Why is it so difficult to accept things? Just thinking about acceptance makes me growl and feel sick to my stomach, which in itself tells me it’s time to work my program right this very minute. Before I even started drinking, I sought escape through reading, shopping, and creating elaborate fantasy visions of my future success, “as anticipated for years, the Nobel Prize goes to…. Kirsten H…..” When I started drinking, I could not believe how much better I felt when the weight of all that anxiety I carried around most days just vanished, or faded into the distance. A drink or two helped me feel more relaxed, less worried, more courageous about talking with people. And, I discovered, that when I felt really good after one drink I felt even better after two or three or four or five or….Well, maybe I didn’t feel better after five but I could keep working on getting it right, that magical numbers game of “just the right amount,” that I never figured out. As I drank more, the grandiose fantasies of success just kept spinning out as a deep black hole of self-hatred expanded within.
As I drank more, my desire to drink increased and became a physical, mental, and spiritual disease. I could not accept the most important and urgent part of my life – that I am an alcoholic and I cannot drink in safety. I tried prayer, going to church, but I felt that God had given up on me because I just could not stop drinking no matter how much I pleaded and begged. I refused to accept that I was powerless over alcohol and that my life had become unmanageable. I didn’t realize until much later how broken I was on the inside, and how I was trying to play God myself by dictating my terms and conditions for controlling my drinking. I forgot that God is love – and that God loves me no matter what because God is loving and generous, not because of anything I do or do not do. Yet that is more about steps 2 and 3, “came to believe in a higher power greater than ourselves” and “turned our lives over to the care of God, as we understood God.” In order to get to that good stuff, in order to open myself to the sunlight of the spirit, I had to accept that I was alcoholic. I fought it for so many years, until finally, broken and afraid and out of options, I knew I needed help – from the rooms of the twelve steps.When I keep my sobriety and recovery first, I always have a touchstone for acceptance. When I remember to accept, over and over again, that I am powerless over alcohol and my life has become unmanageable, I remember I also have a solution. When I face the situations in the day, I remember this powerlessness, as well as the capacity to take the action that is mine to take. Today, when I feel uncomfortable about the word “Acceptance,” I realize I have work to do. When I am spiritually fit and connected with God and my program, the word “acceptance” is another word, another tool, just part of life. When I am out of sorts and off the beam, the word “acceptance” makes me want to throw up and fight and run away. Today, I notice this in my body and remember again that oh yes, I must need to accept something. How can I do that when my head is crowded with disturbance? I can go to a meeting, call my sponsor, call my sponsees, ask for help from another person in recovery. I can read some program literature and take deep breaths to quiet that disturbance within me. I can pray. I always have my higher power, whom I choose to call God. Today I realize that I have to accept that I am responsible for my own sobriety and recovery, as well as my own physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being. That does not mean I can do it on my own – absolutely not! Yet, I cannot rely on other people to take care of me – that is a holdover from my old childlike fantasies from long ago. I cannot rely on other particular humans, but I sure can trust that God has put some human in my path who can help me. And when I accept that, I open myself to the light and love of my higher power, and I feel hope and relief. I am so grateful to be sober today.