In recovery we often hear various phrases and sentiments repeated. They are the little formulas for life; for keeping the insanity at bay.

One of my favorites is “Do the next right thing.”

scrabble tiles on sand depicting sun, arrow, and smiley face - next right thingIt’s so simple. It reminds me each time that I don’t have to take on everything at once. I don’t have to worry about the next month, the next bill, the next appointment. I have only to let go of everything but doing the next right thing.

You see, that’s the key. The RIGHT thing.

The 3rd Step

This phrase ties into the 3rd Step of the 12-Step program.

The 3rd Step is “made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.”

The Alcoholics Anonymous book states that “most people try to live by self-propulsion.” I think that includes most people on Earth, not just those in recovery. How often do we find ourselves feverishly trying to make all the ends match up? We desperately manipulate details until we get the desired outcome.

When I stop, step back and ask my God to relieve me of my bondage of self so that I may better do His will, I’m opening myself up to a relief of details. It’s no longer my job to work things out. It’s only my job to do the right thing, one act at a time.

How wonderful it feels to stop obsessing about details; to have NOTHING to manage, NOTHING to plan, NOTHING to prepare for.

Trust me when I say that being able to walk away from stress and just do one right thing is freeing. It’s not always easy to do the right thing, but it’s so much better than trying to manage 17 selfish things.


Mindfulness is a very popular phrase in our current society. Mindfulness is usually described as “living in the moment”. The Western movement of mindfulness began with Jon Kabat-Zinn’s founding of the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society in 1979.

It’s become a catchphrase to corporate Americans and is being touted for as a success tool for large corporations and giant sports franchises alike.

If we could take mindfulness and merge it with doing the next right thing, our lives would be the very essence of taking life one good deed at a time.


– inspired by my friend, Ryan