Acceptance in recovery is not optional—it is mandatory. Alcoholism and addiction take us to some pretty dark places, and without acceptance, we are sure to drink again.
We all have our own stories, and, without sounding dismissive, they do not really matter once we have done the footwork. Sure, it serves as a helpful reminder of what we were like, and serves as a beacon to others in similar circumstances, but those stories become irrelevant, as we have found a way out.
Which is not to say that life cannot become a reality for us again—quite the contrary—and nor should we forget that aspect of ourselves. As far as who we are now, though, acceptance gives us the freedom to move beyond that past way of life.
The inverse of acceptance in recovery is denial, and denial kills addicts and alcoholics. If we deny there is a problem, or deny that there is a solution for our hopeless situations, we cannot hope to address either.
In that sense, denial and the disease of alcoholism and addiction are one in the same, and acceptance is the antithesis. It is the foundation upon which our recovery is built.
For if we do not accept the reality we do not drink or use like normal people, we are sure to try it again, and to do so is to die. If we do not fully and without reservation accept that our drinking and using are the problem, we will surely put the blame somewhere else.
That is the cruelest part of denial, though: refusal to believe a problem exists has no impact on whether or not the problem actually exists. I can do everything imaginable to convince people the sky is red, but at the end of the day, it is not—it is blue.
Yet, that is only the beginning.
We come to accept that only a Higher Power can relieve us of our alcoholism—or that there is even a Higher Power in the first place! We accept that we made some terrible mistakes, and accept that we have to face the consequences of those mistakes to move past them. We accept that we are not the paragons of innocence and virtue we might think we are. We accept we have to live with some unresolved issues. We accept we can change.
We might accept all of this, but it does not mean we always like it. Funny enough, though, the longer we stay in acceptance, the fewer things bother us, and the happier we ultimately become.
In the end, acceptance—like happiness—is a choice. I can fight it, and receive nothing for the heartache and struggle, or I can accept it and move on. I got tired of struggling a long time ago, and it seems to have worked out pretty well considering the alternatives.
Acceptance in Recovery
Are you living in a place of recovery today? Share your experience with us in the comments below!