The Power of Acceptance in Addiction Recovery
Wouldn’t it be great if you got exactly what you wanted all the time? In a perfect world, the people around you would act the way you wanted them to act and they would say what you wanted them to say. You could work when you wanted to work at a job you totally loved, and you could sleep and eat when you wanted to sleep and eat. People would never disagree with you. There would be no reason for conflict.
Unfortunately, life doesn’t work that way. Remaining in emotional balance in sobriety depends on your ability to accept things and people exactly the way they are, even when you’re not getting what you want.
Acceptance is one of the most important tools in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. There are many things that are out of your control, but if you can accept that everything is the way it’s supposed to be at all times, you can truly attain inner peace. This is often easier said than done. If you’re like most alcoholics and addicts, you want what you want when you want it. You want to be in charge of your own life and maybe even the lives of those around you. You want to get your own way, and you may get pretty upset or unsettled when you don’t.
When You Don’t Get What You Want
Few people always get what they want. In sobriety, from time to time you will experience loss and disappointment. No matter how much you try to force certain things to happen, there are times when the things you want simply don’t happen. An important relationship may end, or someone you’re interested in may not return your feelings. You may miss out on a promotion or a job opportunity. You may feel that others get more breaks and opportunities than you do.
Trying to force things to happen usually doesn’t result in the outcome you’re looking for. You push and struggle to no avail. The more your efforts don’t meet with success, the more frustrated and agitated you probably become.
Danger of Wanting to Alter Reality
Struggling against reality and your present circumstances is one of the reasons you turned to addiction in the past. Your pattern has been to turn to alcohol, drugs or other unhealthy behaviors when things haven’t turned out the way you wanted them to. You have looked for something outside yourself to help you escape your feelings, and you have worked pretty hard to distort or escape from reality.
Now that you are sober, anything that causes you to want to alter reality can be a real threat to your sobriety. One of the most important lessons in sobriety is to learn to accept whatever happens, good or bad.
Struggling against things or people you can’t change can consume a lot of time and energy. Lack of acceptance can lead to extreme unhappiness and dissatisfaction with life. It can lead you to question everything that happens, and even if you don’t pick up a drink or a drug immediately, the threat of turning back to old habits is always there if you’re not able to become comfortable in sobriety.
Using the Serenity Prayer
Learning to use the tool of acceptance takes time and practice. You may find that the serenity prayer helps to center you and continually remind you of the power of acceptance. The prayer begins with asking your Higher Power to grant the serenity to accept the things you can’t change. The ability to do that can bring an amazing amount of power into your ability to remain sober. The serenity prayer goes on to ask for the courage to change what you can and the wisdom to know the difference. Saying this prayer whenever you are feeling dissatisfied or uncomfortable can help you to gradually grow toward acceptance.
You are right where you’re supposed to be. Even when doors seem to close unexpectedly and when things and people aren’t behaving the way you want them to, true peace can be found in believing that the universe is unfolding exactly the way it should.