In twelve step group parlance, acceptance is the key to becoming comfortable with every aspect of a person's life. No matter what may come up, accepting the situation is the first step to making peace with it.
Acceptance vs. Agreement
Acceptance allows us the grace to consider how best to frame our response to the situation. It does no good to resist acceptance. This is known as denial, and does little to change the situation. Many confuse the act of acceptance with agreement. While it is nearly impossible to agree with everything in life, accepting things is the only way to create peace with them.
Let's use the analogy of a car accident. Few of us would consider a car accident agreeable. But denying that a car accident occurred would be silly and futile. Simply accepting that an accident has occurred allows us to begin to respond to the situation appropriately, such as calling the police and exchanging information with the other party(s) if necessary.
It is important that those in recovery begin to accept everything that happens in their lives, despite whatever feelings they have about the situation. To continue to be in denial about a situation only causes harm. Building up defenses only impedes the healing that needs to begin.
To further the analogy of the auto accident further, denial of the accident would create the following problems:
- No exchange with the other parties involved.
- No possible repair of any part of the accident would begin.
This may sound outrageous, but is a small example of what many addicts have done time after time in their past. Learning to admit that something is going on, then allowing it to exist, despite their fear of the situation or any other emotional response, is a great step toward overcoming the situation as comfortably as possible in as short a period as possible.
Acceptance Is Key to Recovery
Addicts have a personal history, many times, of living in a denial state that is like pulling the blankets over their heads and ignoring all situations that bring up any kind of uncomfortable emotional response for them. To learn to live in simple acceptance of the world around them is a very large step to take in overcoming a long pattern of not being able to cope with life on life's terms.
Recovery demands this kind of acceptance. Learning to practice it is a big key to mastering ongoing abstinence.