Staying Sober & Self-Discipline
Self-discipline is arguably the most important quality a person can possess. Those that have it can achieve great things in various aspects of life. Those that don’t struggle along a rocky path that often leads in circles.
Whether your goal is to lose weight, eat healthier, make more money, strengthen personal relationships, or free yourself from the shackles of substance abuse, the only way to achieve long-term and sustainable success is through self-discipline.
As can be expected, self-control and self-discipline are intertwined. While self-control relates more to the immediate future, self-discipline makes its impact over time. The two qualities work in tandem. According to researchers at the University of Chicago, people with self-control are a lot happier.
That alone is reason enough to want to be more disciplined.
As it turns out, the ability to strip a situation of its emotional weight correlates to healthy decision making. People with this quality tend to make more rational decisions that are less influenced by stress or other external factors. In other words, their resolve to fulfill the promises they make to themselves don’t waver with the weather.
So how do you learn self-discipline?
Through practice and repetition. The answer is simple but the journey is not. The good news is that discipline is a learned behavior. It can be strengthened over time.
For those in recovery from drug addiction, alcoholism, or any other substance abuse disorder, cultivating self-discipline is a mandatory piece of the puzzle. Doing so will help you live a happier, healthier, and more fulfilling life. You will develop the resolve to stay sober even when circumstances are stressful.
This is true power. The power to be your own master.
Tips for Cultivating Self-Discipline (in Recovery)
The first thing you need to do when making the commitment to stay sober is to remove temptations from your life. The best way to resist temptation is to stay the hell away from it. This may mean falling out with old friends, not going to old hangouts, and eliminating peripheral habits that lead to temptation.
So be it. Life demands constant realignment and readjustment. In order to be the best version of yourself, you need to surround yourself with people, places, and activities that inspire and enable you to be your best.
Eating provides many opportunities for good and bad decisions. Additionally, it’s something we all have to do multiple times a day. It’s not uncommon for people with substance abuse disorders to struggle with self-care – often neglecting meals and making unhealthy eating choices.
While in the early stages of recovery, make a commitment to yourself to regularly nourish your body with nutritious foods. Healthy eating and staying sober are connected. When blood sugar is low, it becomes easy to make bad decisions. We get cranky. Impatient. Even hangry. By approaching mealtime as an opportunity to practice self-discipline, you will cultivate an inner strength that you may never have known was possible.
Embrace the Wrong
Doing what “feels right” is important – as long as what “feels right” is right. When you’re addicted to drugs or alcohol, it “feels right” to feed the addiction. Early on in your journey to stay sober, doing what’s right often feels wrong. This is because your brain is wired to run on habit. It makes no distinction between a healthy behavior and an unhealthy one.
For this reason, you must learn to embrace the wrong in early recovery. If you’re implementing new behaviors and eliminating old ones, it will most definitely be uncomfortable at first. This is normal. Stay the course. Practice self-discipline by allowing yourself the necessary time to build new habits so that you can reprogram your brain as to what “feels right”.
It is important not to confuse self-discipline with perfection. Allow yourself a margin of error. Fundamentalist perfectionism can be inhibiting. The goal is to be healthy, happy, and sober. Relieve yourself of the pressure to change everything at once – and realize that the reality of progress is that it is often two-steps forward, one-step back.
Reward yourself for your efforts and successes. If you’re focusing on eating healthy, allow yourself a cheat day from time to time. The last thing you want to do when developing a stronger sense of self-discipline is to fall off the wagon because you’re demanding too much of yourself. Make measurable goals, and systematically achieve them. Check out our recommended reading list of Books to Better Yourself for some great inspiration for how to approach goal setting and self-development.
One of the hardest (and most necessary) things to do is to forgive ourselves and move forward. Carrying guilt, frustration, and regret is excess baggage that keeps us grounded in our deepest pains and failures. This is not an ideal mindset for cultivating self-discipline while staying sober.
Make a conscious effort to forgive yourself for all the pain you’ve caused yourself. It’s easy to look outside of ourselves when it comes to laying blame. But when we’re being honest with ourselves, true forgiveness, even of others, comes by beginning with ourselves.
Who is NRhythm?
NRhythm is a sober living community in Nashville, TN. We seek to provide men recovering from substance abuse with the resources and support to overcome addiction. Our sober living program is specifically designed for men who desire to live their best lives.
Contact us today to become a member of the NRhythm family and take sober living to the next level.