Picking the Tools Back Up

Table of Contents

For those of us who suffer from alcoholism and addiction, it can seem impossible to get a handle on life. We struggle to keep it together, or follow through on our intentions. Thankfully, there is a solution. We find the rooms of recovery, and we are presented the 12-Step program. If we really want things to get better, we can take those 12-Steps and begin our lives in recovery. As we work the program of recovery, we learn how to utilize an array of spiritual and mental habits, attitudes, methods, and actions. These positive new ways are affectionately and more commonly known as the “spiritual toolkit.” There are many tools in the toolkit, and everyone’s toolkit is reflective of their own uniqueness. But of course, there are some indispensable tools that every alcoholic and addict in recovery must have. We each develop and fill our toolkit as we work the 12-Steps with our sponsor and incorporate the program of recovery into our lives.

The Tools Provided by the 12-Steps

Practice with these tools is an automatic result of working the 12-Steps, and for many of us who have suffered alcoholism and addiction, the 12-Step program of recovery is the only solution that works. The book of Alcoholics Anonymous puts it this way for alcoholics and addicts for whom nothing else had produced long-term recovery and a happy, useful life: “We had but two alternatives: One was to go on to the bitter end, blotting out the consciousness of our intolerable situation as best we could; and the other, to accept spiritual help.” It then says of this spiritual help, “There was nothing left for us but to pick up the simple kit of spiritual tools laid at our feet.” In other words, we are left with two choices — we can continue on with our alcoholism and addiction or we can reach out for the help that awaits us in recovery. We do this because we really want to, and in so doing we get our first try with the simple kit of spiritual tools. If we have admitted to ourselves that we are an alcoholic or addict, the choice may not be hard to make.

These tools are better and more effective than any normal tools, and more versatile as well. From helping us navigate tricky life circumstances, making us better for our loved ones, calming our minds, and improving our attitudes, there is a tool in the 12-Steps for literally everything we could ever need help with. If you really want to experience the tools for yourself, the only way to do it is to work the 12-Steps with a sponsor, attend meetings, and be of service. Engaging in the 12-Step way of life acquaints you like nothing else can with this infinite and important toolkit. Yet it is common, after we make our choice between the two options given us and experience the fullness of a life lived well-equipped with wonderful tools, that we often get sidetracked by the fullness of our life in recovery.

When the Tools Get Left Behind

It’s a common story — alcoholics and addicts get swept up in the love, work, meaning, and purpose of their newly recovering life. Slowly and subtly, we get too busy, and we forget to keep practicing with the spiritual tools. We let our skills and our tools get dull. We forget to pick up the tools when the going gets tough, and we struggle to achieve the success and peace we experienced after working the 12-Steps. Luckily for us, we can pick up the simple kit of spiritual tools again any time we want to. They are always there, waiting for us, in the 12-Step program.

Though we may drift away from the rooms of recovery from time to time, it is a blessing that the program of recovery never drifts anywhere. It is always right there, right where we left it whenever we need it — although we could save ourselves some unneeded troubles and trials if we never let our tools get dull in the first place. For whatever reason we have laid down the vital spiritual principles and tools, as long as we have not lost our sobriety we can rededicate ourselves to our recovery before it’s too late. Though we must understand the life and death nature of the game we are playing here. It is our sobriety, our recovery, and our very lives that we put at risk when we let ourselves grow lax or grow apart from the 12-Step program.

But rest assured, we can correct our course before the worst happens. Perhaps we are more stressed than usual, suddenly missing meetings, or acting out on old behaviors again. As soon as we notice declines like this, we would be best served to dive wholeheartedly back into our recovery. We can call our sponsor and make an appointment to begin doing 12-Step work again. We can make it a point to stop missing meetings for any reason. We can look all around us for opportunities to be of service and people to help. We can get back into practicing our morning routine and making dedicated time for daily prayer and meditation as often as we need throughout the day. The spiritual toolkit is never far away. Every day that we are sober, we have a choice to make in our recovery — and when needed, we can once again pick up our kit of spiritual tools.

Many alcoholics and addicts find it difficult, even impossible, to maintain or achieve long-term recovery on their own. There is a solution for those who are willing to accept the help offered by the 12-Step program of recovery — a solution that works where other methods have failed. At Jaywalker Lodge, you can learn the tools to lasting recovery. We are ready to help you begin your journey. Call us today at (866) 529-9255.

author avatar
Stefan Bate, MA, LAC, CCTP Chief Clinical Officer
Stefan Bate, BA, MA, LAC holds a Master's Degree in Applied Psychology from Regis University and is a Licensed Addiction Counselor in the state of Colorado. Stefan has wide-ranging experience in the field of addiction recovery including: working as a recovery coach, therapist, and program director.

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