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Reconsidering the advice of Nancy Reagan

You may know that in the 1980s, the government ramped up the War on Drugs and First Lady Nancy Reagan got involved in a campaign for kids that boiled down to the slogan Just Say No. Already conscious of my own debilitating addiction to alcohol and my inability to quit, I scoffed at her advice because I knew what a tenacious grip addiction has on our will.

If we’re deeply mired in our addictive behaviors, Just Say No is too simplistic to do us much good. We need a lot of support and structure to get out of the hell of self-loathing and craving. But once we have a few months of abstinence under our not-so-tight belt, we can use this idea as a tool.

Some of the time, in our recovery, Just Say No is the right answer. We get offered a dessert. Just Say No. There’s an invitation to a party with a lot of snacks and treats. Just Say No. Friends want to meet for coffee in a bakery. Just Say No. We’re home alone and restless and it’s an hour until dinner. Just Say No.

While the slogan is really too simplistic to get us into recovery, it can be a handy tool to keep us abstinent.

When could you use Just Say No to safeguard your abstinence?


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