I only had one tool in my tool box for most of my life -- a rusty old claw hammer of self will. Anytime I met any resistance to my demands I'd take out my hammer and start pounding away. Often I pounded so hard on close relationships, friends, and employees I broke our connection into smithereens. I learned the hard way if the only tool in your tool box is a hammer, your life will be filled with many situations that require hammering. It's an exhausting, fearful, angry way to go through life.

Throughout my recovery, as self will gives way to God’s will, new tools magically show up in my tool box. Even with new tools like acceptance, forgiveness, and surrender, I still reach in and grab that old hammer far too often. It’s only when the inevitable pain results do I realize I made the wrong choice and I’ll reach for another tool. Fortunately I’m much more sensitive to the pain today than when I was drinking. I guess I’ve thawed out a little.

I suppose understanding is the first tool I try to remember to use when the going gets rough. My understanding stems from the sentence in the Big Book: “God is everything or else He is nothing. God either is or He isn't. What was our choice to be?” Once I choose that God is everything, then I must accept that nothing happens in God’s world by accident, no matter how painful it is. So whatever is going on is somehow meant to be. There’s a purpose to it even though I may not be able to see what that purpose is. Since I also choose to believe that the nature of God is love, then whatever is happening is happening because I am loved -- to teach me or guide me in some way -- not as punishment for my so-called “sins.”

Peace of mind returns when I can understand the spiritual truth about what’s going on rather than believe the lies my mind spews out.