If you happen to look at the “Day In The Life” section of our site, you’ll notice that we begin every morning with spiritual reflections and a recital of The Four Agreements. What might those be, you ask? We like to think of them as important affirmations that can lift those recovering out of despair. They are, of course, based on the best-selling book by Mexican author Don Miguel Ruiz, who himself has been touched by addiction.
To start things off, let’s list the Agreements themselves and validate their importance throughout the recovery journey. Truth be told, this list can be applied to any aspect of life and has clearly touched readers at large, with over five million copies in print.
Agreement #1: Be Impeccable With Your Word
Honesty is a tremendous component in the recovery process. Often times, people find themselves caught in lies and deceit when they are in the throws of an addiction. Having to hide your habit from loved ones, or even making up excuses to borrow money to help feed the cravings. As we move past that phase and onto a higher plane, we discover that your word is how you establish character. Be honest with others and, just as importantly, be honest with yourself.
Agreement #2: Don’t Take Anything Personally
Ruiz famously writes in his book, “When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.” It’s a sad fact, but society can be quite judgmental when it comes to addiction and emotional blows can be a catalyst that makes people want to use. This Agreement is especially important because it teaches us to move beyond the naysayers and doubters. If you commit to a successful recovery experience and distance yourself from the noise, you’ll see incredible results.
Agreement #3: Don’t Make Assumptions
Communication is a crucial element of this Agreement and, with our program, you’ll see a conscious effort to express opinions honestly and openly. We encourage everyone at Iris to answer any and all questions, creating a fluid experience for all who participate. If there are challenging feelings happening during the recovery process, it is important to address them and not be afraid of showing vulnerability. Never assume that you are alone in this journey
Agreement #4: Always Do Your Best
One of the most important Agreements of all. Always remember that you can only do the best that you can do. Some days, of course, are going to better than others and, as Ruiz puts it, “Your best is going to change from moment to moment.” But as long as you’re putting in the effort and striving for personal excellence, you should feel comfortable taking pride in your progress.
We mentioned before that Ruiz, himself, had been touched by addiction and drew personal inspiration when writing this book. His son, Jose, battled and beat a crystal meth dependency, which has transformed Don Miguel into an author and recovery advocate.
“The reason we have addictions is because we love ourselves with conditions,” Ruiz told Addiction.com. “That’s the problem. I love myself if I perform a certain way, if I believe a certain way. That way, I can be accepted by everybody else. We don’t accept ourselves.”
Thankfully, with inspirational teachings and a strong recovery support system we can change these self-perceptions.
On a final note, we thought we would share one more particularly moving quote from the book.
“You can only be you when you do your best. When you don’t do your best, you are denying yourself the right to be you.”
The key phrase there is “denying yourself the right to be you.” In our opinion, that is exactly what happens when substances and alcohol enter the equation. The more you use, the more you deny yourself (and your loved ones) the opportunity to appreciate your true self.
The great thing about The Four Agreements is the unique interpretations one can make when reading Ruiz’ writings. Below in the comments section, we invite you to share your own opinions about the book and what it has meant for you in your journey.