Jun 10: Self-Acceptance


Good morning, Ladies. I’m Judy, and I am an alcoholic. I have been very quiet in this group over the past several months. There have been things happening in my life that I have permitted to seize control of my emotional energy and attention. I apologize to the group for my silence. I heard a joke once that asked, “What’s the difference between a ‘good’ habit and a ‘bad’ one?” The answer is, “A ‘good’ habit is easier to break.” How true that is.

I maintained my bad habit of drinking for many, many years–it took very little effort or energy. Recovery was a different story. It took all the effort and energy I could muster–especially in the beginning. I did love going to meetings and I went to tons of them. I have discovered lately, however, that once I start to slack off of meetings (face to face or cyber ones), it seems to get easier to stay slacked off.

My sponsor loves the quote, “Eternal Vigilance is the price I pay for my sobriety”. She is so right–I have to commit every day to maintain the ‘good’ habit of my recovery–which means prayer, meetings, fellowship, and the steps. It is an absolute miracle that I was able to celebrate my 20th sober year this past Friday. Thank you to all those who extended birthday wishes. This is your’s and God’s victory, not mine.

The topic I need to hear about is Self-Acceptance. I have really been struggling a lot with that lately. I thought I had made some progress over the past 20 years, but it can change in a heartbeat. I once had a man in my out-patient treatment group say to me, “Judy, if only you could sit yourself on the other side of the room and talk to yourself like you do us–you would be so much gentler on yourself.” That was so profound to me and I’ve tried to use that advice often.

Sometimes I even imagine it’s one of my children I sit across from me and I treat them with love, forgiveness, and compassion for any mistakes or struggles they might have. Then I tell myself, “if I want that for my children, why can’t I want that for me? Don’t I have an obligation to ‘model’ that for them and not just put lip-service to it?”

Most of the time this exercise works very effectively. But the truth is, I don’t think it has done much to alter my overall opinion of myself; because if I make just one mistake, I am capable of unleashing the most horrible verbal self-abuse and absolute loathing towards myself. It erupts in such fury–it is terrifying!

I had one of those self-loathing sessions on Wednesday. And just like always, I think, “Maybe I’ll drink and then ‘they’ll’ know how much I’m hurting”…Really, Judy? Fortunately, I have spent enough time in meetings, working these steps, thinking ‘through’ the actions that dance through my mind at these times and acknowledge that following through on thoughts of drinking, smoking, homicide or suicide are devastatingly permanent solutions to very temporary (and often trivial) problems. Yet, I fear the day that my disease will win unless I can find some peace and a genuine self-acceptance of who I am–‘warts and all’.

I started saying the Serenity Prayer with some alterations, “God, grant me the serenity to accept the person I am, the courage to change the things I can about myself, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Please share how you practice self-acceptance and how you make it ‘stick’. 🙂