The Importance of Self-Discipline in Addiction Recovery
Finding true happiness in life it usually requires effort and persistence. This means that people need to have a bit of self-discipline if they want to succeed. Those things that come too easily tend not to be so satisfying. It could be claimed that substance abuse is an attempt to bypass the need for self-discipline. The problem is that this form of instant gratification provided by chemicals later involves an enormous price. Falling into addiction could easily cost the individual everything they possess, including their health and sanity.
When people escape addiction they will benefit greatly from developing self-discipline. This inner resource will give them the strength to deal with challenges and build a new life. It is something that can be learnt and developed over time. Failure to develop self-discipline could mean that life away from addiction will be dissatisfying. There really is no shortcut to success in life.
The term self-discipline means different things to different people. Some individuals view it as the ability to put up with a great deal of difficulty in life. They may have a mental image of people who live a hermitic existence where they deliberately make their life difficult. In reality, self-discipline is not about self-abuse. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Self-discipline is the willingness to put some limitations on behavior in order to gain something or make life better. For example, a person who is out of shape and overweight does not dedicate themselves to a fitness regime in order to punish themselves. They do so out of a desire to enjoy being healthy again.
The Benefits of Self-Discipline
Mental strength is a valuable asset. These are some of the benefits of this self-discipline:
* People with self-discipline are able to continue working on a project even when it becomes boring and difficult. Most things worth doing involve low periods so the ability to work through them greatly increases a person’s chances of finding success.
* People with this type of inner resource do not need somebody else to push them all the time. They are self-motivating, and this is beneficial if they ever decide to start up their own business or work in any type of freelance career.
* Such individual will be far better able to handle failure or setbacks. They know that they will have the inner attributes to rebuild their life. If something bad happens, such as losing their job, they will find it easier to get back on track.
* The ability to stick at things and see them through to the end helps boost people’s self confidence. Such individuals know that if they want to achieve something, they have the inner resources to make it happen.
* Individuals with self-discipline tend to be much better at keeping their body weight at a healthy level and generally staying in shape.
* People with a high degree of self-discipline may be far less likely to fall into addiction or other maladaptive behaviors. However, it would probably be wrong to suggest that addiction is simply a matter of self-discipline.
* If the individual wishes to further their education, they will need to be diligent enough to do the work required.
* Those individuals who struggle with self-discipline find it hard to delay gratification. This means that they tend to deal with much more unhappiness in life than those individuals who are better able to delay gratification. The most rewarding things in life tend to require patience.
* Rewarding activities such as martial arts, yoga, meditation, exercise, running and learning to play a musical instrument all require self-discipline.
The Benefits of Self-Discipline in Recovery
Self-discipline can greatly increase people’s ability to achieve success when recovering from an addiction. Maintaining sobriety usually requires the individual to face different life challenges Failure to deal with one of these challenges can cause people to become stuck in recovery, and this is dangerous. Overcoming each challenge allows them to develop and grow. Self-discipline will ensure that they have the tenacity to keep on dealing with whatever life sends their way.
It is no longer accepted that addiction is simply a matter of poor willpower. There are complex reasons for why an individual can fall into this type of destructive behavior. Some of these factors may be beyond people’s control. While self-discipline might not be the key to beating addiction, it can certainly be an important factor in recovery. Most addicts suffer from low self-esteem, but one way to overcome this is by setting goals and achieving them. Self-discipline of the type learned by exercising or studying yoga is a powerful tool for building self-esteem.
One of the characteristics associated with the addictive personality is the inability to delay gratification. Such individuals are not prepared to wait for good things in life. They desire benefits right away. This means that they become willing to cut corners and will have a tendency to look for short-cuts. It is this desire to cheat the system in order to get instant gratification that often draws people to the quick fix of substance abuse in the first place. People who have self-discipline find it easier to delay gratification because they know that the end result will be worth the wait.
How to Develop Self-Discipline
People can develop self-discipline over time. It is a skill and not something special that only certain people get to benefit from. These are some of the techniques people can use to develop self-discipline:
* Self-discipline becomes a habit, so the real challenge is reaching the stage where it becomes second nature. One way of doing this is by developing a system of rewards and punishments. The individual will set themselves realistic goals, and they get a reward if they manage to accomplish the task. If they fail to achieve the task, then they will need to pay some type of forfeit. Some people respond better to rewards, while others respond better to punishments.
* Attending classes in yoga, martial arts, or mediation can greatly increase self-discipline. In fact, almost any activity can be of value when trying to develop this personal attribute.
* If people have a goal that they truly wish to achieve, they will be more likely to put the necessary work in. Sometimes people lack the discipline to see a project through because they did not really want it to begin with. This is often the case with goals that originated from the thought should. Those individuals who think I want to lose weight rather than I should lose weight will be more likely to be successful. Those with a high degree of self-discipline tend to become better at achieving goals that they are not so enthusiastic about. When developing this personal attribute it is best to stick to goals that are desirable.
* The individual can begin to build self-discipline slowly at first. They might set themselves some simple goals and then work towards these. As they accomplish more goals, they can set themselves harder challenges. They then begin to see how rewarding self-discipline can be, and it just becomes something they naturally feel inclined to do.
* People are strongly influenced by their peers. It is therefore advisable for people trying to develop self-discipline to spend time with those who have already managed to develop this attribute. In Alcoholics Anonymous, they talk about, sticking with the winners, because these are the people who inspire others. Positive role models can benefit adults as well as children. It can also be helpful to read biographies about people who have successfully benefited from self-discipline in their own life.
* In order to become self-disciplined the individual needs to become better at thinking about the long-term impact of their actions. This does not mean that they should always be trying to live in the future. Instead, they must consider how a few sacrifices now could greatly benefit them later.
* Keeping a journal can be a great help for people who wish to develop self-discipline. It will allow them to chart their progress as they work to develop this personal asset. Just writing things down seems to make people feel more accountable and therefore more likely to work towards completing a goal.
* If people are dealing with low self-esteem, they may be tempted to use their attempts at developing self-discipline as a means of beating themselves up. This should not become an exercise in feeling guilty. Nobody is perfect. Even those individuals who are highly respected for their ability to get things done have their bad days.