154: Spiritual Principle – Self-Discipline (Sort Of)

We explore the spiritual principle of self-discipline. Is self-discipline different than self-control? Are both of these also different than willpower? What actually is self-discipline? How does it work? Do we train ourselves to get better at sticking to a plan? Do we actively find ways to calm our nervous system over time so that we are more capable of sticking to a set routine or schedule? Can you increase self-discipline and how? We talk all about how self-discipline can help you in life, where it comes from, and what we believe can help you develop more of it. Listen in and share your thoughts with us!

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Email: RecoverySortOf@gmail.com

Episodes mentioned:

Polyvagal Theory


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recovery sort of is a podcast where we discuss recovery topics from the perspective of people living in long-term recovery this podcast does not intend to represent the views of any particular group organization or Fellowship the attitudes expressed are solely the opinion of its contributors be advised there may be strong language or topics of an adult nature

welcome back it’s recovery sort of I am Jason a guy who is so self-disciplined we still record this podcast and I’m Billy I’m a person in long-term recovery and we’re going to talk about the spiritual principle of self-discipline which I can already tell you I probably do not believe in because it just seems weird and I think you made a good point about like self so spiritual principles to me are like kind of like god-given or Universe given tools it’s almost like we draw on this worldly energy in order to be able to do them and I guess uh you know looking at your face right now I’m like yeah that’s not Billy’s beliefs but now I’m just trying to follow along with you yeah so like you know if I if I want more humility you know I send that message out to the world whether that’s praying for it or whether you know I think your version is more like the prayer puts the intention out into your mind more often so you see the opportunities to practice it more I think that’s yeah yeah okay so yeah so they’re kind of like these things that we have to ask for in some way shape or form if that’s tricking our brains or if that’s because there’s God whatever but like self-discipline literally has the word self in it as if it’s something I have to train my body or brain to do for me and that does not sound like the same as the rest of them yeah I it’s difficult to look at self-discipline as a spiritual principle you know I and I I was reading a little bit about it and I I guess the idea that seemed to work best for me as far as incorporating it in is a spiritual principle is that the way they described it in this reading was it’s like a culmination of some other spiritual principles give us self-discipline so like once we have like uh developed our morality once we’re practicing honesty and trust and integrity you know those all those together culminate into a person that is self-disciplined because we’re not just running on impulses we’re not just acting any old way that we want you know we can refrain from Reckless or dangerous Behavior so in that I could kind of see like okay I it’s like that self-discipline is a culmination of practicing a bunch of other spiritual principles well that makes sense I guess yeah I don’t I tell you the first problem I had so I went to look up for it and I was looking for like you know I’m always trying to find the science behind it like what does science tell us is there research that says that this is actually a thing or you can improve it or anything and I I struggle to find that because even in the initial like searching for that kind of research there is a huge gap between people’s definitions of self-discipline self-control and willpower and like trying to figure out if if they’re the same if they’re different gosh I never even thought of that yes and that’s exactly what came up in the search I was like [  ] like what’s the difference between right or self-control like is that this I don’t and so I got a whole lot of different versions of that so maybe that’s just where we end up at like trying to figure out if self-discipline is even different than these other things and if it is how huh yeah that’s interesting I hadn’t thought much about that so that’s a whole new idea now that’s rattling around in my break so well maybe going through some of these different um takes on it will help us kind of explore it more so the original definition of self-discipline if you just go to the dictionary is the ability to control one’s feelings and overcome one’s weaknesses also the ability to pursue what one thinks is Right despite Temptations to abandon it so this would I guess you know I feel like the easiest example is like the the nutrition plan diet kind of idea right like my plan is that I want to get a little healthier for my life and so I go home and I have the options of salad or chocolate which one am I you know what I mean like avoiding the chocolate is the self-discipline of like I can put off the temptation of chocolate because I have a goal in mind yeah I mean yeah that’s the way I look at most of those like the gym or eating or you know Financial stuff like that’s where that concept comes up the most I guess not talking to the female that’s not your wife she hopes that something arises right right like just this idea of just avoiding Temptation or not having the overwhelming Obsession to give in to Temptation I guess yeah and I guess I’m trying to think back now and I guess in my active using face like that I felt like if I thought that [  ] I owed it to myself to do it you know what I mean like if I if I was dating someone and I saw another girl that I liked it wasn’t like oh I’m in a relationship it was like she might be the one I might be with this wrong one over here and she might be the one or it would just be well this one’s here now and this could be a lot of fun so I’m just gonna do that and we’ll see what happens I mean wouldn’t Jen’s like a hippie isn’t there a song about that isn’t she into that Love the One You’re With or something like she’ll be all right um now yeah I I I’m thinking back you saying in your active addiction and I’m like [  ] am I active recovery of this part of my life like got it and and I really think I remember my my therapist with like I guess it was nine or ten years clean and her telling me you know because I would get these obsessions to to whatever it was you know and she would say what do you think’s gonna really happen if you don’t do you think you’re gonna die and I know that sounds ridiculous to the rational mind because obviously I was not gonna die if I didn’t send a text message or something like that but it felt like that in my body yeah and it was the practice of like her kind of challenging me of like do you really think you’re gonna die [  ] right like it I was like oh no I’m definitely not gonna die I’m gonna do this yeah maybe not that I would die but that that could be like the opportunity or thing that my [  ] life had been waiting for up to that moment right and I miss it yes yeah no job that girl that com whatever thing that it was that you know it was like this is the thing that’s gonna make me finally happier whole or fulfilled or whatever yeah no I’m with you and that was actually the beginning of my practice of meditation was like I need to find a way to sit still with this obsessive compulsive idea that I am just gonna run with whatever thought comes to mind that feels good um so yeah so that was the the self-discipline so I think we’re kind of like yeah okay that makes sense but how how is that definition different from