Shilling for sobriety.


ad iconsIn the advertising world in which I work (and which no doubt harbors many an alcoholic), it’s well-accepted that the best tag lines are simple, easy to say, and easy to remember.

“Good to the last drop.”

“Where’s the beef?”

“Drivers wanted.”

The ones that stick are also often inspirational or empowering.

“Have it your way.”

“Don’t mess with Texas.”

“Just do it.”

I’ve written before about the many slogans of Alcoholics Anonymous, and how at first I thought them corny and old-fashioned. They’ve endured for about 70 years, though, which is more than I can say for most brand tag lines. So I figure there must be something to them. They’ve certainly managed to grow on me since I joined AA five months ago.

“Let go and let God.”

“One day at a time.”

“Easy does it.”

Granted, they’re not really lines that define the whole AA organization or brand, but are more like pithy reminders of its guiding principles. Honestly, I think it’d be pretty tough to encapsulate AA in just one line.

Yet I can’t help wonder what might have happened if the AA organization chose to practice promotion — rather than attraction — as its strategy to grow membership. Indulge me, if you will, as I ponder how AA might have utilized some of the most popular ad campaigns of the last few decades…

“Got serenity?”

“A life is a terrible thing to waste.”

“AA. Because I’m worth it.”

“Like a good neighbor, AA is there.”

“AA. We bring good things to life.”

“You’re in good hands with AA.”

“I want my AA.”

“Nothing comes between me and my sobriety.”

“AA. What happens here, stays here.”

Perhaps the best line would be a version of Nike’s compelling classic, with a slight change that reminds us of our simple, single-minded goal for the next 24 hours.

“Just don’t do it.”

2 Responses to “Shilling for sobriety.”

  1. That’s brilliant.

  2. 2 Chaz

    Clever post C….

    I like the Just Can’t Do It.

    Frankly…. this brings to mind the expecations influences in my upbringing put on me. Culturally, I come from a line of hearty Scandanavians who take pride in their endurance and fortitude. I have an uncle that is so commited to being tough, he doesnt allow his dentist to use freezing on him.

    I also got connected with certain aspects of Church Culture as a young adult that ingrained in us that we could do and change anything by faith. While I believe that this is true on some yet undiscovered level, it was not as they taught us and the failure to see the changes put a lot of self-blame back on us believers for not having enough faith. We just “couldnt do it” because “it” was never meant to be done by us.

    Today I am happy to say that “I can’t”.

    Many of my Scandanavian family have lives that I can now see are messed up. A lot of good the fortitude did them. And as for the way I was taught to believe in church, well frankly, half the people I went to church with are now divorced and many have buggered up lives of many descriptions so… ya, ya whatever on the “faith teaching” we were served up.

    Someone I know in recovery defines steps 1 through 3 like this…

    1. I can’t
    2. He can
    3. I let him

    This is a great way to live. And I have experienced more success and achievement in all areas as a result.

    Great post.



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