When I first entered the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous – I had absolutely no acceptance of my alcoholism, the reason I drank was due to what was happening around me, it was the worlds’ fault that I drank, but I couldn’t see that. Very early on I heard a man read the piece on Acceptance from the BB and somehow those words spoke to me, they still do today and for me are some of the most important words I read each morning. So as I break down the sentences, I am gaining awareness all the time, the words ground me for today.
“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.”
For me, some form of serenity began when I learned to distinguish between those things that I could change and those I could not, the Serenity Prayer became and still is my special mantra. When I *admitted* that there were people, places, things, and situations over which I was totally powerless, those things began to lose their power over me, and I suppose that admission over time turned to acceptance.
I learned that everyone has the right to live their lives as they wish, to make their own mistakes, and learn from them, without my interference, judgment, or assistance. And it has taken time to accept that I do not have to accept unacceptable behaviour, I just have to accept that I am powerless over it! This ‘letting go’ has not been easy, but as I understand my powerlessness more and more, the better I stand back and bring the focus to improving my own life the better I hope. However, I do struggle from time to time with how my husband lives his life and this has been my greatest test of acceptance and letting go.
“Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God’s world by mistake. Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober; unless I accept life completely on life’s terms, I cannot be happy.”
Another mantra of mine is ‘everything happens for a reason’ and for a time in early sobriety, while I accepted that, that wasn’t enough – I wanted answers – I know this has happened for a reason but why?? If I knew why I could fix it! As you can imagine that became a futile exercise and brought me on a merry go-round once more. Accepting life completely on life’s terms – I consider I am a work in progress on this, but I accept that is a part of my journey of recovery. I try to be gentle with myself.
Life each day presents me with challenges, and at the end of the day when I do my 10th Step inventory, I learn how I have done today, asking myself am I living life on life’s terms today? Today I feel happier than I have ever felt thanks to this program, and I accept that I need to work this program on an ongoing basis, particularly when I hit a ‘low’ – then I need to step up my program work, allowing me to look at life with a different set of glasses.
“I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.”
Known as the ‘family fixer’, standing back and looking at myself and change what I have power over within me has been a rocky road at times. It’s okay to be the ‘fixer’ to guide, support, but I must allow others take responsibility for their lives. Not easy for this fixer, but over time it has given me a great sense of freedom. I must allow others the dignity to make their decisions about their lives.
Thank you for allowing me to share, and for taking time to read this week’s Topic. I look forward to reading your shares throughout the week and learning from each one of you how you achieved acceptance and how you maintain acceptance.