Symbols and Phrases – Recovery

Lately I’ve become curious about the origin of the symbols and phrases on some of our pocket tokens and stones.  I thought you’d be interested too!  This week I’m researching our “Recovery” line.  Although many of these symbols and phrases can certainly be used to motivate and inspire in all aspects of life, the following are a few key sayings and graphics that are associated with recovery.

We have three tokens with the Circle and Triangle symbol.  The Courage, Serenity, Wisdom token, the One Day at a Time Recovery token and the Sobriety Blessing Coin.  Here’s what the symbol means…

Circle and Triangle symbol:  “The three legs of the triangle represent the three legacies of Recovery, Unity and Service and the circle symbolizes the world of A.A.  It was adopted as an official A.A. symbol at the International Convention in St. Louis in 1955, however in the early 1990s, A.A.W.S. decided to phase out the use of the Circle and Triangle symbol on its literature, letterhead and other material.  But, the symbol is still associated with Alcoholics Anonymous (and other kinds of 12-Step recovery fellowships) and has a special meaning for AA members all over the world.”  (source:

We have 6 Serenity Prayer items. The Blessed Sea Beans, Colored Glass Wisdom Stones, Desktop Gems, One Day at a Time/Serenity Prayer Token and the Praying Hands/Serenity Prayer Token

Why the Serenity Prayer?  “It was debated for years who wrote the Serenity Prayer, and its origins are still somewhat murky, but it seems most likely to have been written by Dr. Reinhold Niebuhr, a well-known theologian who served for many years as Dean and Professor of Applied Christianity at the Union Theological Seminary in New York City.  Alcoholics Anonymous became aware of the Serenity Prayer in 1941, when it was discovered printed in the New York Tribune newspaper.  Ruth Hock, AA’s first secretary and a non-alcoholic, was immediately taken with it. The headquarters staff thought of printing the prayer on a card to distribute to AA members.”  (source:

We have a variety of items with typical AA slogans like “First Things First”; “One Day At a Time”; “Easy Does It”; “Live and Let Live”.    You’ll find some of these phrases on our Ceramic Word Stones, Colored Glass Christian Scripture Stones, Colored Glass Wisdom Stones, Granite Blocks and our Imprinted River Rock Wisdom Stones.  We also have a One Day at a Time token that also reads:  ‘This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.’

As for the origin of these slogans, as used in AA?  “We don’t have a great deal of information about the origins of AA’s slogans and acronyms, but we can provide some sharing and preliminary information. Many of these slogans, as with other practices in AA, were simply passed along verbally to other members, so it is impossible to know who started using them first. It is possible that some of the slogans may have originally stemmed from a part of the Oxford Group Movement language, but it could also be that they were original with Bill and Dr. Bob and the early members.  Members have always inquired as to the origins of various slogans, and it has always been difficult to narrow down; in our research, we discovered a letter written by former GSO Archivist, Frank M., dated 1989, who responded to a similar question that was posed to him. This was Frank’s response, “Your interest in the origins of ‘One Day at a Time’ is shared by many of us. Like hand-holding, however, it’s difficult to pin-point the exact ‘moment.’” That is the problem we find with most of our AA slogans, unfortunately!  We do know, however, that many slogans commonly heard have been around since the early days of the Fellowship.  (source:

Just a little history lesson today, hope you learned something!  Of course, if something inspires you or motivates you or empowers you, or gives you courage, or enlightens you, or lifts or cheers you up, it probably doesn’t matter the origin.  But, always fun to get educated! 

Namaste, Brenda

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