willpower yeah that’s where I I’m a little stuck well okay so I kind of do like so another definition willpower definition is control exerted to do something or restrain impulses so it’s almost like to me if I had to try to separate these self-discipline is the the overall practice of like doing the thing that is going to be good for me later versus what feels good now and willpower is like the actual resource or energy I use in the moment right yeah right that’s like a draw on Willpower to maintain my self-discipline or something but then self-control comes in and it [  ] me off so self-control the ability to control oneself in particular one’s emotions and desires or the expression of them in one’s Behavior especially in difficult situations that sounds exactly like self-discipline yeah there’s do sound the same to me I would say I I mean to me personally I would use them interchangeably self-control or self-discipline self-discipline just sounds tougher sounds more like programmed yeah you know I mean self-control just sounds like some [  ] you did on your own self-discipline sounds like you were either in the military or you went to a British Convent for a while or like you were literally in somewhere that taught you this huh so a couple of the the different websites that decide to differentiate what I was thinking that you’re self-discipline in martial arts a lot yeah yeah I was thinking it’s like you have to go somewhere and study for a year to get self-discipline somebody with a robes got to teach you yeah so on the Forbes website which I’m not a huge fan of Forbes not because I hate Forbes or anything but just because a lot of times when I try to read their articles they tell me I can’t so it gets on my nerves okay you gotta pay yeah um it’s better yeah they say self-control and willpower are different self-control refers to managing your behavior to achieve goals improve positive outcomes and avoid negative consequences whereas willpower is the ability to resist short-term Temptations and desires to achieve long-term goals I I feel like even though they say they’re different they still have to both be present in order for either of them to work yeah they gotta they work together or something like or like willpower might work without self-discipline but that’s the guy that comes in gets 24 days and then goes back out every time like he can do the willpower for a short amount of time for once or twice yeah but can’t sustain it yeah self-discipline sounds more self like sustainable sustaining it yeah yeah so this other uh website we just sustained willpower that’s self-discipline done all right see y’all next week uh so another another separation that I found was willpower is a rather sudden and momentary burst of focused energy whereas self-discipline is structured well thought out and consistent so willpower in the moment is more tangible and seemingly more powerful but the reality would be that self-disciplined dwarfs willpower because it’s a long-term event I guess hmm yeah okay yeah I mean I think that falls more in line with what you were saying like will powers a piece needed for self-discipline that’s I mean it seems to fit into that for me yeah I don’t know it’s just such an interesting thing but anyway uh I didn’t I didn’t get much past that because I couldn’t figure out the [  ] words and or the science I I do believe what I’ve looked up uh kind of is in line with what I think is that self-discipline can’t really be scientifically proven to be a thing and they’re not like the scales they’ve created to measure it they’ve tried them again in different ways and it basically doesn’t work so they’re like okay we’re not measuring self-discipline anymore we don’t know what this [  ] measurement was we measured something and it correlated with good outcomes in life because that’s what they found originally was people who report having great self-discipline turn out to [  ] get further in the way we look at Social success yeah and I guess so now I’m trying to work through the whole like the the spiritual principle thing and how self-discipline fits into all that and I guess if I were to think of how I look at self-discipline you know as a principle or spiritual principle to live by like I go back to okay all these things for me are like tools that we have available to deal with life and life circumstances and situations right so if I’m angry you know obviously I can try to practice tolerance or patience or you know whatever maybe kindness whatever it is that I I think might help me in that time of being caught up in my anger or I can insult you or call you names or you know punch you like those are all actions I can take too you know and trying to figure out all right which one do I wanna do in this moment um I’m I don’t believe I’m as a human being we are just stuck doing whatever our first impulse is I mean my first impulse a lot of times is to want to hurt people you know just that’s the first like you made me mad you cut me off in traffic I want to take my car and Bash it into the back of your car you know now I know like oh wait a minute we don’t do that because we like our life and we like our car and there’s consequences that come along with that so I guess that’s a long way to get to that’s how a lot of these principles apply as well like self-discipline what that means for me is when I’m in a moment of wanting to do something that goes against my morals and values I’m not just innately subject to whatever the inner voice in my head tells me I must do in that moment like I have some ability to not do a thing that’s going to cause me harm or cause harm to someone else and for anybody that wants to cause harm to someone else make sure you back into them because you don’t want to [  ] your engine up it’s a lot cheaper they can’t get away yeah you’re right you can you can fix the trunk way cheaper it’s just body work so don’t ever hit him with the front of your car just say um so yeah and I buy into that I guess the the problem for me comes up with you know going back I feel like we do this every [  ] episode almost going back to the poly Bagel Theory episode right if we take the nervous system into account and the nervous system reaction triggers a memory from 20 years ago that you know about or don’t know about and it hits your limbic system in your brain and sets off the survival alarms because the limbic system has no sense of time it doesn’t know that you’re an adult now and way bigger and can protect yourself and that shit’s not the same anymore so it just reacts the same way just like it would for somebody who was in Vietnam and they’re you know they hear backfire and they’re hiding between cars trying to duck bullets like it’s that same thing there’s no time frame in the survival brain so it doesn’t know you’re like 20 years later and that situation doesn’t exist anymore so it’s triggered and it’s gonna do whatever it does because it doesn’t have access to higher level thinking at that point you don’t have the ability to say ah I’m gonna do self-discipline here in patience because those seem better yeah I mean I follow all that I want to say somewhat because I agree with that I would say at least when I think of self-discipline it’s not typically in those type of survival skills like the guy that hears the backfire noise you know I’m not going to say well you just need more self-discipline like that would help you not react to that like no that’s not there’s something different going on there when I think of self-discipline like say it’s usually things centered around self-gratification or instant gratification or self-fulfillment or you know doing things that I know aren’t good for me or aren’t good for my family or aren’t good for maybe people around me but then I’m