Although he had at times been a heavy drug user, by the mid-80s Harrison was clean living and content. Some of his compatriots were not so lucky – the musicians on Cloud Nine included Eric Clapton, Elton John, and Ringo Starr, all of whom struggled with addiction in the 1970s.
Harrison found inspiration for the song in an Alcoholics Anonymous leaflet, also titled Just For Today. The words of the first verse paraphrase the leaflet’s opening paragraph.
Gary Wright plays keyboard, the piano, on a song called ‘Just For Today’, which is a song I wrote from an Alcoholics Anonymous brochure. You know that little leaflet they give out to drunkards, to say to try to live through this day, for today only?
Creem, December 1987
Just for today I will try to live through this day only, and not tackle my whole life problem at once. I can do things for twelve hours that would appall me if I felt that I had to keep it up for a lifetime.
Just for today I will be happy. Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.
Just for today I will adjust myself to what is, and not try to adjust everything to my own desires. I will take my ‘luck’ as it comes, and fit myself to it.
Just for today I will try to strengthen my mind. I will study. I will learn something useful. I will not be a mental loafer. I will read something that requires effort, thought and concentration.
Just for today I will exercise my soul in three ways: I will do somebody a good turn, and not get found out; if anybody knows of it, it will not count. I will do at least two things I don’t want to do – just for exercise. I will not show anyone that my feelings are hurt; they may be hurt, but today I will not show it.
Just for today I will be agreeable. I will look as well as I can, dress becomingly, talk low, act courteously, criticise not one bit, not find fault with anything and not try to improve or regulate anybody except myself.
Just for today I will have a programme. I may not follow it exactly, but I will have it. I will save myself from two pests: hurry and indecision.
Just for today I will take care of my body. I will exercise it, care for it, nourish it, not abuse or
neglect it, so that it will be a perfect machine for my bidding.
Just for today I will have a quiet half hour all by myself, and relax. During this half hour, sometime, I will try to get a better perspective of my life.
Just for today I will be unafraid. Especially I will not be afraid to enjoy what is beautiful, and to believe that as I give to the world, so the world will give to me.