Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Discipline Disciples


By 
Chris Newcomb, M.Div.

Discipline is difficult to have but so necessary.  I learned this very early in my teenage life when I went to a Catholic military high school for boys.  I am still in therapy.

Actually, I am not in therapy.  But, it was one hell of a ride, pardon the pun!  Everyday, it was my job to shine my shoes, clean my 'brass' (i.e. belt buckle, uniform accoutrements), and iron my uniform.  These are not the typical tasks of a high school boy much less the typical task of an undiagnosed ADHD, creative, musician boy.  FAIL!

I lived in detention.  It had a placard with my name on it.  Between lacking the discipline to meet the basic uniform requirements and mouthing off to the student-leaders, I gave up many a free hour after school to sit staring straight ahead at the wall in front of me.  In those days, I was a slow learner apparently.

However, something began to click for me in my senior year.  I was promoted to the rank of Second Lieutenant (i.e. Platoon Leader) which actually means nothing in the real world because this was J.R.O.T.C. (Junior Reserve Officer Training Corp) but it felt good and I got to carry a sword!  And thus began my first relationship with discipline.

We've been dating for years now.  She wants a commmitment but I tell her that I am not that kind of guy.  I stray at times.  Sometimes I look at other options like procrastination, relaxation, and apathy.  When I do, she slaps me and get's my attention back on her.  I find that when I pay the most attention to her, that is when I am most happy.  She treats me right.  I'm learning to do the same by her.

Believe it or not, drug and alcohol abusers are some of the most disciplined people I have ever met.  In fact, today I talked to a patient who lives in a small town working for a small company their spouse.  Apparently, over the course of 4 years, they spent close to $1.8 million dollars on drugs.  The result left their marriage in shambles and the destruction of their business.  It was very sad to hear and not their intent when they started doing drugs.  It never is.

The truth is that this person and their spouse were tremendously disciplined in order to spend that kind of money.  And, as the graphic above suggests, they chose what they wanted now over what they wanted most.  As far as recovery goes, people stuck in addiction have to learn how to choose what they want most (i.e. a clean life with the ability to deal pragmatically with real problems) versus what they want now (i.e. a quick fix from drugs and alcohol).

I have found that not one patient in the 4 years I have worked at The Coleman Institute have ever said they started using drugs or alcohol because they woke up and thought it was a great day to ruin their lives by becoming an addict.  It never starts that way.  And the reality is that many people are very undisciplined before they start doing drugs and become "Discipline Disciples" once their addiction is under way.  In fact, they have to be in order to stave off dope sickness on a daily basis.  So, it is safe to say that it is not true when an addict or alcoholic says that they are not able to have discipline!

The truth is we all need disciple.  It is a good thing.  It gives our lives structure and purpose.  Are you a disciple of discipline for sobriety?  If not, you can be!  Recovery will give you the tools to turn that habit of discipline in the right direction.  The choice is yours. 

At The Coleman Institute, you matter to us!  We care deeply about helping people turn from drugs and alcohol and embrace a wonderful, happy, and fulfilled life in recovery.  Sobriety, contrary to popular belief, is NOT for losers!  If you or someone you love is in need of detox from opiates, alcohol, benzos, Methadone, or Suboxone, please do not hesitate to contact Jennifer Pius or Amy Stewart at 1-877-773-3869.  We are here for you! 

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