October 20

DISCIPLINE MONTH: DAY 20: “The problem with patience and discipline is that it requires both of them to develop each of them.” ― Thomas M. Sterner

We addicts are not happy with the gray area of “progress, not perfection.” In fact, it is one of the most abused and misquoted lines in the book. We use it as an excuse for not even trying or doing those things we are given to do around here.

I must be patient with my progress. There, of course, have been times when I did a personal inventory (Step 10) for 3 days and let it go for a day or even a week. In those early days, my habits were not as ingrained as they are today.

And I was terribly impatient with my progress in recovery. I wanted 30 or 40 years of recovery in those first 30 days! So, I would talk like I knew what the hell spiritual principles were. And I would pretend to be inspired and uplifted in meetings. Sometimes that act would help me FEEL inspired and uplifted in meetings.

Because of the nature of who I am, I was trying so desperately to please you and my sponsor and others I wanted to impress with my great success that I often DID! Oh! How did that happen? Because, as I see it, the wonderful part of this recovery thing is that it is DESIGNED to work for people-pleasers, anarchists, drunks and junkies, fakers and liars, pretenders, and ALL of us who come into this thing with an agenda that is less than pure; less than what we say it is.

So, we can stay and keep pretending; keep “faking it till we make it” and recover from that shit, too. I love that!

And, as Step 12 says, we “practice” these principles in all our affairs. It took me many years of practice to understand the concept of honesty…probably 20 or 25. Then I could be truly honest. How that happened was by whittling away what wasn’t true to get to the core of truth. My truth. And it shifted and changed 1000 times or more along the way. Oh!

And I practiced different disciplines; I practiced telling the truth, being honest and honorable in my work, play and relationships. Practiced working out and regular yoga and meditation; and writing a daily gratitude list that wasn’t all about material aspects of life, although that is sometimes where I start. I am still working on these things.

I developed patience by recognizing my progress and being thrilled and grateful for that. NOT by comparing myself to others and being grateful that I wasn’t where they are. That is cheap and cruel. I hate it when I do that…it seldom happens any longer, but I used to do it in those first years. Ugh! So very ugly!

And my patience and discipline have both grown. This is a good thing. I sometimes decide to let myself down and NOT do something I am committed to. It is okay…it is human…and I am more patient with that today…Oh! And most importantly of all…I tell you guys, that way I own way more truth!

Published by: Kelly

I am a therapist and counselor with long-term recovery from addictions and personal trauma. My writing reflects these experiences and the road I have traveled in 12-Step recovery settings, along with the work I have done for over 30 years in the field. My love of dolphins includes the stories of them being healers in places all over the world. I long to offer every broken spirit and body the experience of a healing hug. May my words and stories inform, uplift and delight your spirit and soothe your weary heart.

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