October 17

DISCIPLINE MONTH: DAY 17: “Whether our action is wholesome or unwholesome depends on whether that action or deed arises from a disciplined or undisciplined state of mind. It is felt that a disciplined mind leads to happiness and an undisciplined mind leads to suffering, and in fact it is said that bringing about discipline within one’s mind is the essence of the Buddha’s teaching.” ― Dalai Lama XIV

We become disciplined in working through the steps, because we go from blaming the world for all our “stories” to accepting the notion that all our troubles stem from what we believe about life and the world around us.

This is recovery in a nutshell. If I can ever encapsulate the trouble with our thinking, it is just that. We become disciplined when we learn to apply these principles in ALL our affairs. When we can see that life is not here to make us happy.

We are here to learn to love life. And then we are done with life. I believe that. I  heard someone share recently, in a meeting, that there was a death when that person was around 20 or so. They have NEVER gotten over that occasion! And have spent over 45 years bitter and angry at God for that death! Wow! And we wonder why we have such a tough time sticking this thing out.

Most of us have something like this to which we cling with all our might. Like it is the greatest gift we ever got. And we cling like hell to this idea that we are owed something by this Universe because of this story. WTF???

But I have worked with thousands of addicts in all aspects of this deal, and there is something that they cannot let go of every time. Relapse after relapse. An old childhood wrong that they cannot accept and move past. An old relationship that they don’t want to move past. It does not matter what their story is about. It is a wrong, a mistake, an error on the part of someone or something that they will not lay down and move on with life to get over.

Their identity is so stuck in this groove, this rut, that they will destroy everything good and fine in their lives to hang onto it. What is that story for you?

Disciplining our minds is learning to accept all of life, on life’s terms; period! There is no such thing as an error, a mistake, a burden so great you cannot lay it down. A wrong so horrible that you must continue to carry it at the detriment of your entire life and all your relationships with everyone you will ever know. Get over it! Move on!

I have watched people who don’t drink or use drugs and the miserable ways they treat the people in their lives, based on the idea that something so horrible was done to them that no one will ever get past them again. Ugh! What a toxic way to be!

And they will tell me all about their issues with trust. And I look at them and say, “What issues?” Then here comes the story again, and again, and again…ad nauseum. Geez! So what? You are an asshole, but that is NOT why. You are an asshole because you keep dragging this worn out old BS into everything you do and say and believe.

The Buddha has great teachings about discipline. Not what we do, but how we believe. I am a huge fan of learning to shift your thinking. It is the ONLY thing that recovery is here to teach us.

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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