January 26, 2015

Acceptance is the Answer to all My Problems Today

I am going through a difficult time in my life, and I am naturally feeling quite uncomfortable with it all; especially fidgety and uneasy, and with a bit of fear, as I wait for the next thing to pop-up from around the corner. I know that this is part of the process, nevertheless, it feel quite difficult. The unknown of the future of my marriage is sort of hanging out of balance and it makes me feel unsettled. We are in a process of working to fix our issues, or at least learn how to deal with them. If we do not, we will most likely be looking at getting a divorce. So there is lots to deal with. I am questioning everything and my self the most of course. 

I think now, more than ever, I am so very grateful to be sober. I actually cannot imagine going through this if I was still in the midst of active alcoholism. Yes, I had a though about it, once, or twice, and... on the outside, it appears to be away to ease the pain and get a little break from the overload of emotions. But the way I drank, I would have only caused more pain, frustration and unmanageability. Instead I am sober, and I am able to still take care of the kids and the house and of course attend our counseling sessions. I am still here fully engaged and present. This is a true gift!

But this is hard. It's really hard. I struggle. Some days are just crap.  I try to focus on our beautiful kids, and Keep myself busy by painting and redecorating parts of the house - this is my coping technique as of lately. I feel creative and am able to not think of what's going on for a while. But sometimes I feel like what the hell is this all for!

But I am not ready to give up either. 

I also know that things will be easier if I am accepting of my new path and the new challenges that it brings. But acceptance is one of these mysterious things -- how exactly does one accept!? Is it giving up? Is it not caring? Is it being indifferent? And what exactly do I do to accept something? This is so hard for me to grasp, because I am a do-er! I am a planner, and an organizer, and I get things done! But with acceptance, there is no action, what do I do?

So when I find it difficult to accept things, and I am feeling uneasy, I turn to this amazing passage, called "Acceptance Is The Key," which is part of the personal recovery stories that are at the end of the Alcoholics Anonymous, Big Book. The author of this piece, was able to beautifully explain this great big mystery of acceptance. Here is an excerpt:

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 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.

For me, serenity began when I learned to distinguish between those things that I could change and those I could not. When I admitted that there were people, places, things, and situations over which I was totally powerless, those things began to lose their power over me. I learned that everyone has the right to make their own mistakes, and learn from them, without my interference, judgment, or assistance!

The key to my serenity is acceptance. But "acceptance" does not mean that I have to like it, condone it, or even ignore it. What it does mean is I am powerless to do anything about it... and I have to accept that fact. Nor does it mean that I have to accept "unacceptable behavior."  Today I have choices. I no longer have to accept abuse in any form. I can choose to walk away, even if it means stepping out into the unknown. I no longer have to fear "change" or the unknown. I can merely accept it as part of the journey.

 I spent years trying to change things in my life over which I was powerless, but did not know it. I threatened, scolded, manipulated, coerced, pleaded, begged, pouted, bribed and generally tried everything I could to make the situation better -- only watch as things always got progressively worse.

I spent so much time trying to change the things I could not change, it never once occurred to me to simply accept them as they were.

Now when things in my life are not going the way I planned them, or downright bad things happen, I can remind myself that whatever is going on is not happening by accident. There's a reason for it and it is not always meant for me to know what that reason is.
That change in attitude has been the key to happiness for me.

***From The Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous, pg. 449 first 3 editions, pg. 417 in the 4th edition.

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