doing them anyway because whatever motivation is there feels good I need it that way so I guess that’s where I look at that a little differently I don’t typically put self-discipline into this category of like a survival technique but I I feel like so when you describe the the car situation to me somebody driving fast and recklessly and cutting me off throws me right into a survival anxiety fight or flight state right so I was picturing that one I guess but even yeah even in a lot of these other ones that I think are day to day where maybe we wouldn’t say so much of a survival situation for instance the the lady in the red dress right that we see off to the side that makes us think about you know possibly uh leaving our spouse or or you know going behind our spouses back maybe that situation isn’t creating a survival response in itself but I feel like at least from the way I’m starting to view people more and more I think people are spending 60 70 80 90 percent of their day in survival response already so if you’re already there how much better does the girl in the red dress look as a relieving coping skill you know what I mean so it’s not so much like is this triggering the survival State that’s going to make me do it but it’s more I don’t have access to this more mature part of my brain anyway throughout most of my day because I’m just reacting to everything through survival yeah that’s I I would think for myself that’s why this concept of self-discipline comes up later in the steps because I’ve hopefully done a lot of work to address a lot of my Character defects hopefully I’ve done you know fourth and fifth step to deal with some of my history and and some of my past you know harms and traumas I’ve done an eighth and ninth step so hopefully I’ve looked at some harms that I’ve caused hopefully dealt with some of my guilt and shame you know so I agree with you that that’s where a lot of people are I would also agree that’s why we lack so much self-discipline in our you know day-to-day living is that we haven’t sort of worked up to that skill um like say that that rating really made the most sense to me is like self-discipline is a culmination of a bunch of other things I’ve already done a bunch of work to figure out all right what are my morals and values maybe my physical health is important to me so I have some decision that I can make then if my physical health is important to me but if I don’t give a [  ] about my physical health then I don’t care what I eat I don’t care what kind of exercise I do I don’t care how many cigarettes I smoke you know because I have I don’t have that concept or or that value built into me yet and that process of Step work has led me to figure out okay these are some of my values these are some of the things I want to do in my life this is the kind of person I want to be you know I want to be a committed husband I want to be a committed father I want to you know be a have a nice stable family and home life that means I’m home a lot I give up opportunities to go hang out with friends or date other women or you know spend my money in Las Vegas gambling on Sports like you know so I’ve decided like okay these are my values so I’m not just going to act on whatever impulse or desire calls me at the moment I guess a lot of what I do in here is trying to take my new or newer our understandings of what I’ve learned through schooling to do therapy what I’ve learned through the process of going to trainings for therapy what I learned through just interacting with [  ] 25 people each week and like trying to learn more about them I’m trying to take these ideas that I feel like are are pretty researched or at least you know long-standing ideas that have worked in the therapy field and apply them to the 12-step recovery model and see if it holds up I guess that’s what I’m trying to do a lot of times on this show and what it feels like for me so I’m thinking of like well what has helped me so in that survival brain God I feel like I’m going 12 different places sorry so ADHD right there’s a belief that there’s a part of the brain the orbital frontal cortex which has something to do with you seeing but also in your your ability to switch between what’s important or priority in your life so in people with ADHD the research says that it doesn’t mature the normal way it would we’re assuming that’s because of not a stable family environment right the aces that we talked about on that one episode but maybe it’s not maybe it’s genetic who knows right but either way the idea is they’re part of the brain the orbital frontal cortex doesn’t have the ability to do what most of ours does right so normally like if you were sitting here honestly you’re taking in the way your pants feel against your legs the way your socks and shoes feel against your feet like you can if you sit and think you can probably feel your shoulders uh your shirt like hanging on your shoulders like you can feel all these things but the orbital frontal cortex is the piece that says that’s not relevant for what you’re doing right now you can ignore it and for ADHD people it doesn’t have that ability to do that it just goes with whatever looks shiny and fun in the moment right and so thinking about that I I guess one of the things that can help to mature obviously stable safe environment is part of what we need just to grow healthily right even as an adult when we’re trying to heal we need this stable safe environment and we need a way to start practicing having our body be uncomfortable in ways it hadn’t before right not extremely uncomfortable we don’t want to go out to the the extremes where we’re being traumatized again but just a little right we want to slowly increase what they call the window of Tolerance and so meditation would be a practice that would do this and I’m picturing the 12-step process is probably a process that can possibly assist in this getting to a calmer level brain that doesn’t need to react to these triggering responses you’re talking about or doesn’t need to react in ways we used to so you can think through to the end like I want the stable family home I’m not going to do these things in the in term that’ll mess that up but what I’m wondering right now is is the 12-step model a model that can work and just happens to for some people kind of like a treatment for cancer just happens to sort of work for some DNA people and not other DNA people and maybe that’s what it is it’s not that the 12 Steps necessarily can’t help you in that process of calming your body and getting there but maybe you know and and the research of how many people it’s effective for is so [  ] crazy right somewhere between three and fifty percent or whatever but maybe those three and fifty percent that it’s working for maybe we’re holding it and kind of lording it over other people like God damn it you just gotta do it like we did and not respecting like oh this only works for a percentage of people like other people gotta do it differently or their body will never be in that calm state to be able to do these other things so that’s kind of fascinating for me I was gonna say yes that there’s a lot there and a couple things with the addiction in general I think a lot of people that end up in addiction have other mental health issues along with that for I don’t know I want to say a large majority but for for some of them have never even really been addressed I mean to be honest I’ve never really been to like a therapist I mean I’ve been to a therapist recently it’s been the first time I’ve ever went to like a individual therapist I’ve been to some therapists at counseling like or at treatment but never like a long-term relationship with a therapist or a psychiatrist to actually be diagnosed with any mental health condition right