I like to read recovery stories and go to speaker meetings where I can hear the tales of fellow addicts and their journey to and in recovery. One of my favourite stories, and I know I’m not alone, is the story “Acceptance is the Answer” found in the book Alcoholics Anonymous. It tells the tale of a doctor who drinks and prescribes himself drugs and almost destroys himself. He talks about the importance of acceptance of himself, his situation and his addiction as the answer to his problems. I’ve added a link below if you would like to read this story.
One of the things I’ve come to realize in the last week or so is that ‘acceptance’ is 100% or it is nothing. Let me explain. If I accept something, I am in total agreement with it. That doesn’t mean I have to like or love it; I may not. I may not like it, but I accept it. This for me is living life on life’s terms: accepting what is in my life. It’s not arguing with my Higher Power my partner or myself that things should be this way or that way. It is simply saying yes, that is the way it is.
Take this for an example. My car has a flat tire. My refusal to accept this would mean I keep driving and ruin the tire, probably the rim and who knows what else on the car. I have to accept the flat tire and do something about it before I can move on. I get out the jack and spare tire, or I call the auto association, because I know that I need to repair the tire before I can move on. This is acceptance. I take whatever situation I am in, I learn to deal with it and then I can move on.
The other thing that I came realized this past week is that if I have anything less than 100% acceptance, I am in resistance and fighting against what is. If I don’t completely accept the situation as it is, I am resisting it and as I’ve learned resistance is futile. What I resist will persist. With the tire example, I can choose not to accept it, but the tire won’t change itself. I can blame the car, or the road, the last person who drove it. I can lament that I didn’t put the jack in the car or call all of my friends and complain about my flat tire…and I still have a flat tire. Even if I drive slowly, I will damage the tire. I am resisting and not accepting the situation as it is.
Once I accept and change the tire, the problem goes away, it no longer persists. It’s being an active participant in my life and not passively letting things happen to me. Living life on life’s terms doesn’t mean sitting back and lamenting. It is action. It is accepting what is and working towards a resolution.
This is a link to reading this classic story Acceptance is the Answer. Click on the link and a PDF file will open. Scroll down the “Personal Stories Part II ‘They Stopped in Time’. The story “Acceptance is the Answer” is on page 407.