When I was first introduced to recovery from alcoholism, I often heard the phrase “acceptance is the key,” but I didn’t realize at that point that I had no idea what this very simple but vitally important phrase means. When alcohol was my solution, I accepted nothing about my life, therefore I drank so I wouldn’t have to accept anything, but when I sobered up and started working the 12 steps, I realized that I had never really accepted anything in my life. I remember telling my sponsor that I wasn’t really a controlling person; I thought I was just a nice girl who drank too much. What I’m coming to realize, through working the steps, is that I want to be in control of everything about my life. The problem I’ve run into time after time is that when I don’t accept something about my life then I’m putting myself in the role of a higher power, and I think I know best. When I think I know what I need, inevitably I end up hurting people I love, not honoring commitments, not being honest with myself and so on and so on. It doesn’t take long before I’m trailing down a spiral that will lead me to drink again.
What I’m learning a day at a time is that if I accept people, places and things in my life as they are and work on changing my attitude towards these things then my life seems to go quite smoothly. For example, a few weeks ago I had backed myself into a corner and wasn’t sure I was going to get out of it. It all started with not going to as many meetings as I had been; then I started thinking that all the members in the rooms were idiots and that I was some great person who didn’t need the program to stay sober. It wasn’t long until my character defects were glaring and I was starting to say hurtful things to the people I love… The beast (aka my disease of alcoholism) was staring me in the face, and I was completely convinced that I was right and all the people, places, and things in my life were wrong. I decided that I was a victim of poor circumstances and that my life, as it is now, isn’t fair. Well, I’m fortunate that my higher power spoke to me through a good friend from the rooms, and the advice I was given was to ask for help. And so I did. I started going to more meetings, I started praying again and trying to meditate; then I met with my sponsor and took some direction and wrote a couple of tenth steps and another fears list. I shared these things with her, and in two weeks time, nothing externally in my life has changed, but somehow, automatically, my outlook on my circumstances has changed. I’m starting to accept the challenges of life again instead of playing the victim and expecting everyone else to make it better for me.
When I accept my life and the obstacles that life inevitably throws at me, I take out a bit more insurance against the first drink. For me, the first drink can kill me. I have a disease that wants me dead. If I don’t accept that I have this disease that tells me I don’t have it, and if I don’t accept the circumstances in my life and the people around me, then I will eventually drink again. I’m grateful for the program of recovery that has taught me that I can live a useful and happy life, and as a result of my willingness to take some action with the program of recovery, I can stay sober one day at a time.Share post