so I probably could have a mental health condition I don’t [  ] know um never spent the time to bother to learn and I imagine that’s most addicts you know what I mean like I did a bunch of drugs I stopped doing drugs I go to this 12-step thing and now that’s all I need like I’m good well I mean in in general this is so much better than that that it’s hard to think there’s better who would know but if so there are going to be some people that just because of their mental disabilities or whatever mental condition they may have just don’t have the ability to do some of these things the other issue can I respond to that one first I just I guess I look at that different so when we talk about like co-occurring disease or or you know dual addicted or any of those kind of ideas like I don’t picture addiction being this separate thing like Oh Billy you’ve got addiction and anxiety or you’ve got substance use disorder and anxiety I the way I picture it in my head is oh you got some [  ] up feelings in your body whether that’s anxiety whatever we want to call it and you used because of that so I I would say every person that’s had a problem with problematic drug use has something yeah because I don’t see you I agree yeah I I guess I was thinking more from the like you use the ADHD example like some people like there’s some chemistry going on in their brains that’s not where it needs to be and that’s the 12 steps are not going to fix that you know what I mean or something right you’re gonna need to see some sort of professional whether it’s to be on medication or some sort of additional trauma therapy or whatever like the 12 steps are never going to fix that for that we’re on the same page now okay the other thing is that the the 12-step process is very and I forget the word but it’s all like self-driven like it’s only the information that I put into that work is only as as deep as I want to go or as much as you know or able to and that’s a good example you know for me someone who’s been around 20 years and been through the steps you know and been through the steps with other people you know multiple people there are still things now I’m going back through the process now and I’m still writing things in my current fourth step that are similar like resentments with people that I thought that I had worked with that I thought that I was okay with that are still like relevant in my life now as I gain new information and learn new stuff about myself as we’ve both we both started listening to the same audiobook about trauma and that’s effects and so it’s like oh my gosh like I have some lingering effects from some of this traumatic stuff that happened to me as a kid and what I’ve done up to this point has been like yep that [  ] happened I’m good let’s roll and I haven’t really addressed some of that stuff right I imagine and not that I want to minimize my own trauma but I imagine if People’s trauma is severe enough or they haven’t went just deep enough to deal with it the 12-step process isn’t going to keep them from feeling that pain and going back you know making use in an appealing choice I mean I’ve always looked at it as it can work for anyone but maybe not by itself for one some other people may need some additional things and and everybody could probably benefit from additional things to be honest and it won’t work for everyone you know it can but it won’t for for some for different reasons it’s almost and I actually love the way you pointed all that out because I feel like I spent a lot of my recovery not acknowledging that other people might have it worse have had more trauma have had a more a larger reaction to that trauma like it was always this comparison of I did this you can just do that why the [  ] aren’t you and never like this belief that like oh maybe that’s too much for your [  ] nervous system right maybe it was all right for mine and it’s not for yours or so in general like yeah the 12 Steps it’s a it’s a Well laid out plan for self-reflection like it’s a great tool for that but if you can’t feel safe in your body it’s not gonna [  ] matter right and that’s kind of what I just heard you saying and I think that’s absolutely accurate like it’s it’s not anything bad about the 12 steps it’s just it might have more limitations than I’ve ever previously been willing to right see and I think that’s you know tying back into the self-discipline like I think self-discipline is almost the same thing like if I am just so much in pain or or so like suffering all the time giving in to impulses is that’s just what I’m gonna do you know what I mean like I’m just I’m gonna be like man [  ] it like I know I’m not supposed to do this but it feels good now and that’s what I need for this moment or I’m just gonna [  ] kill myself yes you know so I don’t know what episode we talked about it on but I remember uh sharing with you that idea of like the thought experiment of thinking through when suicide seemed like a rational choice and it’s that same idea like if your body feels you know I hate to use the word good and bad but it’s just the easiest ones that people get if you feel [  ] bad inside all the time pretty much you’re gonna seek relief in whatever way possible anything that brings Joy right right and I have people tell me this they’re like look food is the only [  ] Joy I get in my day and and they weigh a lot and they’re like I want to lose weight but how the [  ] do I give up the only thing that feels good and I’m like I’m not here to tell you to because I get it like that’s the last thing we want to do is stress your body or I think back to even having you know a couple of young kids I mean my kids are adults now and I sort of joke with people but it’s it’s true like the amount of Freedom that I have in my life now just because my kids are 2018 and 14 and they can like make their own food and they do their own laundry and they take care of their own rooms and they get to events they need to get to like all of a sudden that is unlocked a whole bunch of capabilities for me because I don’t have those demands you know ideas or demands I mean they’re my kids responsibility but it’s like I have all those other responsibilities just taking all my resources so I don’t have the resources to get up at five o’clock and go to the gym but now I do because I don’t have all those resources being spent so hey yeah [ __ ] it I can get up and go to the gym right so there are those things too like we have to look at our life situation and what what’s going on around us and try to work some of that out

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thank you

