If you’ve been around A.A. for a minute, you’ve probably heard the many slogans we use in meeting rooms (and that hang on meeting room walls). There are only three official slogans in our program (found in the first 164 pages) and they are, “First Things First”, “Live and Let Live”, and “Easy Does It” found on the last page of the chapter The Family Afterward in the Big Book. One of the slogans we hear and see on many A.A. meeting room walls is, “Think Think Think.”
When I first came into A.A., I saw that on a wall and it just baffled me (go figure). 33 years later, it still baffles me (even though I have a much better understanding today that alcohol is not my real problem – my thinking is). But I’ve never heard anyone provide me a good definition of that slogan – UNTIL TONIGHT!
Before I get to what I heard tonight and share it with you, I wanted to share some of the things I’ve heard members of A.A. say about this slogan:
- “I think “think think think” means to think before you speak or think before you drink, but I could be wrong. Good point though in your post! I remember thinking way too much the first time around when I was in AA, now I keep it simple and go to meeting and not drink.”
- “Some of you may have heard the saying “my best thinking got me here”, meaning that my ideas and thoughts are the reason I am a part of the Fellowship. With that idea in mind, “think, think, think” may be a reminder to me to stop and think something through.”
- “Think Think Think (Upside) It is usually on display in most AA meetings— written upside down to remind us that we have to turn our constant over thinking on its head if we are to recover. -At the end of the prayer, the group may say, “Keep coming back.”
- “After some research I found a message board with ideas of what this phrase means, and where it came from. Apparently the phrase “think, think, think” was an IBM marketing slogan back in the 50’s, and AA picked it up. I do not know the validity of that statement, but I do think it is true. Nowhere in the literature can you find a reference to this slogan, at least I’ve never run into it.”
- Clarence S. (no doubt many here will know he was a prominent force in getting AA off the ground in Cleveland) said in one of his talks of how “we alcoholics are a sensitive, emotional people in what for me was a particularly interesting part of his message. He mentions that he sometimes has a desire to flip over the “Think” sign when he walks into a meeting. His point was that our feelings tend to override our thoughts process and we must work the steps to change the way we feel about things.”
- “I was told normal people typically only need to “think” once where we alcoholics are prone to needing our thinking checked even after think, think, thinking. Hence, it was suggested I give some serious thought too letting someone else do my thinking for me for a while.”
At any rate, tonight in a “meeting after the meeting” it came up in conversation. One of the women in that meeting shared that she was taught that in the last paragraph of the Preface in the Big Book it says, “If you have a drinking problem, we hope that you may pause in reading one of the forty-two personal stories and think: “Yes, that happened to me”; or, more important, “Yes, I’ve felt like that”; or, most important, “Yes, I believe this program can work for me too.”
She went onto use those sentences in application to the phrase, “Think Think Think” and shared with us the following:
“If you have a drinking problem, we hope that you may pause in reading one of the forty-two personal stories and THINK: “Yes, that happened to me”; or, more important, THINK “Yes, I’ve felt like that”; or, most important, THINK “Yes, I believe this program can work for me too.”
BAM!!!!!!!! That was the first time I’ve ever heard an explanation of that slogan in a way that truly resonated with me. While there may not be a definitive answer to what it really means, and we may never learn where it really came from – I’m going to hold onto this definition (for now!) I just love A.A. and its members! Thanks C!