Finding the Discipline to Care for Yourself

When you get clean, your life is transformed, and you will no longer be the same. It is with intentional steps you can make the changes needed to live a healthier life. Everything starts with one step—one simple decision—to no longer live for another drink of alcohol. You have the power to make that choice. However, developing the discipline you need to say no to bad decisions and to say yes to the right ones is hard. The following are a few practical ways you can turn discipline into reality:

Focus on the Short-term First

If you focus too much on the long-term, it can be overwhelming. Your mental energy has a lot to do with discipline. It is just like a muscle, and if you overuse it, you will get exhausted. At those points it is harder to say no. Just make one good decision at a time. Each will build upon the other. This creates a domino effect in your life, and you will feel tremendous momentum. One good day of decisions can lead to another day of good decisions. This doesn’t just apply to your sobriety either. If you eat a healthy dinner, you are less likely to eat a gallon of ice cream for dessert, right? Do not worry about temptations that may come a week from now. Be intentional and aware enough to focus on the present. As the days go by, they eventually add up to weeks, months and years. And according to Harvard University, once the five-year sobriety mark passes, individuals who struggle with alcohol are much more likely to remain sober. However, you do not get to this point until you focus on each day.

Make It Easy to Say Yes

Who you surround yourself with and what you surround yourself with plays a critical role in how you feel. When you spend time with a negative person, you quickly find yourself complaining and negative too. This same principle applies to your recovery. If you hang out with others who drink, you will wear down your mental energy and be less disciplined. If you spend your time with others who do not drink and instead take their health seriously, you will too. Good habits form when you are rewarded for good behavior. The line between habits and discipline is actually very thin. There are a lot of similarities between the two. As you repeat good behavior, you learn and grow and develop your discipline.

You already know how to be disciplined. Simple habits, such as brushing your teeth each day, are a form of discipline. When you do what is required to get the result you want, that is really a good working definition of discipline. asks, “Can you make yourself do something you don’t want to do in order to get a result you really want?” If so, this is discipline. Athletes train very hard in the off-season and practice many hours in preparation for the time spent on the field. While in recovery as an alcoholic, you will have to do things you do not want to do at times in order to stay sober. That may mean saying no to a party or not going to a tailgating event before a football game. But these steps are required in order to help you live a healthy sober life.

Give Yourself a Purpose for Being Disciplined

Discipline has to have a purpose for it to last. You need to focus on the reason you are not drinking. You could call this a goal, but in reality, this is even bigger than a goal. This is really the fuel for why you choose not to drink. The more reasons you have for motivation, the better. Some common reasons to live a sober life include leaving a positive impact on the world, being a good parent, having a great relationship with your spouse and also being a good friend. You matter, and you can really have impact that is much bigger than you think. Pursue things you love and enjoy, and then structure your life around that. Once you start to feel better and get both physically and emotionally healthy, you will start to have much better perspective as well.

Get Some Help to Hold Yourself Accountable

Surround yourself with encouraging individuals to lift you up and encourage you for the times you fall. Please know you can live a healthy sober life, but you will not be able to avoid temptation all of the time. This is why having a great support network is so helpful in your recovery. Support is essential to growth.

If you need someone to talk with about getting more structure or discipline in your life, look no further than our 24 hour, toll-free helpline. There is a trained counselor available to help you if you just pick up the phone and call now. The person you will speak with is trained to help you with addiction and recovery, so you can get the helpful information you need.

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