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Alcoholism’s got it’s own toolbox, as well. It only makes sense, right? Filled with gadgets specifically designed to work on one particular model: me. No conversion charts, no adjustments necessary. These tools have been custom-fit and hand-crafted over the years, honed until they fit my diseased thinking like a glove. Resentments that tweak my weakest points and biggest fears. Anger that’s spread out before me like carpenter’s tacks. For envy? A cinder block that hangs from my forehead. Not the most sophisticated device, but it gets the job done.

I’ve slowly been putting together a number of tools myself; hopefully enough to require a box. For the most part, the tools are defensive in nature: built to parry and dodge, deflect and diffuse. They all seem geared toward the better handling of triggers. Much like a car driven by a drunk, my emotions can swerve into the guard rails pretty quickly without someone responsible behind my mental wheel. These tools slow things down, cool things out; apologize and pray and meditate. It may as well just be a paper bag that I breathe into deeply.

Suffice it to say, my toolbox does not look nearly as cool as alcoholism’s. The alcoholism toolbox is loaded with stuff that explodes. Or cuts. Or runs away. It is a box of self-infliction with racing stripes and the outline of a silver-buxom lady.

What needs to start going into my toolbox are diggers and sanders, glue and weed killer. Maintenance tools. Thre’s no need to devote half the space to bandages. Pack salve and ice, pillows and blankets into the thing – it’s imaginary, for Christ’s sake. Beat one make-believe box with another. Like, put a satchel that hangs off the handle that’s got infinite hugs inside. Or crackers.

Remember: my alcoholism, my toolbox.

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