I recently read a book called The Power Of Habit by Charles Duhigg.
It was a great book and I recommend that everyone who is interested in success and self-improvement give it a read, but as usual, I translated a lot of what the book said into my own recovery.
It occurred to me that a lot of my own recovery has had to do with forming habits and creating patterns in my life that would snowball into a transformation of myself. I can only speak on my own experience but I am sure there are thousands of recovered addicts and alcoholics who can attest to the same transformations.
So I thought about it, and I reflected on some of the best habits I have built and how they have kept me on the straight path of sobriety.
I think this guy said it best…
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
1 – Make My Bed Every Morning
They told me to do this in rehab and I have been doing it ever since. In treatment I hated it. The rebel in me automatically associated it with a form of power and imprisonment. For some reason when I got home from rehab, I continued to make my bed in the morning. Over the years, I have understood the benefits more and more.
Every morning, before my day even starts, I achieve my first little victory of the day. It teaches me discipline, and keeps me accountable. If I have the discipline to do something every morning as best as I can, that translates to so many other aspects of my life.
Before I leave the house, I have my first accomplishment of the day.
The best part is, that when I go to bed at night, I get to climb into a comfortable well made bed. I am preparing for the night, and every morning making my bed plays a role in making my nights just a little bit better.
Make your bed folks. Even if you think it is stupid, it will change your life.
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2 – Late Night Walks
My late night walks are more than a way for me to get some exercise, it really is a form of meditation.
Life is busy and stressful. Everyone has shit to deal with. We all have financial stress, relationship problems and family problems. My late night walks are just a way for me to clear my head and meditate.
I put on some meditation music in my headphones, I look up at the moon and the sky and I remind myself how little all of my problems are in context to the grand scheme of things. As long as I stay sober, everything will be okay.
3 – Calling My Sponsor
At this point, my sponsor has become more of a mentor to me. I could not have gotten sober without him, but our relationship has evolved to something that is bigger than just sobriety.
We talk shop, talk about our relationships, talk about what projects we are working on. Sometimes, we don’t have much to talk about at all.
But I call him anyway.
I have always had a prevalence towards isolation and depression. If it were up to me, I would sit in a room by myself and I would avoid human interaction as much as possible. Thankfully, I have my sponsor to keep me accountable and to remind me that my fear of people is just an illusion and that we all need love and connection.
The little conversations, every day, is what has added up to our full and meaningful relationship. It’s not the big philosophical talks, it’s not the bonding experiences such as his wedding, it’s the everyday small talk that has built our bond. It is a habit I am grateful to have.
4 – Making My Lists At Night
The longer I have been sober, the more I value and appreciate time.
When you’re a kid you don’t get it. Your parents and grandparents tell you that time will go by in a blink, but you don’t listen. How could you? When you are young you don’t understand that one day, this will all be over.
For this reason I try to really make the most of my time. Time management has always been a struggle for me. I can easily lose focus and when I do I spend more time moving around than I do actually working. It all comes back to that damn D word – Discipline.
Every night I try to come in and plan out the next day. Sometimes I do this well, sometimes I go days or even weeks forgetting to do it. The days that I plan out go so much smoother for me, especially when I make a habit of doing it day after day, and getting it on paper.
After a week or so of consistency, I feel sharp, I feel focused and I don’t feel distracted. I am kept away from resentments and I am of better service to those around me.
Consistency Is The Key
It seems obvious, but it is very easy to slip on this. I myself have fallen away from making my nightly lists, even though I know it will help me greatly.
No one is perfect and I am not expecting you to become robots. I believe that these habits will help you stay sober and improve your life, much in the same way they have helped me.
I will always practice what I preach so from this point forward I am committing to getting back into my nightly lists.
What about you? What can you commit to? What is a daily habit that you know will help you in your sobriety? Let me know if the comments so that we can help each other on this path of recovery!
Also, what other habits have you done that you might recommend to someone else? Don’t forget to let us know in the comments section. 🙂