We use various tools every single day of our lives. We have kitchen tools, grooming tools, gardening tools, construction tools, tools to help us walk, tools to help us reach, tools for this and tools for that…the list goes on and on. All these tools were invented to help make our tasks easier. Take the screwdriver; now I don’t know about you, but I can’t live without screwdrivers. Have you ever tried to screw or unscrew something with a butter knife? Yeah, I have and it is a pain in the ass and sometimes cannot be done. A butter knife was not invented to turn screws. However, you also need to have the correct screwdriver to get the job done. I won’t go in to the various types and sizes of screwdrivers; I think you get my point.
The same thing goes for recovery. There are so many tools we can use in our daily (sometimes hourly) recovery to help us reach and maintain our peace and sanity. These tools do not work if they are not used. They are not like magic pills that you can pop into your mouth and life just sails smoothly along. No, they need to be used physically and mentally in order for them to work. You have to purposefully take them out of your toolbox and apply them to whatever situation is happening. For example, I journal or blog to help me work through and get out emotions that I am wrapped up in. It’s a great tool but it will not help me if someone calls and asks if they can stay at my house for a few weeks. Sure, I can write all I want about the emotions/stress the call caused me but it does not handle the situation. I need to pull the tools out that will help guide me in making the decision (the right decision for me) of whether or not I am going to allow someone to stay in my house for a few weeks.
Some of the tools I use often are words, sayings/quotes, or acronyms. They help remind me what I am supposed to do or not do and they are easy to remember. Images are also tools. They help me visualize the life I want and bring me peace.
Boundaries – not allowing others to use, mistreat, or take advantage of me
Staying on my side of the street – minding my own business and not giving my advice/opinions unless asked
Getting off the dance floor – not engaging in unhealthy behavior with someone who is unhealthy
Let my no be no – remembering that it is okay to say no and I do not have to explain
This is just a list of four of my favorite tools but there are so many others. I make sure to pull the correct ones out of my toolbox for each situation. I make sure to use them so that I can remain healthy and happy. Do I get it wrong sometimes? Of course I do! But then back to the toolbox I go. I treasure the tools I have today and I love learning new ones!
What are some of your favorite recovery tools?