The Drill


I’m starting to settle in. But we are warned not to get comfortable. Our punishments for minor infractions like falling out of formation, forgetting to remove or put on our hat when going outside or coming in, are pushups. Those are meant to refocus our attention on paying attention. And there are no shortcuts allowed here.

Somebody was using a pencil to wedge his green scrubby pad into his belt buckle to get some hard to reach copper. A CO must have seen him cheating on the camera and they called him out, took his buckle, smashed it with a hammer, and gave him a new one. That was after five days of scrubbing. To put that into perspective, I have been working on mine for nine days and I’m still not done. Of course, I haven’t been cheating.

My boots are not done. I’ve been polishing the leather tips of them with spit and ghost-coats after applying a thicker first layer a week ago. I have spent roughly 10 total hours just making circles with a thin blue rag. I’m also getting really close to done on my buckle. When we’re done, that frees up a lot of time for treatment and work crew.

The work crew consists of anybody that isn’t in school or doing something else. Today they went into the woods and raked. They actually raked the woods. I can’t really describe to you how pointless that seems, but that’s just one of many way they keep us busy.

Day 10. Getting into it. What used to feel like chaos is what actually makes our days go so quickly. We’re never in one spot for over two hours.


5:20 a.m. Wake up, Head Count

5:25 a.m. Make our beds (with 45 degree angles everywhere), shave, brush teeth, get dressed, put laundry in bins

5:45 a.m. On alternating days, run or do aerobics for one hour. Stretch for 10 minutes before and after

6:55 a.m. Get back to barracks. 57 men shower, pee, poop, get dressed in our khakis, everything looking sharp, belt buckle lined up with our fly and shirt (gig line), boots laced tight and laces tucked into the boot at the top, lockers organized, clothes properly folded, etc.

7:20 a.m. Count. We stand perfectly still at Military POA (Point of Attention) for up to 30 minutes, usually less

8:00 a.m. Chow time. We file in, stand at Parade Rest (feet shoulder-width apart, feet at 45 degree angles, hands locked behind our backs, eyes and head forward, no movement), then slowly move through the chow line. We eat quietly then file out. There are many details I’m skipping, maybe I’ll have time to write about them later.

8:40 a.m. Barracks cleaning

9:00 a.m. Some people go to school, others to morning treatment, some go to work. Work is either KP (Kitchen Patrol) or laundry (me), community work, all sorts of stuff really. I go to treatment at 1:00 p.m. until 4:30.

After evening meal, we do a lot of different stuff including more aerobics or running or going to the library or study hall.

Today we started treatment. Already I’m remembering a lot from my time in Hazelden 14 years ago. One similarity is that I still have to deal with a good number of people who don’t want to be here or don’t think they have problems. They weren’t aware that this was going to be such a big part of boot camp. We shall see how long that lasts.

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