I used to think living in acceptance meant condoning hurtful behavior or situations. I thought acceptance meant expecting little out of life, that it was a passive action – I thought acceptance meant defeat. However, something I’ve learned at South Orange County Detox & Treatment is that my definition of acceptance was wrong. In reality, acceptance releases the power my life circumstances had over me. When things don’t go my way and I’m living in acceptance, I don’t become paralyzed by negative emotions such as anger, fear, resentment, or regret – which inevitably lead to relapse.
One of the best passages on acceptance can be found in Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous:
“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 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. 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. 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”
As an addict, I’m constantly having to rethink what I thought was true and redefine it. It can be scary to find out you’ve been wrong about something. But I can’t be afraid to change my mind, to accept that things are different… That they’ll never be the same, for better or for worse. I have to be willing to give up what I used to believe. The more I’m willing to accept what is, and not what I thought; I’ll find myself exactly where I belong.
Sometimes, things are simply out of my control. I can’t change them. I can’t bend them to my will. So, actually finding out that I’ve been looking at things all wrong is liberating. Suddenly there's a new potential where I’ve never seen it before. And that’s all fine- when suddenly a hopeless situation looks hopeful.