so I didn’t come up usually we kind of have a sort of list of like the pitfalls of not having this spiritual principle or the dangers that exist in your life when you don’t have it and the benefits of having it and the practices of getting to it like because mostly because I couldn’t figure out this whole self-discipline you know willpower self-control idea I couldn’t get to anything but I mean obviously I think that the drawback is obvious like if you can’t stop yourself from doing [  ] that doesn’t work out well for you you’re like that’s pretty evident how that’s not going to work for your life well and even a basic question to sort of look at and ask yourself is you know what do you think the drawbacks would be if you didn’t live by your own morals and values you know what because those are all those aren’t uh superficial things to me those are a lot of the reasons why I saw recovery in the first place is like by not living in accordance with my own morals and values I didn’t like myself you know what I mean I didn’t like the person that I was I had no self-worth I had no you know self-respect I I you know was lost because I thought you know I had something inside of me telling me I wanted to be one way but then the life I was living in my actions were a different way and so the only way I could reconcile that would just be high all the time because I was miserable and to me like that’s kind of a lack of self-discipline it’s like I have to figure out all right what are my morals and values what are the person that I want to be and then let’s try to you know put some things in place to get there so I remember when I you know said hey what do you think about doing a spiritual principle every month next year and in my head I had this idea that that was going to be like oh man we’re gonna tell people actual like legitimate concrete ways to practice these to get better and I feel like we have had next to zero ways to actually practice many of these I feel like you disagree because you’ve probably given away to practice it each time and I’m like I don’t know I believe that I guess I’ve looked at it as what is the benefit of trying to practice them because like okay so when you talk about self-discipline like I don’t know that there’s a a way specifically for me to improve my self-discipline other than to say hey look my physical health is important I’m getting to be older I don’t like getting up in the morning and like my back hurts and my [  ] that’s what motivated me to go to the gym through the process of recovery I’ve learned like hey you have a problem what do you want to do about it like do do you want to do nothing because that’s the thing I could say well that’s just a part of getting older and that’s who I am and or I could say no I want to change some things about myself and and try to be different and then once I can make those decisions then I can start to practice self-discipline but even in the practicing of it like I’m not perfect all the time like I don’t make it to the gym every day you know I make it probably at least four days a week some weeks five days a week but you know it’s like it’s it’s better than having none right I I think listening to you so far on this episode like if I was to say well how does Billy practice self-discipline I would be like well he pray practices patience and tolerance and some of the other ones you mentioned I’m like it’s almost felt like when you were talking about those earlier that self-discipline was like a a byproduct not really one that we went in full force ready to do not like I need to get more self-discipline it was like let me practice these other things and then self-discipline was the almost unintended result I mean it might be intended but yeah sometimes it’s intentional I mean sometimes it’s like oh this is a thing I want to do I can go into it going I know it’s going to take some some commitment you know but for me that’s the way all the principles like they all work together you know it’s like these couple over here and these couple over here you know help me to do this or that it’s you know figuring out like as a as a parent I just don’t go well I can just love and that makes me a good parent like no it takes some other things too it does take some patience and some kindness and maybe a little tolerance you know I wanted to argue that so bad but I think I agree you know and and that’s the way a lot like self-discipline like it’s not just like I can’t practice it by itself in a vacuum I mean I can I guess but I probably will struggle with it and it probably won’t have as much meaning if I’m not really concrete on the reasons why I’m doing what I’m doing or if I don’t have well-established morals and values to tell me what I want to do I’m like the Beatles said all we needed was love Billy it’s enough it’s enough God damn it no it’s a foundation it’s like building a house or you know building a pyramid like you build these other pieces in place in the beginning of our recovery like we just just stop using drugs that’s what I heard just stop [  ] using drugs come to some of these meetings you’ll figure it out and that’s the basis of self-discipline I mean that’s the that’s the first thing all right just don’t get high no matter what that’s self-discipline like I want to get high it [  ] feels good I think I won’t today that’s and it starts there and then as we build up and build up and build up we start realizing oh wait you mean I don’t have to gamble away all my money you know I don’t have to cheat on my relationships I don’t have to do these no you can practice not doing what feels good yeah it’s so hard especially when it feels so bad internally yeah but that’s why it does you know that’s why we don’t say you know and I I mean I’ve heard at least in 12-step meetings people don’t recommend that you come in and change a bunch of stuff all at once you know don’t come in and quit smoking cigarettes and start trying to eat well and start trying to do 20 things you know you get overwhelmed I feel like I’m failing at self-discipline because my goddamn knee and my lower back hurt and I have not I made a commitment on vacation this summer I was like I’m going home I’m making them doctor’s appointments I’m like getting the [  ] looked at it’s weird that like I still struggle with self-discipline none of these are things that I’m perfect at by any stretch [  ] coffee and caffeine is my Nemesis for any kind of self-discipline that I have I like to get up early I like to get up at five you know every morning so that I can fit in my other stuff in my morning routine I will drink coffee after like six six thirty and I know it doesn’t keep me from falling asleep but and I don’t know what the [  ] it is I will drink coffee and then I’ll go to bed at my normal time like 10 o’clock and then at like one o’clock in the morning I wake up and I’m like wide awake I’m like oh is it time to get up and I look at the clock I’m like [  ] the coffee nap I know that’s gonna happen I could I mean I could tell you it’s it’s gonna happen and yet Wednesday night at my home group I’m gonna get there and be like man [  ] it I’m gonna have a couple it’ll be fine I’ll deal with it you know I I usually get through it anyway I go back to sleep eventually eventually I go back to sleep and Thursdays aren’t that and then like Thursday because my home group’s on Wednesday Thursday every week I’m like why the [  ] did I do this again and it’s all just I want that cup of coffee I wouldn’t and I just haven’t been able to reconcile that you know and it’s something little and stupid but it’s like knowing that I shouldn’t do it knowing that it because what happens is then the next day I’m like irritable at work and I’m [  ] short with my co-workers and you know I’m not the person that I want to be in my life causes me to be somebody I don’t like so tell me this one okay so I got a similar problem but it’s a little different uh the last two nights I’ve had to get up early for different events One recording this yesterday it was my son’s soccer game and knowing I had to get up early I said I’m really gonna make sure I get to bed at a good time tonight and I did I mean I was like laying in my bed before 10 o’clock both nights and yet both nights because I went to bed so early instead of getting up with my alarm at 6 30 I’ve been up at five or five fifteen and I’m like this is because I went to bed so early so I was like almost too responsible for myself and I don’t know what to do with that like sometimes I can go back to bed other days I just get up and I’m like [  ] it I got extra time to myself and it doesn’t seem to negatively impact me too much but I’m like I wanted to sleep the whole eight hours that was the point of going to bed eight hours before I got up so what do you like how do I fix that like is that a lack of self-discipline do I it is in a way so there’s and there’s a bunch of nerdy information on this oh weird