Apr 30: Self Acceptance

Self Acceptance

Greetings fellow ladies of GROW.

It brings me great pleasure to share I am 4 years sober today by the grace of God (my Higher Power) as well as the fellowship of AA and many people like those of you in this group. I couldn’t conceive of the idea of ever reaching 4 years of sobriety when I got to these rooms, so if you are a newcomer, welcome and keep coming back. There is hope for each of us.

When I first entered the rooms of AA I thought I was coming here to learn how to live without drinking. What I learned was my drinking was but a symptom of why I drank. It wasn’t until I read my 4rth Step with my sponsor that I was able to see where so much of the pain came from that I had been trying to drown with the alcohol. I found I really didn’t like myself and spent a lot of time wallowing in self loathing and self rejection. Finding myself an alcoholic, albeit a recovering one, did little to change my opinion.

I found it pretty easy by the time I arrived at AA to accept the fact that I was an alcoholic. I was totally defeated and ready to do whatever it took to get and stay sober. Finding self acceptance has been much harder for me. I don’t find it so difficult to forgive myself for things I have done or not done but rather I find it hard to accept things I perceive as personal shortcomings. Not being smart enough, lacking motivation and my personal favorite- never being happy or comfortable with my body. I’m too fat, I’m too this or too that. These days I am also too old! Up until this point all my efforts to be better – more acceptable, more loveable have only managed to keep me at war with myself and make me my own worst enemy. Regrettably, many of us give up our power by trying to live up to standards that don’t “naturally” fit us – standards that deprive us of being our own true self and deprive us of being who we are “naturally” meant to be.

Thanks to AA and some outside help through group and individual therapy I have learned to look at self acceptance as a skill, one I need to practice on a daily basis. I surround myself with people that lift me up and eliminate or limit my exposure to those who speak negatively to me. I try to be more gentle and caring with myself. If it’s something I wouldn’t say to someone I care for I don’t say it to myself. I try to be more aware of my habit of searching outside of myself for validation and instead celebrate my strengths.

It has taken a lot of soul searching and 12 step work to improve my self esteem and begin the road to self acceptance. Turning my life over to a Higher Power has been “key” for me in this journey. I believe in a God/Higher Power and I believe that God does not make junk: therefore I must not be junk. Who do I think I am to question God? I frequently remind myself of this when I find the negative self talk taking over in my head. I know it is my ego and my disease talking. I have begun to give up trying to be perfect and instead try to work at accepting my short comings. Instead of thinking of “should” and “ought’s” I practice being grateful and happy with what is. I know that as humans we are not able to be perfect but that we can learn something from our mistakes. Self acceptance for me means I know I am alright even when I am not perfect but that I can improve. It’s a gentle place of making peace with who I am.

Please share your E,S + H about self acceptance in your program of recovery. As always feel free to share anything else that might be on your mind.

Thank you for letting me be of service by being the meeting chair this week.

Yours in Recovery,

Cheryl B