Discipline, Service, and Teaching: The Permanent Cure to Drug Addiction
According to an article published in The Daily Herald on September 1st, 2017, 1 in 3 people are impacted by the opium crisis, as well as 52,000 people dying each year from drug overdoses. Another statistic reported that more people died in 2016 from drug overdoses, than the entire Vietnam War. I was and am one of those statistics. I struggled on and off for over 5 years with drug addiction, in particular opioids. I tried many times on my own to get clean, but just could not do it. I knew that I wanted to get sober, but just did not know how to go about doing it. I knew that the typical rehabilitation facilities were not the answer for me. I had friends that would go into rehabilitation facilities and would come back and relapse over and over again. I was not aware at the time, but what I was really searching for was a permanent cure. I wanted to get to the cause of the addiction, and not just treat the effect. It was not until April 2013 that I started to get to the cause. It was at this time that a friend invited me to a class at The School of Metaphysics. I can remember walking into class that first night, only two weeks clean from opioids. I did not know exactly how this school was going to help me heal but, I had a feeling that it would.
Over the next four and a half years I slowly began to learn the keys to Enlightenment, which can also be used as The Keys to Recovery. They are: Discipline, Service, and Teaching. First, I began to learn how to discipline my conscious mind through regular practice of meditation and other mindful exercises taught at the school. This was a starch contrast to my life before. Previously, I was very undisciplined with my thoughts and actions. The uncontrolled thoughts would lead me to uncontrollable actions, keeping me in the cycle of addiction. What I learned is that discipline helps you establish trust within yourself. When you use your will to make productive choices, you begin to trust yourself, and once you have that trust, you really can do anything, even overcome drug addiction. The mind is a powerful goal-achieving mechanism. It needs one worthwhile goal to achieve after the next. I never knew this before the school, so shortly after my studies began, I made a goal to run the Chicago Marathon. I had just started running again, and could barely make it around my block, but I knew that I had to move towards something. So with the daily discipline of running just a little further every day, I met my goal of running the marathon. That is the power of discipline and it is absolutely necessary if you truly want to change your life.
The next key to recovery is Service. It is through service that one truly begins to heal themselves. In fact there is one psychiatrist in Chicago that will not even see you until you do three acts of service. What she has found is that through the act of service people can learn to heal themselves. It is in the act of service, that you truly begin to “get over yourself.” I know this to be true, first hand. I was lucky to find the school at a time when there was a lot of remodeling projects that were being done. I was invited to participate in them in my early stages of recovery. On my days off of work when the thoughts of using drugs would creep in, I would instead go over to the school and help paint a wall, or put shingling on a new roof. When I was participating in acts of service I did not have time to think about my selfish desires, like getting high. I learned to become other-centered which is another absolute if you want to heal.
The final key to recovery is teaching. Teaching is the highest act of service. The School of Metaphysics has given me the opportunity to be a teacher. I have been teaching Applied Metaphysics classes consistently for over two years. I look at teaching others as the final step in recovery. When you make it the point of sharing with others, you do not have any room in your thinking for selfish desires like getting high. You have to be there for others consistently. The term comes to mind, “Each one, teach one.” If the whole world held this mentality and took it to heart, we could enact serious changes. The thing is, if you are like me, you have a lot to give. I know from my own experience, drugs gave me a lot of insight into the inner levels of mind, so much so that I became addicted to the experience. However, what good are the experiences if you cannot share them with others? The drugs throw you into these experiences but fail because you cannot maintain the high. You just need more and more of the drug. You put your happiness outside of yourself. However, there are natural ways of experiencing it. I am here to tell you that you can get that from spirituality. If and when you find your spiritual path it is important that you remember these keys: Discipline, Service, and Teaching. Once you really begin to work them you will experience the freedom from addiction.