remember that you don’t have to believe the affirmation right now. For many of us, negative messages have been playing in our heads for years. We recite affirmations to retrain our unconscious mind and, like all good things, that takes time…. But the nice thing is, the process of reciting affirmations feels good now. So, enjoy the process, and let go of the results.
6. Resources
  • CoDA publishes an Affirmation Booklet for $1.50. Contact CoRe at 214-340-1777 (corelit@aol.com) for details. An order form is available online at www.coda.org. Click on "ordering literature" and go to page 3 of the order form; you’ll find the booklet (Item 7001) under "Special Items" in the left column. A $7.50 minimum order (plus shipping) is required, so you may want to get a group purchase together or buy additional literature.
  • Ask friends for their favorite affirmations, or listen at meetings.
  • Many books, tapes, and daily calendars exist with affirmations in them. Visit your local bookstore.
7. Words of encouragement
  • Start slowly. One affirmation a day is more than zero. One affirmation a week is more than zero. There is no magic formula or perfect way to do affirmations. Like life, it’s all part of a process. And you are already wonderful, right now.
Bob (2000)
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