I had a couple of tools for living before I came to AA.  One was a hammer.  The other was a hammer.  The main reason I don’t have to drink anymore is because each time something happens that threatens to to set me off, I know what to do.  The toolkit of AA is very well stocked.  It has a category of tools relating to relationships – these include inventories, live and let live, restrain of pen and tongue, praying for people instead of throttling them, and many others.  There is another collection of tools for emotions – When I am afraid, I inventory that fear and see what it is about.  I say the serenity prayer, I call someone in the Program, I look at whether the fear is self centered, I see whether the fear is focused on the future,  and turn my attention instead to the present.  There are also tools to manage anger, sadness, loneliness and the up and down nature of my moods and personality.  Turning my will over to my Higher Power in the morning, prayer and meditation, stopping when I am confused and asking for guidance, pausing and thinking before reacting, keeping my focus on being of service, are all effective ways to make sure I do not lose my balance when the unexpected happens.  Once I have a done a deep house cleaning and learned to trust my Higher Power in Steps One through Nine, my toolkit accompanies me in practicing steps Ten through Twelve going forward.  Although I know that life will bring pain and loss and suffering, I have seen other alcoholics walk through the most difficult of these, and I believe that I can too, because AA has given me what I need to handle things in the best possible way.  I still own a hammer, but I’m not quite sure where I saw it last.

Photo courtesy of MX