“Discipline is remembering what you want.”
I’m not sure where I ran across the quote above, and I don’t know who said it. It strikes me, though, that it’s a good thing for folks in recovery to remember.
I had to want freedom from the slavery of my addictions before I became willing to do the necessary work. I had to want it more than the temporary relief I got from acting out; more than the ephemeral and diminishing returns that I had imagined were enough for so many years, and certainly more than the pain that was the inevitable result of continual abuse of my body and mind for more than half a century.
I was “sick and tired of being sick and tired” for years before I wanted to get sober. First I needed to — for a long time — but only when the pain got bad enough did I find that I wanted to. Even then it wasn’t possible until I realized that I couldn’t do it alone.
Usually we encourage newcomers to discern the difference between their wants and their needs — that our wants are of lesser importance — and that’s an important distinction. But in this one case, it’s the other way around. As long as we can remember what we want from our program, and keep in mind what we don’t want, we’ll be okay.