The Toltecs were an ancient culture based in southern Mexico. Toltec wisdom has been shared and explored by modern writers, referring to their key practices as the four agreements. These “agreements” or commitments, detailed below, can be an important adjunct to your work in recovery.

The Four Agreements

  • “Be impeccable with your word.” When you were using, being honest and forthright may have been difficult. A central aspect of addiction involves hiding the extent of your drinking or drug use, and being honest – in word and deed – is a critical component of recovery.
  • “Don’t take anything personally.” When you’re actively using, your thoughts and emotions can easily become paranoid, such that you take offense when loved ones express their care and concern for you. Learning to tolerate when your loved ones confront you with issues or behaviors that need to be addressed is an important part of recovery. This can be expanded to include other types of interactions and responses, most of which are not a personal attack or reflection on you.
  • “Don’t make assumptions.” Learning to listen – really listen – is an important skill you develop in recovery. When you were using or drinking, you may have learned to tune out what others had to say because you could safely assume it wasn’t going to be positive. In recovery, listening to feedback without assuming you already know what will be said is a key skill.
  • “Always do your best.” In recovery, every day is an opportunity to do your best – at work, at home and in relationships. Making the commitment to always do your best in recovery can help you get through the tough days and help silence your nagging and critical internal voice.

Being open to new ways of thinking and developing different attitudes toward personal growth can be a great support in recovery. Toltec wisdom may be new to you, but it also may be exactly what you need to jumpstart your recovery.


Choose a better life. Choose recovery.