“And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing or situation- some fact of my life- unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment.”
Acceptance in recovery is one of those terms that borderlines on an A.A. slogan in Alcoholics Anonymous.
“Acceptance is the answer to all my problems” is commonly heard in the A.A. community. It’s part of a personal story in the Big Book on page 417.
Often you’ll hear it referred to in meetings as the answer to a problem someone is facing in their personal life. Saying “just accept it” is the equivalent of saying “just don’t drink” to a chronic relapser or alcoholic.
Both are impossible without proper treatment.
Don’t get us wrong, acceptance is a major key to recovering from alcohol and drugs. When an addict is in an accepting place of life’s circumstances and consequences that he or she has caused, their attitude is different.
They also must accept that they drink and use differently; that their alcoholic life is not normal; that no matter what, they cannot control and enjoy their drinking at the same time.
But this acceptance does not cure an alcoholic, and acceptance does not cure alcoholism or addiction.
Alcoholism is a chronic disease. If it is left untreated, relapse is almost guaranteed. Acceptance is not a treatment plan.
If you are someone who is dry without treating your alcoholism, then you are more than likely to be restless, irritable, and discontent. That in no way indicates you are in a place of acceptance.
Acceptance is Not a Step in A.A.
The Big Book gives 12 suggestions to recover from alcoholism.
Doing the 12 steps can dramatically shift your thinking, your behavior, and your overall attitude and beliefs.
These steps are written and explained in the first 164 pages, which are the core beliefs and directions for recovery in Alcoholics Anonymous.
The rest of the book contains personal stories of alcoholics recovering.
Acceptance is Not the Answer to All Your Problems
Victims of abuse should not accept their relationships or their spouses. Acceptance is not the answer in this case.
Acceptance is not the answer when living with an alcoholic or addict who is unreliable, causes pain, and gives our life consequences. Sometimes understanding that a situation is unacceptable gives you more spiritual prowess than accepting a situation.
What A.A. gives us is the ability to completely change our attitude to one that is loving and tolerant. There is a way to not accept situations and attitudes in a loving and tolerant manner.
If you are a chronic relapser or know one… then you know that we are seldom mildly intoxicated. Most of the time we are flying through mild intoxication to get high or drunk. We have little control over the amount we take.
The book states that we think that the way we use or drink, the way we treat other people, the way we treat our responsibilities in life are all normal. We all know the life of a chronic relapser is far from normal.
Drug addiction and substance abuse lead us to only think about ourselves. We begin orchestrating life to suit our addiction. We manipulate, lie, steal, and harm people we care about.
The book states that to be recovered, you need to experience a psychic change, a drastic change in your attitude, a spiritual experience, or a spiritual awakening.
This drastic transformation in our beliefs, actions, thoughts, and response to life comes from doing the 12 Steps and getting connected to a higher power.
When this transformation happens, we are more likely to be in a place of acceptance.
Acceptance, therefore, is a by-product of doing the Steps and getting connected to a higher power.
Just like the desire to drink is removed, we become more accepting of life and its terms and conditions.
We are not trying to change everything to our liking. Slowly, through the steps and connection to a higher power, our selfishness is being removed.
We slowly realize we are not a god, and that we have control of little in our lives.
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