28 November 2013
Law Of Acceptance
What is the key to recovery? Recovery from alcoholism, addiction, gambling, smoking, and whatever else you may want to throw in here has the same ingredient for starting a new life – acceptance. Every 12 Step group speaks about it and reinforces it. A new life can not take place without acceptance.
An acceptance of our past. An acceptance of who we are, not some fantasy or illusion of who we thought we were. Rather the acceptance that mistakes were made and the past is filled with regrets.
Early in my journey I heard a couple of thoughts that have stayed with me. One was that we don't have to like some things but we do have to accept them. The first time I heard this I was sober a couple of months.
I found out my ex-wife was cheating. Not playing the victim here, just a fact of what was going on at that time. In hindsight, I can't blame her. I was never really with her, my life revolved around alcohol and nothing else.
Yet, early in recovery to learn about it nearly destroyed me and I was close to giving up on the idea of sobriety. I was filled with anger and shame with where my life was and how little I had going for me.
I never like the fact that she cheated on me but I did learn to accept it with no anger or rage... just a numb acceptance. And from that simple acceptance I learned to let go and move on.
The other statement I have heard many times and I live it and say it to others. Expect nothing and accept everything. And to add to this thought... expectations are the forerunner to resentments. If I accept things as they are then I have no expectations and can not have resentments.
Another example from my life. As an alcoholic I was a horrible dad. I was never there for the kids, they were there for me. Now in sobriety, I want to be there for those kids if that is what they want. I will not chase them down looking for an illusion of a father-child relationship. All I want is to keep that door open, if they ever decided to contact me. I want that first contact to be healthy and for that to happen I need to be sober.
Through they years though, I have sent birthday cards and Christmas cards to them and money to their kids. I do this just to let the kids know that I am thinking about them and hoping they have a nice holiday or birthday.
Only one child has consistently sent me a thank you card and what the money went towards. One has totally ignored me, yet they still cash those checks.
It would be real easy for me to build a resentment with this. I haven't because of the past and the simple fact I never taught those kids how to give thanks to anyone. So I continue to send gifts, just for me and accept whatever will be will be...