One of the most misunderstood aspects of recovery is that the name of the game isn’t to gather as many tools and skills as you possibly can into your playbook. 

The name of the game is to gather the handful of tools and skills that work for you, specifically. 

It’s true that exposing yourself to lots of different tools, skills, philosophies, systems and teachers will increase the probability you’ll uncover what will work for you specifically. As I wrote on the page the other day, getting curious and voracious in your search for tools is the most important mindset you can develop in this project of “recovery.” 

But realize that, of the dozens of tools you’ll expose yourself to in your search, many of them won’t be quite a right fit for you. 

Some won’t quite fit with your learning style. 

Some, you won’t be able to apply every day because of how your life and obligations are structured. 

Some will require too much attention for you to realistically commit to practicing them every day. 

Some won’t be stimulating enough to hold your interest. 

For a variety of reasons, you’re going to run across plenty of tools that just aren’t quite a fit for what you need in your life and recovery. 

In my experience, what will realistically happen is, as you journey deeper into recovery, you WILL run across a handful of tools and skills— likely from a variety of sources— that WILL work for you. 

It’s THESE tools and skills you have to commit to using— over, and over, and over again. 

I remember when I figured out the key to my own weight management. For years I’d struggled with urges and impulses to eat things that did not nourish me or support me in feeling or performing my best. I’d tried multiple diet approaches and supplements, but usually wound up abandoning new approaches to nutrition after a few days or weeks. And, as you might imagine, my weight fluctuated accordingly. 

I didn’t make substantive improvement in my ability to manage my weight and physical fitness until I realized that one of my big problems was, I was trying to inject too much variety into my diet. 

Each time I bought a new cookbook with dozens of recipes that adhered to new nutritional rules, I soon found myself overwhelmed with options— even within the confines of whatever new approach I was taking to my diet that week. 

What I ended up discovering was that most successful dieters don’t shoot for overwhelming variety in what they eat. They discover a handful of meals that play nicely with their metabolism, body type, and nutritional needs— and then, at least for awhile, they stick to those few “successful” meals…over, and over, and over again. 

When I discovered this, I initially rejected it. I thought that I would get bored eating the same meals over, and over, and over again. 

But, as it turned out, I barely noticed. 

As it turned out, eating a small rotation of meals that I knew “worked” for me took an overwhelming about of anxiety and uncertainty out of the process. 

Ah ha! Key concept!

Recovery tools work in much the same way. You do not need a ton of them. You need a few of them that actually WORK for you— and you need to return to them. Again, and again, and again. 

Trust me, there are many sources and teachers out there that promise you all sorts of nifty advantages if you use their system. We’re living in an age where information about how to change your thoughts and change your behavior is more abundant and available than ever before. 

These days you can find approaches to changing your life that range from behavioral psychology to quantum physics, and everything in between. 

I DO want you searching, getting curious, and being voracious about discovering what works for you. 

But when you find the tools that work for you…I want you leaving everything else on the side of the road as you focus on what actually WORKS. 

Not what “should” work, not what “might” work under the right circumstances, not what works for your family or coworkers or a celebrity. 

I want you to get so familiar with your reliable bag of tools and skills that you could teach advanced seminars on them. 

I want you getting so good at recovery that YOU could be your own therapist…because in the end, you actually are. 


If you want to go deeper into the Doc’s tools, skills, and philosophies, it’s only $10 a month to join the Use Your Damn Skills Patreon

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