Rule No. 4: A Lesson Is Repeated Until Learned



 A lesson will be presented to you in various forms until you have learned it. When you have learned it, you can then go on to the next lesson.

Why on earth would anyone choose to experience substance abuse?  The very words are rather silly and far too general to address the reality of that phrase.  Nobody sets out to become addicted. The original intention was to seek an easing of an inner pain, whether it be physical, mental, emotional or spiritual.  It begins with an attempt to alleviate that very pain by alcohol, drugs, food, sex, smoking, movies, books, and any other form or substance we can find to hide behind.

This is a time when we break down all aspects of being human into neat, tidy definitions that act as shorthand for who we are, where we have been, where we are going and what we will do when we get there.  We are not trained to deal with pain within ourselves.  We are accustomed to treating symptoms, not cause.  It is always astonishing to people first entering therapy just how long a cure can take.  After all, how much time did it take you to build up those blisters and calluses that cover the void and emptiness inside – the slights, the fears each and every single one of us carries within.

Why then are we so taken aback that it takes work to create balance?

So far, this workbook has consisted mainly of questions, some of which are designed to catch you up, create discomfort, jog you out of habitual thought patterns.  I am hoping to awaken the dragon within you that is longing to be and mean more at the end of your days than just a piece of dust.  With the leaps and bounds the fields of science and medicine are making, we are bound to be living a heck of a lot longer than originally anticipated.  While nobody said life was fair, neither did they say it had to be a drudge!

Each substance is a form of a weapon – it creates distance from yourself and/or from others.  One question might be what is it giving you?  This is not lightly asked.

Drinking can be a quick shortcut to nerve endings, so you feel more relaxed, softened, or given a false sense of courage.  Smoking, as harmful as it is physically, encourages deep breaths.  It also ensures a certain amount of isolation, a guaranteed break from routine if you are not allowed to smoke where you work.  A few minutes of quiet time.  Could you create that as a non-smoker?   Of course, you could – would you?  As an addiction, smoking guarantees you will take those breaks.  How about eating – with our current emphasis on creating a homogenous form of humanity, anyone too thin or too plump is questioned about being anorexic or incapable of control.

Substance abuse is a form of rebellion and it can destroy you and/or the lives of those around you.  It can also be a momentary weapon taken up in self-defense.

Twelve step programs began with Alcoholics Anonymous and now they range from Narcotics Anonymous to Neurotics Anonymous, all the way to being over or under sexed.

It is important if substance abuse is a problem to understand why it began in the first place – the parameters.   There is no question that the substance takes on a life of its own.  Why did we pick it up in the first place?  Does that reason still exist or has it become a habit, an armor?

The very reason that Alcoholics Anonymous works is that it is based on the highest form of self honesty possible.  Without that, no matter how simple a start, i.e., an acknowledgment that there is a problem in the first place – there is no going forward.

To be continued…  Rule No. 5 coming up next.

Note: This is part of the AWOL Manual, “When to Lay the Weapons Down,” copyrighted 1995, renewed 2008

13 thoughts on “Rule No. 4: A Lesson Is Repeated Until Learned

  1. Hunt, Soft smile, Another lesson that hits close to home. My parents smoked so I did, my friends drank, so I did, and on and on. One does abuse the elements around themselves as well as themselves. Over my 64 years I have ways to abuse myself in many forms. This post strikes to the substances and some of the reasons one falls or jumps willingly into these arenas. In many regards I am lucky to be here, when I was a lot younger I drank to beyond excess, but I found a light, and thru that light I drank less and less. These days I enjoy a drink from time to time, nothing in excess at all, and never to an amount that causes payment the next day. As the lesson describes there are tons and tons of reasons why a person would choose such a path. Your comment that we are trained to treat symptoms and not causes is as accurate a remark as any you have made. Another remark you made “While nobody said life was fair, neither did they say it had to be a drudge!” caused me to just plan smile at the truth of the remark. I think this is the key, at no time in my life, going thru all the life lessons I have been thru was that remark put into a context that was relative to the moment. I had heard both ends of that remark but never together and never in context of the moment. Smiling and it is true, I have made the same mistake time and time again, until I learned. I am sure there are many lessons out there for me yet to screw up, and most certainly I will. Hopefully I will have enough time to make these mistakes again and again until I learn. Please take care — Bill


    • Oh, that magic wand, Col! Twang – get it! Nope, we get to do it the hard way in our own time and space and willingness… 🙂 Part of the free will package, I think. 🙂


  2. You made an interesting point here Huntie. I used to smoke & so would take smoke breaks whenever I was entitled to a break from work. When I finally quit smoking, I naturally started off not going out for a “smoke break” because I had stopped smoking. But I found myself at my desk, desperately craving a cigarette at the time I would normally take a break & feeling like I was missing out on my breaks. I gave in after 1 day & went outside for a “fresh air break” when all my friends went for their smoke break & I found it much easier to continue my quitting & keep from getting so irritable.


Come talk with me...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s