Tooling Around My Sobriety

Used 2013-10-31 A Real Tool (AlKHall sobriety recovery)

Use a tool, don’t be one

i’ve recently been anxious and stressed out by others acting out in my real virtual world. The situation has left me incredibly tense and feeling less than adequate.

A few years ago, i would have dealt with this using the only tool i had at my disposal: alcohol. Now it’s more daunting because i still feel the same dread but i don’t have the option of drinking over it.

Fortunately, i have more than one tool in my box now, and i’d like to share them with you here in case they might help you, the next time you get a little wound up.

The Serenity Prayer

i stand by this old standby. “God grant me the serenity to accept the things i cannot change (which means other people’s behavior), the courage to change the things i can (myself), and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Where are you now?

i say this to myself when i catch myself falling down the rabbit hole of my thoughts, because eventually i get so far deep that my ideas start chasing their own tails and i lose my sense of the real world. Asking myself “Where are you right now?” forces me to focus on the real world and my physical place in it.


Once one of my biggest defects of character, now i let myself postpone worrying. When i notice the anxiety ramping up, i tell myself to put off thinking about the situation until tomorrow. This is nice because i’ve noticed time and sleep have a great way of diluting pressure.

The Happy Ending

When the problem ends–and it has to end eventually, it’s just a question of time–the ending will be happy because i won’t have drunk over the stress. i’ll have won, and that feels damn good.

About Al K Hall

Like a battered drinker or a punch drunk boxer, i am here for another round. For those of you who don’t know me, i’m a semi-professional writer on the rocks and a non-practicing alcoholic (if after 30 years of practicing, you still can't do something well, it's best to just give it up). For those of you who do know me, thanks for stopping by anyway and where’s the ten bucks you owe me? Welcome to my Bar None. A hole in the wall where we can hang out and trade the kind of stories you swap only when you’ve had one too many and either can’t find your way home or are afraid to. Hell, it’s cheaper than therapy and plus the pictures are prettier. Here we’ll crack open bottles and jokes and ‘last call’ are the only dirty words you’ll never hear. Pull up a stool and make yourselves at home.

Posted on October 31, 2013, in Alcoholism, Lessons in Recovery, Recovery, Toolbox and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. I have found out that everything works out the way it should whether I put my hands into or not. Your suggestions are proven winners! Thanks as always.

  2. I just finished reading your comment on my post, and now I see the expanded version! This is a great resource, and I will absolutely come back to it again and again!

    I am sorry to hear that you have some stress, sounds like maybe we have some similar people in our separate worlds! The great news is that we know that we will come out on the other side, and we will be stronger for it!

    I’m praying for us, Al!

  3. Wow, this is perfect for me today! Thanks for the tools. 🙂

  4. And listen to Tara Brach! She has a great talk on forgiveness. It’s one that helped me hugely when I had a really really difficult situation going down here with a distant family member..I think it’s the 29 minute one on here called ‘The Forgiving Heart”
    Love to you Mr Hall.. stay strong, this too shall pass xxxx

  5. Yup – great stuff there, Al. Sometimes I have to pop those serenity’s like TicTacs to get through a situation or event. I love the switching of a character defect to an asset. Very groovy. Sometimes the things we think are shortcomings are actually things that the Creator uses to His (and our) advantage. I too am slow to get to things, but often that works to my advantage, because it gives me more time to reflect and to make sure what I am doing is what is needed, not necessarily wanted. I always admired those who made critical split second decisions in regular and stressful situations. I am not one of them. I thought that my lack of decision making was a defect. But I see now that it helps me. I am not jumping on something or someone right away, I am taking the time to do what is right. I am able to mobilize what I need to make a proper decision. And that thing about your ability to put away the need to worry right away…brilliant.

    As is this post.

    Thanks, Al!


  6. (At posts like these, a button labeled “Like” is thoroughly inadequate.)

    “In darkness the stone becomes the buffalo. In sunlight all is as it is.”

    Procrastinatin’ the worry is a pretty handy trick; I’ve learned to use it myself from time to time. Gives us a whole new understanding of “sleeping on it,” because we’ve seen it how it can help reduce the size of that worry cloud.

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