What’s in Your Sobriety Toolbox? 5 Things That Help Keep Us Sober & Sane
Have you ever tried to hang a picture without a hammer? Or put together a piece of Ikea furniture without an Allen Wrench? You might be able to make it work… but man, it’s hard. Without the proper tools, you’ll struggle to do the job right.
Sobriety works the same way. Without the essential tools of recovery, you might be able to cobble together some clean time… but man, it’s hard. We knock on doors that aren’t ours to open. We butt heads with the world. We fight ourselves.
Make it easier on yourself. Pick up the tools and get to work. These are the time-tested tools of recovery that help keep us sober and happy:
1. Big Book
Affectionately known as the “Big Book,” the book titled “Alcoholics Anonymous” was published in 1939 by the founders of AA. This is the basic text of Alcoholics Anonymous and dozens of other 12-step groups. It contains the instructions for working the steps — what many people call the “program of action.”
“Everything you need to work the 12 steps and find a new way of life is contained within the Big Book,” says Steve R., a recovered addict from Scottsdale. “I’ve spent many late nights with new guys, reading that book. It’s the foundation of the 12-step path to recovery.”
Your sponsor is the person who takes you through the 12 steps. They serve as a guide, confidant and spiritual advisor. Can you get sober without one? Probably — but is it better getting sober with one? Yes.
“Thank God for my sponsor,” says Casey L., a Phoenix addict who just celebrated her 1-year sobriety birthday. “She’s someone I can get everything off my chest to, who I can trust. She shows me how to be a woman of integrity. Without her, I would not be where I am today.”
For more on sponsorship, read our post, “What Is An AA Sponsor, And Why Do I Need One?”
Twelve-step meetings are important for a number of reasons. It’s where we connect with others who share a common struggle; it’s where we make friends, find fellowship, and share solutions to our problems. Perhaps most importantly, meetings are where we find newcomers who need to hear the message of recovery. Sharing the message with them blesses us in return.
“I used the group as my Higher Power for a long time,” says Brooke V., a recovered alcoholic from Indianapolis. “They taught me that if I needed evidence of something greater than me, to look around the room. Together, we could do what I could not. That worked.”
Listen, we don’t know why prayer works. We just know that it does. As philosopher Soren Kierkegaard said, “Prayer does not change God, but it changes him who prays.”
If you’re not praying, why not give it a try? The experience of millions of alcoholics and addicts proves that when approached with the proper attitude, prayer gets results. If you need suggestions on how to pray, see numbers 1 and 2 on this list. There are numerous prayers in the Big Book, and a sponsor would be happy to point them out to you.
It’s a spiritual law of the Universe: When you give, you receive. Giving to others helps us. Besides, as it says on page 89 of the Big Book, “Practical experience shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking as intensive work with other alcoholics.” Service work is like an insurance policy against relapse.
And, it feels good.
“In the early days of recovery — before the obsession had been lifted, when my disease was upon me — service work distracted me enough to keep me sober through that day,” says Jeff M., a Phoenix alcoholic with 2 years sober. “On holidays when I had no friends or family to celebrate with, the fellowship was there for me, and I paid them back by being of service. In my home group, I get a service commitment to become a part of, and my support network flourishes.
“Service work is an expression of my gratitude. It gives my life a sense of purpose. It’s my way of making amends to a world that I tore through for 40 years. And it’s what my HP has filled me to do.”
Need Help for Addiction? Reach out Today
Cornerstone Healing Center is an evidence-based, long-term recovery treatment center located in Scottsdale, Arizona. If you or someone you love needs addiction treatment, reach out to us today. We can help you achieve freedom from active addiction and find real joy in a clean and sober life. Contact us today.