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Gearing Up for Recovery

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I began using the Tools of Recovery before I even knew they were the Tools.

It started with the Tool of meetings: I attended my first one, then my second. As I listened to others’ shares, I kept hearing, “Find a sponsor.” When I made the decision to jump in, I found a sponsor (a second Tool) who had what I wanted: peace, joy, and program experience. My sponsor asked me to telephone her (another Tool), and from there, we established a plan of eating (yet another Tool) that I could live with while I made changes in my choices. Once I became comfortable with my plan of eating, my sponsor introduced me to an agreeable action plan, another Tool I could use along with my plan of eating.

My action plan included daily meditation, which involved prayer, reading, and the Tool of writing. As I began working Step One, I’d read all I could find about it and then would write down my thoughts on those readings and what they meant to me. Writing helped reinforce what I was reading and encouraged me to explore the feelings that surfaced. The more I read, the more I felt and wrote and learned about myself. I completed the first three Steps smoothly and with little pain.

Then came Step Four, which prompted me to use many of the Tools. At meetings, I would listen to others share about their Step work. I would call my sponsor daily and talk about my work: Am I doing it right? What exactly do I need to write down? I would consult the Big Book (Tool of literature) and found answers to my questions about what I ought to include. The OA Twelve and Twelve also provided a wealth of information. When I thought I’d read, felt, and learned all that I could, I shared it with my sponsor in Step Five.

I continued to use meetings, my sponsor, the telephone, writing, and literature as I worked the remaining Steps. I still use these Tools today as I work my daily action plan of making healthy food choices, exercising, and reaching out to others.

The Tool of service takes many forms. I listen to others share their problems and try to focus on their day and their needs. I chair meetings and volunteer as meeting secretary, both of which encourage me to talk about the program with others while reinforcing my practice of the Principles in my own life. As I speak with others, I remember to use the Tool of anonymity by keeping these conversations confidential out of respect for all concerned.

The Tools give me what I need to work a successful program at any moment of any day. They reinforce my commitment to become a better person and, at the same time, offer me opportunities to help others do the same.

— Liz B., Chicago, Illinois USA

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