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So That’s What the Tools Are All About

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After five years in program, it was just this year that I came to understand the Tools. For a long time, I thought they were the program. If I wanted to be working the program, I just had to be using the Tools. A little farther along, I believed my abstinence rested on whether I had used the Tools that day, so I feverishly utilized every Tool every day. I did maintain abstinence, but I lived in constant fear of relapsing if I neglected even one Tool that day.

This year, I also realized that the psychic transformation that relieves me of even desiring excess food happens through the power of God and that I get that power from God by working the Steps. As for my abstinence, I don’t earn it. It is gifted to me.

After that revelation, I thought I didn’t need the Tools so much anymore. After all, my abstinence was a gift, and my psychic transformation had come through working the Steps. I let up on my Tools, doing less meditation, making fewer phone calls, spending less time reading and writing.

It was then that I noticed I was focusing more and more on myself and my problems—and less on my OA friends and what was going on in their lives. I became self-centered and started dwelling on my marital problems.

It suddenly dawned on me: I needed the Tools to help me maintain that psychic transformation! I used the telephone to help me work Step Seven, which relieved my character defects of self-centeredness and isolation. I picked up a pen to write about my resentments toward my husband, which helped me complete Step Four and also do a daily Tenth Step inventory. I made room in my schedule for my quiet time routine of meditation, reading, and writing, which I used to work Step Eleven.

I no longer use the Tools feverishly and fearfully in order to earn my abstinence, or think the responsibility lies totally on me to do everything right in order to maintain abstinence. I know now that abstinence comes from my Higher Power. But, I also see the Tools as nine proven pathways to working the Steps and getting into alignment with HP. I stay abstinent by staying aligned with HP. This is where that miraculous power comes from.

— Edited and reprinted from Monarch Monthly newsletter, Three Rivers Intergroup of Northeast Indiana, September 2014

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