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  • Lisa Carmen

it works if it's working.

Updated: Mar 11


The beauty of recovery is a lot like the beauty of spirituality. Just like there’s no one way to “be spiritual”, there’s no one way to recover.


I’m here to tell you today that whatever path or tools you’re choosing on your recovery journey are the right tools for you, if they’re working.


How do you know if they’re working? Are you no longer engaging in the harmful behaviors that you struggled with before? Are you getting unstuck? Are you making progress, even if that progress is slow? Are you able to learn from your missteps? Are you living a life that feels good, satisfying? Are you growing? Are you healing? Well, there you go. Quite simply, a bunch of "yes" answers mean your chosen tools are working.


And if they're not working, consider new tools, new paths, new experiments.


How do you know if your tools aren’t working? If you answered with a bunch of "no" answers to those questions, well, there you go. Time to re-evaluate. And that’s the best part of this whole thing. We never have to stop exploring and experimenting.


When it comes to changing your life for the better, think of your life as the ultimate laboratory. One where you are the experiment. And the scientist.

Your recovery is not a fixed, static “object” that you either "have" or you don't.


It’s a fluid, breathing, evolving thing. It pulsates and flows. Like a river, it's alive.


You are allowed to evolve. That’s the beauty of all of this: We are always evolving.


Another cool and interesting thing is that a recovery tool that might not have worked for you in the past might actually work for you later down the road, because you are changing, growing, healing, learning.


When it comes to evaluating your recovery tools (and your life in general), stay away from words like "always", "never" or "forever." Those words are fixed and closed, and allow no flexibility or fluidity for the changing, expanding, healing and learning being that you are.


And if you need to be reminded, I'm here to remind you:


You are allowed to question.


You are allowed to change your mind.


You are allowed to try new tools.


You are allowed to expand.


You are allowed to choose.


You are allowed to make your own decisions.


You are even allowed to “slip.” A slip doesn’t cancel out your progress, or your hard-earned experience, if you transmute that slip into wisdom, into information. You get a new date to measure your sobriety streak with. There's no need to give it more power than that. Get back up. Dust off. Keep going. You are allowed to trust yourself.


Ignore the voices that try to tell you their way is the right way, the only way.


Ignore the voices that try to scare you into believing that you will never be able to trust yourself.


Ignore the voices that tell you that you are incapable of thinking for yourself, and making your own decisions.


For they are wrong.


You were born with an amazing and limitless capacity for change, for discovery and for healing.


Keep healing. Keep changing. Keep growing. Keep evolving.


Your recovery is yours and no one else’s.

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