I went to a meeting tonight and the topic was acceptance. I love that as acceptance is the key to this whole recovery journey. We have to accept so many aspects of ourselves in order to believe in ourselves and that we have the ability to face recovery and grow.
By accepting that I am an alcoholic it made it ok for me not to drink and also ask for help. I still find it amazing that something so simple and obvious is so difficult. In putting down the drink and making that statement of sobriety you are totally changing everything about your identity and who you are and what you are about.
When I stopped drinking suddenly I had a huge amount of time on my hands, time that I never used to appreciate as I would fill it with alcohol. That was the hardest acceptance of all.
Next I had the views of family and friends, it was a shock to everyone in my life that I was an alcoholic and a real mixed reaction. In the main people were happy for me and wanted me to do well but no matter what I had to push through and commit to my decision to be true to myself and who I knew I really was deep down inside.
Over time I have learned to accept my insecurities, fears and bad habits. By working the recovery programme these gradually came out and I could discuss them with other alcoholics. By doing the programme it was a safe place to try out different methods that others have tried to see what works for me. There is a perception that AA is a religious program – this is not true at all. It is a spiritual journey but in your own way and your own time.
More recently acceptance for me has been that I cannot be all things to all people, I am me and that is enough. It is ok to get things wrong and make mistakes but it is also ok to be right and maybe help someone along the way. All of this was stuff that I had forgotten and then that lack of belief in myself would lead to me having a drink because “I deserved it”.
Change is scary but for us to ensure long-term recovery it is an absolute requirement, but it is not a race nor a competition. Acceptance is most definitely the key to success.