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It’s true that many of us have very poor self-discipline in addiction. I slept in until noon, called into work regularly (when I actually had a job), stayed up late partying, and didn’t really do anything that didn’t involve getting or using drugs. I really didn’t care about anything else. The few times I tried to stop using on my own, nothing really changed except I didn’t do drugs. I still stayed up late, slept in until I felt like getting up, and spent most days watching TV on the couch. Needless to say, I did not stay off drugs for very long.

One of the reasons that people who go to treatment and then a sober house have a better chance at lasting recovery is that are forced to change their habits and behaviors. Treatment centers are normally very strict. They tell you what to do and when to do it on a daily basis. Sounds rough, but actually it’s kind of a relief in early sobriety to have someone else calling the shots. When I came into treatment, I was withdrawing and half out of my mind. I needed someone to give me a schedule, tell me where to be, and drive me where I needed to go.

Even out of treatment, in the relative freedom of the sober house, I still couldn’t resort to my old addict behavior. I had to get out of bed and clean the house in the morning, get a job, and go to a meeting every day. This discipline in recovery, especially early recovery, was invaluable to me. I stayed in the halfway house until I could do these things without being told.

It’s no longer a struggle for me to have discipline in recovery. Part of the benefits of the spiritual awakening I attained through working the 12-steps is that I became a responsible member of society. I am accountable today and I look for ways I can be helpful in every situation. I no longer act out of self-seeking or self-will.

What’s amazing is that these changes came about almost without me realizing. I attained discipline in recovery as almost a side-effect to working 12-steps. It is not a daily battle of wills for me to stay off drugs and be a decent, hard-working human being. As long as I continue to work a strong spiritual program, everything else in my life falls into place.

Honestly, if my sobriety depended on my own self-discipline, I would be high right now. I’ve tried abstinence and staying off drugs through my own willpower, and I failed miserably. What’s more is I was miserable while doing it. While I think that discipline in recovery is important, it shouldn’t be a daily struggle after working 12-steps. But that only applies if you are practicing spiritual principles in all your affairs.

If you or someone you know needs drug or alcohol treatment, call us at 800-951-6135 or visit us online at

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