podcast I like called the huberman lab he’s like a neuroscientist from I think Stanford or Harvard or anyway and they go into the real Neuroscience behind a lot of that stuff and sleep is one that he spends a lot of times talk a lot about sleep and our patterns of sleep and like if you wanna if you have a late night on Saturdays and Sundays there’s like almost like a protocol that you need to do for Monday to get yourself back into your circadian rhythm and it’s all the sciencey nerdy [  ] that you would probably love because it’s all based in you know your brain [  ] and how your brain reacts to stuff I would be so locked into like oh I have to eat carrots at 7 58 on Sundays to make this work I would get so black and white without it but it’s all you know like your your circadian rhythm is a thing that is likes to be consistent it like consistency I want you to go to sleep at the same time and get up at the same time and if you start trying to monkey that around it it throws it off like it doesn’t know what to do so it’s either going to try to get up at the same time or it’s going to try to you know that thing is stupid right if I give myself eight hours to sleep I should get all goddamn eight hours of it that was the point of being responsible you could suck down some melatonin or make sure you shut out every light in the room but me it’s TV I like I’ll sit up at night I don’t watch a lot of TV but usually it’s like by the end of the night I get in bed I’ll turn on the TV and usually I look for a sporting event and if there’s no sporting event I watch something else you know that I don’t have to think much about but I have found certain shows I have to avoid because I will get locked into them like I’ll get engaged in them and then I don’t want to go to sleep and then I’ll stay up way past my bedtime whereas other shows that like I gotta watch stuff that doesn’t interest me all that much so that when it’s time to go to sleep I’ll go to sleep and that draw to keep watching what do you what do you watch that doesn’t interest you that much um so I will watch a lot of those like murder shows of like uh one that and it’s kind of fun but it’s like I don’t mind turning it off and going to sleep it’s like uh scariest neighbor or something like that where it’s like neighbors that get into feuds and then murder each other Jesus um a lot of those like I’ll watch home renovation shows late at night well that’s a little more wholesome for your bedtime viewing at least well that’s that’s actually why I was like all these murder shoes probably are not good right before I go to sleep like there’s got to be something there that you know is not good because it was serial killers for a while and then it was like the murder shows and but if they’re too interesting like those like the 48 hours or some of the date lines and stuff like that those they they build up to like a climactic you know ending those keep me engaged and I’ll stay up too late so I can’t watch that kind of [  ] wow yeah I’m yeah I don’t have that I have my phone the phone’s a problem but not I’m looking at memes and [  ] but see that’s what I mean like I’ve learned like I learned some things about myself and I pay attention and be like oh what’s causing me to get out of you know what things do I struggle with self-discipline on or what things are causing me to to struggle here and then I decide whether I want to do something about it and sometimes I still watch Dateline and stay up too late or drink coffee late at night so I I did find this one article that I liked and it had a pretty interesting paragraph or two about self-discipline and I I thought maybe this would be relevant to share so uh the person said their Definition of willpower and self-control is when we believe there is an external Plan diet or eating approach that is the right way to eat and all we have to do is have the will and self-control to follow the rules and then we will be good we believe the plan is over there right not something that we know or intuitively can figure out it’s like oh there’s the plan I can look at it like I just need to go follow that right it says it invites us to disconnect with ourselves our lifestyle our experience and our inner knowing instead of using our inner wisdom as a path to help guide us to the goal we abandon ourselves and then wonder why we can’t will or control ourselves enough to get to the goal it’s like you are constantly fighting against yourself and you’re never going to win and I love this idea of self-discipline I like that a lot um she went in a little further and said for me self-discipline is a process of getting to know yourself and your truths and then practicing becoming the kind of person who honors and lives that truth and I feel like that’s the most relevant self-discipline information that I could find and it makes me think of a practice that I really try to do with the people I see which is we try to get to the the basis of like being more aware of when you think should or the idea of should so the human brain does this in a lot of different ways we have you know we’ll be sitting on a couch and we might think to ourselves I should be doing the dishes I should be doing the laundry or I need to be doing the laundry why am I sitting here doing nothing like a lazy ass or I have to be doing the laundry so like need have and should or usually these words that come to our thoughts they’re usually critical about what we’re not accomplishing or how we could be accomplishing something better right and and it leads me back to this idea of counter will and I don’t know that many of us in our society everyday people know about this but like counterwill is a thing that comes up in our bodies when somebody’s telling us we have to do something even if it’s something you want to do you immediately have counter will and what I I kind of believe I guess is that as we get older instead of these external forces having as much counter will come up in us it’s our own self it’s our own self with all these shoulds have-tos and needs because that is the external plan that someone programmed into us so we’ve got like this societal and parental external plan that was given to us of what we’re supposed to be doing and then we have what we feel we’re really supposed to be doing and the counter will comes up because we don’t want to follow somebody else’s plan even though it’s coming from our thoughts it’s all other people’s [  ] and that makes it impossible to have self-discipline because we instantly go to counterwill so when we’re telling ourselves I should be eating better I should be eaten better better all day and shame in ourself counter will pops up and we eat like [  ] at night and so like this paragraph that I’m reading from this individual this makes total sense to me because when you can stop shutting yourself to death right you eliminate the counter will and have more of the ability to just do what you wanted to do in the situation to begin with instead of having all these forces behind the scenes like battling it out about whether you’re going to have the resources too yeah that’s where I think it’s important you know at least from like for me it came from the 12 Steps but the work we do on ourselves and our growth that we figure out what’s important because like say I don’t always want to do the dishes either but I don’t should myself into doing the dishes I’m like well it’s nicer when they’re done and it feels better so like I know the motivations behind why I’m doing what I’m doing I’m not just doing it out of some should or some guilt or whatever else right the other thing that’s given me a lot of breaks for myself in like that idea is that people are all very different like we’re not the same you know which is exactly why the 