What is it like accepting alcoholism/addiction?
“And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today.
When I am disturbed,
It is because I find some person, place, thing, situation —
Some fact of my life — unacceptable to me,
And I 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.”
– Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Edition p. 417
This passage has given me a lot of guidance throughout the years. It has helped me to walk away when I didn’t want to, it has taught me I can only do so much for someone who does not want help. It opened up my eyes. In this passage it refers to God, but I want to be very clear about the idea of a higher power. What this means is trusting that something outside of yourself can help you. For me that is God, and my understanding of what that is. For someone else it can be a tree or the doorknob on the door you open up when you get help, etc. This interpretation is up to you, and is very personal. There are also many other outlets available in getting into recovery. I support all pathways of healing. Here is my journey to acceptance.
My mind had gotten so twisted. I didn’t have any clue, all I knew is I had no answers and no experience in “being sober”. At the time though, I needed to feel that way. I had to get helpless and hopeless.
My addiction had become the most constant companion in my life. It offered me a lot of misguided steps. It mimicked a tool I could use for my personal care, only to interfere with my mind, body and soul. It mainly made me feel I was not worthy enough for much of anything. In taking a lot of wrong turns, I was able to have the courage to admit that I needed new directions.
Acceptance of being an alcoholic and addict opened the door to a new life. Sharing, “I am a person in long term recovery” has brought me so much empowerment and satisfaction. It has allowed conversations to be possible. Whether it was to help others, find commonalities; share in the many pros in getting through life without using, etc. By being in recovery, and speaking out, I get to help break the stigma of addiction everyday.
Each person has his or her truth. The beauty of living my truth is I choose to be free. It is something I felt deep inside and I had the choice to ignore it or do something about it. I chose to face the music because I no longer wanted to feel empty. I struggled with the internal battle of active addiction and can recall this being one of the hardest parts about addressing the problem. I learned how to pick up spiritual tools that alleviate the urge to control other people, places and things.
Life is full of possibility, letting go of a narrow and outdated perspective brought a new frequency into my life. My attitude is tempered because I understand how powerless I am over everything except how I act and react.
Thank you for continuing to read my blog. Also, please check out my other fellow advocate’s blogs! Heroes in Recovery is a movement designed to break the stigma associated with addiction and mental health. We do many things to support this mission including asking people to share their recovery stories with us. We also host various events around the country including our Heroes in Recovery 6k run/walk series. These focus on working with communities to raise awareness and break the stigma and motivating others to get involved.