Our program of recovery provides us with many useful tools with which to navigate life successfully and soberly. Often times, we forget or neglect to look in the tool bag and take out the tool we need in a specific situation. During those times, we are tempted to fix the problem by our own strength and understanding. Before we even realize it, we are running the show again and headed for trouble.
Since I personally struggle with patience (among other things), there is a special tool in my spiritual tool bag which I have opportunity to use often. It is the “TIME OUT” tool, referred to on pages 87 -88 of the “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous, which says, “As we go through the day we pause, when agitated or doubtful, and ask for the right thought or action. We constantly remind ourselves we are no longer running the show, humbly saying to ourselves many times each day “Thy will be done.” We are then in much less danger of excitement, fear, anger, worry, self-pity, or foolish decisions.
David, in Psalm 51:10-12, knew the importance of determination, perseverance and patience when he wrote, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me”. This will take effort and practice. Luckily, we will have plenty of opportunities to “try out” this tool of “Time Out.” As time goes on, we can grow spiritually to the place where we do not impulsively make decisions based on feelings any longer. We can base our decisions on a firmer ground – God’s Word; And, this ALWAYS works out better in our lives.
So if you find impulsivity or emotionalism to be a struggle in your life, try the “Time Out” tool. Take a few minutes to call your sponsor, pray, or talk about a potential decision with another sober/spiritual support – BEFORE you take an action. Over time, you will find peace and you will find more effective decision making to be regular blessings in your life!
Adam Bianchini, MD