12 Steps work for some people great and they’re this amazing thing and some people it’s not and some people don’t even get why it works at all but you know we we’re all a little different in what motivates us you know how physically what our physical things are so like when you talked about diet well those diets in general work for some people but other people like their metabolism is very different the amount of caloric intake they need is very different for different reasons you know going to the gym when I first started going to the gym I was like man I’m gonna get big and like you know I’m never gonna I mean I could maybe get big I’d have to eat like two dozen eggs every day and probably three [  ] steaks yeah I could take service I’m not doing that but you know after a little and when I first started going in there I was like yeah I’m gonna start you know I’m gonna try to get jacked and [  ] start lifting heavy stuff my shoulder starts hurting I start you know I’m like wait a minute calm down like that’s just not like that’s not really you and the truth is that isn’t even really what I want to do the reasons I was going there was for health and whatever else but then I’m like well I’m gone you know I’m gonna get these big shoulders and [  ] and then I I had to get like realistic about what you know my goals could be like and and then once I was more realistic about what my goals could be that made the self-discipline more easy if I was just going in there like I’m gonna get jacked and then in six months when I wasn’t you know my arms weren’t two times wider I’d want to give the [  ] up you know what I mean I’d be like oh I quit this isn’t working I’ve tried you know I tried and it’s not working and it’s like I have to be real holistic about what my expectations are what my motivations are and just try to get in touch with me to figure out those things no and I I I love that uh it’s not an analogy because you actually lived it but that example I guess of that because that’s exactly it and it makes me picture all the times where someone stood in front of me and said hey uh I’m in this program I’m doing this and yet my life’s not getting better and I’m like oh well you’re not working the steps you know they’re like well I don’t want to work the steps and I’m like well that’s what you need to do right that’s that same thing that’s going to produce counterwill in them right like that’s not gonna ever get them any closer so I’m picturing the 12-step Fellowship environment and like that’s exactly what the [  ] we tell people you have to work the steps live the steps or die like it’s all these [  ] ways that you have to you need to it’s the answer and that’s not going to work for somebody that doesn’t want to that’s actually going to push them further the [  ] away from doing and that’s why as members I mean we should focus on that if you look at what the literature says it’s like we share our experience strength and hope you know we share what works for us you know it’s it’s not about lecturing people about what they [  ] need to do I never was good at that you know the courts told me what I needed to do my parents told me what I needed to do the cops wanted to tell and I was like well I’m gonna do what the [  ] I want to do well I feel like we forget that though because it says right in one of our opening readings this is a program like that wants to know what you want to do about your problem and how we can help and yet then we come in everybody comes in and we tell them what to do they should be doing right and I guess that’s like I feel like that is the culture of 12-step and I feel like it’s counterproductive to the goal we’re trying to accomplish which is to get people to want to work the 12 Steps because that’s it’s attraction not promotion and I would say that comes not just for coming to a meeting it’s the attraction of hey that guy’s working steps and look how his life looks different I want something like that not the promotion of you need to work the [  ] steps because that’s how this program works right I don’t know though but we don’t do that yeah well hopefully like at least for myself I think like I’ve grown and changed and try to be better in my approach to some of that now um I used to want to you know chain people that have been around forever and hadn’t worked steps now I’m like hey you’ve been here seven years and you’re still here that’s good it’s better than the alternative okay so you walk into a meeting and I don’t know how this is different up here in Cecil County versus Baltimore or you know 2022 versus 2015 but if you walk into a meeting and there’s a hundred members there how many would you say are probably more of the opinion that we need like people just need to work the [  ] steps and and not necessarily kind of like you where it’s more like hey do what’s good for your life I hate to say I it feels like people don’t work the steps near as much as they used to now it feels way less interesting because I feel like at least 70 people out of that 100 are saying more of the style of like what I’m criticizing like y’all just need to work the [  ] steps that’s the solution that’s so I guess what’s in this isn’t to get too off of your question but what’s baffling to me is people will say all the time I work the program but they’re not working steps and like though the program is the steps like that’s what it is there’s some other things with it you know abstinence and all this other stuff but there’s that’s a big part of it too but anyway um no I think that’s the general attitude consensus like if you were to take a consensus and what’s and maybe this gets into your counterwealth thing but probably most of the people that aren’t actively working steps and even ones that don’t have sponsors will still tell you that’s what they should be doing or that’s right you know right so I would agree people would say that but who’s actually doing it hmm like who’s actually telling people they need to work the steps or something like that yeah it’s just more of the underlying belief system yeah and I don’t get out as much and of course I don’t usually pay attention I mean I don’t say I don’t pay attention to that that much but usually when I go and I’m not looking for that like who’s telling people what they should do and who’s the obviously overbearing people’s standing we should hit a couple meetings together and like go in and tally like keep track of how many oh they just expressed you have to work the steps oh they just expressed it again like because I I think you’re right like I would not even say that 70 people out of that 100 were actually actively working steps right put 70 out of 100 are gonna give that idea at least right like that’s the way this works whether it’s about you or themself yeah I probably hear more I should be working steps right now then you should be working right right more people I know what I should be doing but you know I’m not yeah but I I guess I wonder how much of that I should be doing is actually what’s keeping them from being able to do it I feel like we need to get rid of lack self-discipline right but you can’t have self-discipline when you got everybody else’s ideas of how you need to live in there and so I guess if so we both like this idea of self-discipline is getting in tune with yourself and then doing that on purpose and I’ve actually heard that in recovery before somebody said uh the purpose of recovery is to figure out who you are and do it on purpose um and I love that I never really understood it till today actually which is crazy but yeah like if we believe that so how do you increase your ability to know yourself if that’s the true answer just finding more self-discipline is figuring out what you actually want because it’s easier to follow when it’s what you want versus what everybody else has told you how do we get there on the 12-step Fellowship we believe it’s steps one through seven

