109 Discipline to Embrace or Avoid?


When I came to the Program, it surprised me how many found the word discipline offensive. I served in the Marine Corps for a few years where discipline was a way of life. In my case discipline did build a sense of responsibility and character, which I lacked. In some AA meetings, I heard discipline often related to inflicting a penalty on someone for wrongdoing or failing to do. Some members felt like it was too controlling of their behavior or too much work.

In Latin the root word for discipline is discipulus = pupil.

From my dictionary I realized a broader meaning for discipline. I had to rethink both my understanding and the way I experienced discipline. When I arrived at the Marines' Boot Camp, I became a pupil with a new state of mind imposed on me; based on submission to rules and authority. Yes I was a student under the direct supervision of a teacher, called a D.I. (Drill Instructor). At first I felt like the D.I. was punishing me not just training me. Now I understand purpose of the training was to produce a specific character or pattern of behavior, molding me into a Marine. I learned a lot about discipline in just fourteen weeks of Boot Camp. I learned a lot about sober discipline my first six months of AA. I am now grateful for the discipline I learned in the Marines. It helped me practice the Program when I wanted to and when I did not. Plus I had enough encouragement form my fellow AA members and the discipline I learned not to drink alcohol no matter what.

Discipulus is also the Latin root word for disciple.

Disciple = One who embraces and assists in spreading the teachings of another.

As I became part of Twelve Stepping I was somewhat like a disciple. I embraced this Program, which was another's teaching, and I carried the good news about this sobriety way of life. So I guess I am an AA disciple. (OK don't take it so serious)


Do you view discipline as a useful tool as a character builder?

Do you view discipline in a negative?

Random Awakening

Al Kohallek asked his sponsor if he heard about the nine ever-day elements of love. Lou-is replied, when I came into the Program so many members of our group were reading a book written a longtime ago. The title was The Greatest Thing in the World, by Henry Drummond (1851 – 1897). He listed what many believed to be the greatest thing or good. In his judgment like Paul’s in 1 Corinthians 13 was love. I will share a little of my experience for each one of these elements of love for I believe our Program is a way of life and that life is love.