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A Closer Look at the Four Agreements

Spiritual coaching in addiction treatment So much of our suffering is completely unnecessary. From an early age, we take on ways of thinking that create a useless burden, which traps us in a constant state of sadness and anxiety. We make assumptions, we harbor ill will toward others at our own peril and we worry about things we can’t control. Suffering is part of life, but there’s a better path available to those to seek it. Spiritual coaching in addiction treatment helps a person see things for what they are and let go of the suffering that keeps them from living full, engaged lives. The term spirituality is mired with connotations that keep people at arm’s length from self-improvement. Some hear about spiritual coaching in addiction treatment and assume it is centered on a specific religion or new age thinking. That’s unfortunate. Instead of thinking about a spiritual practice is an abstract, elusive endeavor, it should be considered a search for wisdom. It’s not necessary to subscribe to a religious doctrine or teachings to develop a wiser, healthier mindset. At BRC Recovery, we offer spiritual coaching in addiction treatment that is heavily informed by “The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom,” a book written by Don Miguel Ruiz. Ruiz bases his book on the ancient wisdom of the Toltecs, a Mesoamerican culture that preceded the Aztecs. Despite its ties to an ancient culture, the wisdom in “The Four Agreements” is profoundly relevant today, mirroring wisdom found in Buddhism and other Eastern doctrines.

Agreement #1: Be Impeccable with Your Word

People too often speak without thinking about how their words impact others. “The Four Agreements” encourages people to speak with integrity, saying what they mean, being honest with everyone and refraining from disparaging or gossiping about others. This agreement is more than just about the words we use; it’s also about how we behave. Ruiz calls this the most important of the agreements because it encourages us to take responsibility for what we do and what we say. To remain faithful to this principle, we should always consider our words before speaking and do our best to make sure those words help those around us.

Agreement #2: Don’t Take Anything Personally

We are all prone to take offense by the actions and words others use. People carry emotional wounds inflicted by others for years beyond the initial offense. It’s tempting to take criticisms and insults personally, but in doing so, we leave ourselves subject to the thinking of others, regardless of how flawed their thinking might be. This agreement gives us a way out of this pain by encouraging us to let go of feelings of hurt or offense. We must have a strong sense of who we are and what we believe. This self-assuredness gives us the perspective to realize that anyone who insults or criticizes us is going through their own struggles. Their judgments and worldviews might be clouded. Thus, we should refrain from making inferences based on what they do and say to us.

Agreement #3: Don’t Make Assumptions

We will never know what is in another person’s heart or mind but, unfortunately, that doesn’t stop us from obsessively thinking about it. When we assume what other people think, those assumptions distort our perspective and introduce imaginary problems into our relationships. A person can burden themselves with stress, depression and anxiety, all because they’ve made assumptions about what others think of them. Not only are our assumptions often wrong, they are unnecessary. We can’t control the many thoughts and feelings others have. We might assume that someone doesn’t like us. That assumption could be untrue. It could also be true that the person doesn’t know us or that they dislike certain things about us, but not all our qualities.

Agreement #4: Always Do Your Best

Regret is a heavy burden that people carry with them into every part of their lives. We become defensive and depressed when we think about the things that we’ve done wrong. To avoid these plaguing feelings of regret, we should strive to always do our best. People will inevitably fall short of this goal, but by incorporating the first three agreements, they can always find room for improvement. This agreement is not a call to be perfect; it’s simply a framework to do the best we can manage in any given moment. When we don’t hit the mark, we can let it go and continue to do our best going forward.

 Why Study “The Four Agreements” 

Anyone can reap benefits from reflecting on the wisdom offered by “The Four Agreements.” This spiritual approach to living strives to address the suffering that is a core part of the human experience. Suffering creates an obstacle, especially for someone who is struggling with a substance use disorder. Loosening the grip of suffering dramatically changes a person’s experience of life. It takes practice and, in most cases, a fundamental change in a person’s perspective. The benefits of changing how we see ourselves and the world around us are immense, and there is perhaps no greater pursuit one could have. By taking ownership or your actions, forgiving others and striving to always do your best, you can create deep, long-lasting changes in your life and the lives of those around you. The lessons taught in the “The Four Agreements” give you tools that you can use repeatedly throughout the rest of your life.

Learn More About Spiritual Coaching in Addiction Treatment by Contacting BRC Recovery

At BRC Recovery, we believe that treating the person means treating the mind, body and spirit. Our approach to spiritual coaching in addiction treatment isn’t about buying into a set of religious doctrines; it’s about using wisdom to ease our suffering and find a more constructive way to live our lives. If you’d like to learn more about our services, we encourage you to contact BRC Recovery to speak to an admissions counselor. Call us today at 1-866-461-1759.