that didn’t get me there God damn it uh I think that can be helpful for sure no I mean writing down our patterns our our Cycles I mean that’s part of what we’re looking for in therapy right trying to establish like these patterns of action that aren’t serving us well and just self-awareness I mean and it’s amazing like I feel like I’m so good at self-awareness on in certain areas of my life and like more intellectual thing I’m terrible at it with emotional stuff you know I’m I’m like emotionally I’m not very you know intelligent at all and it’s so you know but I’m learning that about myself and the awareness part comes in like the you know guy I’m talking to was saying like well what you know think about when you go to eat something that you really like and you look forward to eating it like how physically does that make you feel I’m paying attention to those physical changes but it’s yeah just paying attention to what my body’s telling me or how I feel about certain things to try to get in touch with emotions somebody was telling me the other day about the theory of the eight forms of intelligence and they were going into some of them like there’s the the one we all saw celebrate like The Logical mathematical form of intelligence but then there’s all these other forms of like emotional intelligence there’s a spatial intelligence intrapersonal interpersonal there was yeah obviously eight of them uh but like I was like damn we don’t ever think of these in ways of like you know when you say that person’s stupid you’re not like evaluating their whole person if they know anything about anything they can be very emotionally intelligent super sensitive you know right listener yeah but they can’t do math so they’re dumb maybe they’re great at interior design and just can tell how everything comes together yeah but like you know maybe they can’t divide 48 by four or something in their head and yeah that’s definitely I think a cultural problem but yeah but I I think it does also it’s another piece of what gets in the way right if we’re looking to match up to the world in this logical mathematical intelligence we’re actually ignoring the gifts we have in some other area where we do have like an innate or intuitive way of just being because we understand things in ways other people don’t right so it’s I guess really for me the process of self-discipline is really about just reevaluating my whole life it’s like starting from the bottom and saying is this truly something I want or is this what my parents in the world gave me and that’s hard to [  ] get to because a lot of that is deep yeah and it comes in your own voice in your own head oh yeah for sure yeah and you know that’s where for me you know staying engaged in the process of recovery has continued to help you know but for some people it’s therapy for different people they get that you know maybe from a church family or a pastor or something you know but it’s important that we have those people that we can engage with that are going to encourage us to to keep growing and keep looking at ourselves and keep figuring out who we are because that [  ] changes too you know it’s a moving Target yeah what I want and what I think I want out of my life you know change over time yeah I don’t want all the same [  ] I wanted at 25. no not by far right some of it still right yeah right some of it’s the same well it’s okay so if it’s about figuring ourselves out how would I say to do that I do think the 12 steps are a great form of self-reflection and and you know it’s almost like journaling about different events in your life in different ways so I think that’s a very useful tool I think therapy is a really useful tool for self-exploration and figuring out who you are um if you can’t afford therapy or it’s just not something you’re you’re interested in there’s like self-help workbooks or like you know now there’s [  ] so many different like trauma workbooks or processing trauma or dealing with depression and for me just I mean the audio books that I’ve listened to in the last probably two to three years you know just the amount of like self-awareness I’ve gained just from listening to these audio books has been amazing audiobooks definitely podcasts another one that you could read information too but there’s no [  ] time for that [  ] reading I mean unless you discover that reading is part of what’s good for your life [  ] all that noise no but yeah I I think there are these ways and I think maybe the last piece I would say is the the regular practice of these things right whether it’s journaling steps therapy a workbook a podcast an audiobook like if you’re doing this regularly whatever that means for your life three times a week once a week whatever I think it just keeps our brain in that mode of like like you said when you pray right the whole idea of like oh I’m raising awareness around it so I catch it more often during my week and I think the regular practice helps with that well and I don’t know about for you but for me like audiobooks in my head usually go this way so I’ll listen to a new book let’s say let’s say I can sound intelligent say I’ve read a new book I’ve read a new book yeah and then all of a sudden that’s the end like oh this is exactly how I’m gonna live my whole life I’ve just figured out exactly what I needed this is going to be it yeah right I’m great now and then like two or three months in like I’ve done forgot half of what was in that book I’m trying to convince myself I need to listen to it again and that I’ve done forgot all the important [  ] and then I find a new book and it’s the next it’s got all the answers it just fixed everything that I needed and then three months later I done forgot half of what’s in that book but in that process there’s been two or three like really important gems of stuff that I’ve taken that have contributed you know to the whole or maybe built on other ideas because I listen to a lot of similarly based books you know on self-help and compassion and you know living healthy hopefully I’m not listening to like Wolves of Wall Street books there you know how to conquer the stock market you know [  ] that stuff um no romance novels no no romance nozzles she’s seductively laid back on her back on the beach chair but it’s like this just continuing in the process I guess is where I was going with that it’s like it’s just important that I keep moving forward and that you know I take those one or two nuggets and I just keep rolling forward a little at a time well and I think it is a a rolling sort of avalanche building kind of process for some people right and I think this is true for me and you like we are really really interested in being the best people we can possibly be or in you know striving for like these relationships that we really want in our lives and it’s just whatever it is it’s worth and and captures our interest to continue this journey of self-awareness like I’ve yet to get to a point where I’m like oh this is [  ] good I’m healthy enough like I don’t need to do it anymore like I’m always one and maybe that is the you know what people say like the addicts mentality or whatever what the [  ] ever I want more growth I want more healing I want more connection and love in my life and and I do feel like the closer I’ve gotten to knowing me or the true me or whatever we want to call that the better I feel and the more my life looks exactly like I wanted to yeah I would agree all right all right so [  ] self-discipline your ass into listening to this podcast every week and uh have a good week

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