Your Sobriety Toolkit
A publication of the Secular Organizations for Sobriety (Save Our Selves)
Welcome to SOS
Welcome to SOS. Secular Organizations for Sobriety (or Save Our Selves) is
dedicated to providing a path to sobriety, an alternative to those paths
depending upon supernatural or religious beliefs. We respect diversity, welcome
healthy skepticism, and encourage rational thinking as well as the expression of
This brochure has been designed to provide you with tools you will find
useful in maintaining your Sobriety Priority. We welcome you to attend
one of our meetings, call us, or visit our web site to gain more information.
Your Sobriety Toolkit
Tool: A means by which something is done or obtained.
Did you ever try to fix or adjust something without the proper tool? These
are some tools of sobriety. There are many more. Look into the population of
alcoholics and the field of alcoholism and you will find a tool for whatever
needs fixing or adjusting. If you don’t find just the right tool, fashion one
No matter what — there is no valid reason on earth to drink again.
Here’s sobriety — there’s everything else — separate and
Seriousness — this is nothing less than life or death.
Determination — there is no turning back, especially if it gets
rough. You’ve gotten another chance at life. How many really have that chance?
Sobriety doesn’t fix everything, but it makes it possible.
Information — retrain your brain; stimulate it with things related
to alcoholism: books, audiotapes, videotapes, movies, pamphlets, brochures,
meetings, plays, television and radio, newspapers and magazine articles, etc.
People — human contact is powerful. Try to meet people, at least
one, and be sure to meet other alcoholics. Interaction fights the old patterns
Honesty — this is the time to get things into the open. Get rid of
the shadows and darknesses of the past. Put light on the dark things and they
lose their power. Things can be dealt with reasonably when they’re seen as
they truly are.
Listening — especially to people with long-term sobriety.
Take notes — anytime; but especially in early sobriety when memory
can be tricky.
Meetings — be with people who want better lives and are taking
actions to get what they want. Meetings are a good place to establish or
re-establish social skills in a supportive environment. There is a lot to learn
and feel in a meeting. You are not alone. You have not done the worst or been
the most; there are always those who have ‘bettered’ you. Think about what
you hear and see, but better yet is to feel what you hear and see at meetings.
Folk wisdom and slogans — don’t underestimate them.
Commitments — if you make them, keep them. You show yourself and
others a lot by doing so.
Personal ‘program’ — develop your own recovery process from
what you hear and see. It has to be what works for you, not anybody else.
Sharing — surprisingly therapeutic when done honestly. Free
yourself from holding things in.
Phones — get plenty of phone numbers of other alcoholics and use
Willingness — allow yourself to change. You have nothing to lose.
Openness — Don’t reject ideas without at least considering them.
Approachability — isolation can be deadly.
Ask questions — no matter how foolish you think they seem. Never be
afraid to ask other alcoholics about things.
Nutrition — improve it any way you can.
Exercise — however little, even just moving around.
Help other alcoholics — you really can keep it by giving it away.
Joy — it’s great to be alive and sober.
Perceptions — it’s all real, not diluted or distorted. A keen,
rich mind versus a drugged, limited mind.
Easily obtainable goals — success breeds more success. Reach for
the moon later.
Call-up — remember, visualize, and image behaviors and incidents
from your drinking days that are repellent and associated with alcohol. Replace
‘alcohol good’ with ‘alcohol bad’. This is especially useful when you
feel seduced by alcohol or cocksure about sobriety.
Live in the present — visits to the past are okay, but don’t
freeze your life there.
Abstinence — the only sure way to stay sober. Any statement to the
contrary is hypothesis or commentary. Don’t drink, no matter what.
Avoid ‘slippery’ places, people and things — reinforce ‘alcohol
bad’ by avoiding the places, people and things you associate with ‘alcohol
good.’ If you can’t avoid, you must be aware that they are dangerous to your
sobriety and proceed with caution.
Safeguard your sobriety — don’t be concerned with what others
think of how you do it. Don’t be embarrassed if what you need to do to stay
sober is ‘un-adult,’ ‘uncool,’ ‘weak,’ or ‘stupid’ in the
opinion of others. You are rebuilding and recreating yourself. You want to own
your life, not be a slave to alcohol. It’s your life and your sobriety. Try to
avoid things like homicide and robbery as tools to keep you sober, but be as
flexible as you can in using whatever it takes to safeguard your sobriety. Be
Acceptance — of your alcoholism. Think of the things you used to do
that were related to alcohol and the need to drink. Were they normal? Does
anyone but an alcoholic do these things? Know that you are an alcoholic like
someone with diabetes or allergies knows his or her reality. Don’t be ashamed,
Fear — use it if you get it. Don’t live in fear, but use it. The
same goes for horror, shame, regret or any other negative thoughts or feelings
that may come when you think about your drinking days. Don’t stifle or deny
these states of mind. Use them as tools to reinforce yourself, not stumbling
Watch for tools — everything can be a tool to help maintain
sobriety. Train your mind to see and hear tools. Don’t doublethink yourself.
If it works for you, use it. If you feel it may work for you, try it. You are
fighting for your life, nothing less. You are the owner of your life. You are
responsible for the caretaking of your life and you have decided to find better
ways to live. Other people have gone before you and put together their own ‘tool
kits.’ Ask them to share.
Do it now — procrastination is an anti-tool, feeding the negative
and working against self-esteem.
Credit yourself — for your attainment and maintenance of sobriety.
Others may have helped, but you did it.
Enjoy life — you can be dead any time. Drinking is slow suicide.
Life is a banquet. Depth, complexity, the full fabric of life is yours to
experience. The blinders and mufflers are off. Think of yourself as a child
occasionally. Experience wonder and intensity.
It’s right — when you are sober, you feel ‘in your spine’
that it is right. Believe your guts on this when the feeling comes.
Care about yourself — things you do for yourself tell you at a gut
level that you care about yourself. You have the option to make things bad or
good for yourself.
Alcohol is not a tool — everything you were able to do under
alcohol’s influence came from between your ears. Don’t think you are less
creative, a lousy dancer, etc.
Remind yourself — even when you think you have ‘got it,’ remind
yourself. Never again. Keep it fresh.
Imagery — for example, be mad at alcohol. Hate it for what it has
done to you and those you care about. Being free of a horrible nightmare,
knowing you are sober, is far better than the relief of waking from a bad dream.
You were running on empty; as your drinking progressed, you were getting closer
to the end of your life.
Make concepts real — if you are having a bad day, start it over,
anytime, any number of times.
Visualize — for example, drunk living is wimp living.
Expect good things — they happen when we expect them. Mindset in a
positive light gets us to perceive positive, helpful things rather than
negative, destructive things.
Interrupt negative thoughts — identify them as ‘drinking thinking’
or some such. Change them, turn them around, obliterate them.
Look at drunks — especially when they are trying to pass as sober.
Listen to what they are saying. Is that a wonderful life?
Action — no matter how small it seems.
Very best wishes to those who choose sobriety and life. If you really want to
get and stay sober, there are people who will help you. You will be truly
surprised at the lengths to which people will go to help you when you are for
Based on Larry B’s presentations at the SOS National Workshop series in San
Diego and Los Angeles in 1992. Reprinted with permission from the SOS
Publication of this material is made possible by support from SOS members and
friends and by the Council for Secular Humanism, a nonprofit educational