When Good Enough Is More Than Good Enough

“What you have is good enough.” 

If you’ve ever been in a CCAR training with Phil Valentine facilitating, you’re probably familiar with this statement. And, if you’re like me, this echoes frequently in your head (always in Phil’s voice, of course). But why is this particular sentence so… sticky? 

When facilitating, Phil uses it when he’s given the group an assignment to work on and time is up, and there are good doobies (me included) all around the room frantically scrabbling to capture our Very Important Thoughts before we have to put our pens down. It’s a way to help us transition and bring our focus back to Phil, but it’s also a way to offer acceptance. He’s meeting us where we are. He’s telling us that however we show up, whatever we bring to the table, whatever thoughts and ideas we have – it is all worthy and accepted. 

It’s a profound statement. 

You see, I’m eternally caught between who I want to be, and who I am. It’s a daily struggle. I want to be wiser, more generous, thinner, more able-bodied, a better mother and daughter, more loving and serene… the list goes on. Most of all, though, I just want to be fully seen, and loved anyway (but that’s a whole other blog). 

So on my good days, this desire to do better keeps me striving, motivated, and working on myself. It’s the part of my recovery that’s looking ahead on the trail, excitedly saying, 

“What’s around the next corner? Let’s go and see! Let’s do this!” 

It’s what helps me continue to deepen and strengthen my recovery and move forward in my journey to be a better human, saying,  

(cue the bugles)

“Onward, soldier!” 

On my bad days, though, it gets me stuck in the mud and makes me want to retreat. It’s the voice of self-doubt that tells me I’m not good enough, that I’m too pushy, ambitious, or awkward. It’s the part that repeatedly “rehearses” in my head the dumb or insensitive thing I said to someone hours (days) after it happened, reliving the embarrassment, the whisper of “not good enough” running in the background. It’s the thing I’ve been working on for years in my recovery.

I will always be a work in progress with this. 

So when I hear Phil’s voice in my head, telling me, “What you have is good enough,” I do my best to apply that to myself. Not just to my work, or my accomplishments and achievements, or the myriad of “outside” stuff that we often measure ourselves by. But to me. Meghann. The inside part.

Who I am is good enough. 

As I work with recoverees and participants in my workshops, I listen for Phil’s voice in my head, reminding me that no matter what someone brings to the table, how little or how much, it is always good enough. I strive to meet each person where they are, regardless of where that is, and be glad to be there with them. It’s one of the key elements of recovery coaching that makes it so powerful. 

And I hope you can treat yourself that way, too, because who you are is good enough.

Meghann Perry is a Recovery Coach Professional, a Recovery Coach Academy facilitator, an actor, storyteller and teaching artist. She leads creative workshops for youth and adults through a unique combination of performing arts, recovery coaching, and substance use prevention. She’s the founder and co-creator of Recovery Storytelling, a big hit at last year’s MPRC: THE National Recovery Conference. She lives in the Boston suburbs with one human child and some furry ones, and loves to indulge her inner tomboy in the outdoors. She’s a passionate advocate of recovery for all and believes storytelling is a critical tool in making that possible.


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