Before I began my spiritual journey in Alcoholics Anonymous, I had only one tool in my tool box — a rusty old claw hammer of self-will. It’s a good thing I had this hammer because back then my life was filled with nails that needed pounding. I lived in a sea of problems. Relationship problems, work problems, financial problems. The people closest to me caused most of my problems. Whenever I faced any kind of problem I’d yank out my hammer and begin to pound away. I pounded day and night trying to get life to follow my script. After a long day of pounding, I needed a few drinks to relax. Once I had a few, I needed a few more. Then…
Thankfully I was blessed with the disease of alcoholism. God made it baby simple for me: Seek spiritual help or die a lonely drunk. Something in me chose life and I began to live in the solution that is neatly written down in the book, Alcoholics Anonymous. Since I was unemployed (unemployable, really,) I made AA my job. I went to more than 400 meetings in my first year. I got myself a great sponsor and began to make my way through the steps. I allowed the men in my home group to get to know the real me, I put my hand out to newcomers, set up chairs, picked up cigarette butts in the parking lot and brought the donuts to the meeting Saturday morning. I was a little over a year sober when a man asked me to sponsor him. I was hooked on recovery.
As I continued to follow the AA program of action I began accumulating new tools for living and growing along spiritual lines. Today I have tools to connect with others and with my higher power, inventory tools to grow in self-awareness, tools for keeping my side of the street clean and tools to deal with resentment and disappointment. I also have tools in the form of slogans which help me remember simple wisdom in moments of stress. Of all the tools, the one I rely on the most is connecting with another alcoholic. The most important instruction in the Big Book for me is, “ask Him in your morning meditation what you can do for the man who is still sick.”
The AA promise — I will intuitively know how to handle situations that used to baffle me — has come true. Today I intuitively know what tool to take out of my tool box and apply to my life. When I am living in the solution, life goes on pretty darn good without me even thinking about it. I still take out my rusty hammer every now and then, but not nearly as often and I don't do nearly the damage.