“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” –Benjamin Franklin

It’s important to live life well and to enjoy the moments as they come. I can jump into recovery like jumping into the deep end of the pool, and it’s possible I’ll be just fine. It’s also possible I’ll flounder, doggy-paddle, and work my way through the journey. Preparing and learning are there to pack our backpack of supplies. I can pull out whatever tool I need in the moment I need it, instead of wandering aimlessly.

Recovery still sends us curveballs we aren’t prepared to face, yet being prepared for most of the journey will make them easier to manage. My recovery journey has had moments where I knew how to get out of the entrapment, and others where I had no clue, but learned my way through it. Going into things head first without some level of preparation isn’t who I am. What works best for me is establishing an expected itinerary with flexibility for the unexpected.

I think that’s what Benjamin Franklin is trying to say, though. He isn’t scaring us into preparing, or giving a foreboding warning that failure is coming. I think he’s sharing about the times we cannot prepare and we will fail.

Those moments are not a character defect on our part, and are expected. Our skills will not always work. Our thoughts will not always be positive. Life will not always hand us things perfectly. Prepare to fail – it’s going to happen at times, and we get to learn how to stand up from them each time and move forward.

Kristen Ellis

Kristen has worked in the mental health field since 2013, with a focus on crisis work, substance use services, and bringing a voice to lived experience. Her ambition is to change the way mental health care and recovery is seen and achieved, so to redefine what it means to defeat adversity.