Day 3: Structure Your Time and Energy Wisely


Day 3 of 12 Days of Emotional Sobriety


I did a test a few years ago that confirmed that I have a personality that “abhors routine”. I chuckled thinking that in my addiction that looked like total chaos!  In recovery, it can become a lack of structure. We all know how common the diagnosis for A.D.D. (attention deficit disorder) has become. I think of myself and so many other addicts I know and how we all could have been (and maybe still could be) diagnosed this way. A lack of structure and discipline can lead to an ongoing sense of confusion and turmoil, long into recovery.

All successful people have routines and structure. I have a morning routine that I am pretty committed to, that allows me to start my day in a positive and mindful way. I plan what I will do with my ‘free time’ based on what feeds my soul and creates something of value in my life. In contrast, if we jump from one thing to another, in hopes of fitting in or because we don’t want to be alone, we lack the discipline to make good decisions that enhance recovery.

Many addicts are ‘people pleasers’.  We do what we think others want us to do, and lack an internal GPS system to know and respond to what we want ourselves. We are busy filling up our calendars with events that help us feel wanted – often at the expense of getting what is needed to be done. This is especially true if what we need to get done isn’t something we ‘like’ to do. Our denial kicks in and we procrastinate and distract ad infinitum.

I’ve had to learn that discipline and routine are now a part of my new personality. I still like to break up the routine when I can, to keep my addicted brain happy, but I mostly know what I must do, and I plan my days and weeks accordingly. I stay connected to myself, I take 100% responsibility for the choices I’m making and I preserve my precious time and energy for the things that are both the most important (life responsibilities) and most enjoyable (a life worth living). The holiday season is a time of increased parties and invitations. Make sure that you are not moving into a chaotic spiral that is leaving you depleted rather than energized.

Tip for Today

Get your calendar out and look to the week ahead. Give yourself permission to structure your week, making it a priority to support your emotional sobriety. This might include: showing up for work (if you have a job), looking for work (if you don’t), daily household tasks (cooking, cleaning), time with friends/loved ones, time spent in recovery activities, quality time with yourself (take yourself on a date), prayer and meditation, reading books that stimulate your mind, learning, & shopping for the week.  See if you can conscientiously decide to make the most of your time and energy and then watch how successful you are in following through without distractions. You will become more self-aware of what, if anything, trips you up and you can then adjust accordingly.

Share this with your friends and family who could benefit from 12 tips to keep you emotionally sober this holiday season. Don’t forget to leave a comment below if this resonates with you or if you have tips of your own you’d like to share. See you tomorrow for the next one!


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