When you’re in the middle of addiction, there is no question that you are fighting through life. You’re either struggling to live, fighting to die, or fighting against the circumstances of your life. It is exhausting. I always felt like the world was out to get me. I didn’t feel like the universe had my back. Every bad thing that happened to me, or harmful situation I found myself in, I felt like I deserved. When I was drinking alcohol gave me the power to try to form every case to my liking, and when it didn’t go down as I planned, I could not accept it.
Unwillingness to Accept
Like so many people who are held down by their addiction, I didn’t understand the meaning or concept of acceptance. I had heard the word before. I recall my mother saying to me countless times growing up, “you’re not always going to get what you want! You’re just going to have to accept it!” Accept what? I always had the mindset that I didn’t have to accept anything. If I didn’t like it, I would change it, leave it, move it, or forget it. And along the way, I would complain about how much I didn’t like it. It never once occurred to me that I was in significant pain because of my unwillingness to accept things in my life.
When I got sober, I learned how vital acceptance was in my recovery. I learned how much smoother my life would have been if I learned acceptance sooner in life. I learned that recognition isn’t just letting life hit me with all the punches and doing nothing. Instead, it’s determining what I could and could not accept, what deserves my energy, and that acceptance isn’t synonymous with weakness.
How Acceptance Aids You in Recovery
Finally accepting that I could not regulate the amount of alcohol consumed. In my addiction, no matter how I hard I tried I couldn’t accept that moderation didn’t work for me. I couldn’t agree that when alcohol entered my body, I had no control over how much more I would put in, what adverse decisions I would make and what dangerous things could happen to me. When I finally accepted these facts, it was a relief. I worked through my feelings of shame, guilt, embarrassment, inadequacy, and unworthiness to get where I am today.
By accepting that alcohol was not adding anything to my life, I have been able to stay sober and empower others to find sobriety. It’s a fallacy that we must have alcohol to have fun, to be social, to relax, or to cope. But acceptance doesn’t stop there. I have to practice acceptance daily. Whatever is happening in my life, whatever circumstances I am living through, whoever I am communicating with – there is always a level of acceptance involved.
Finding Peace in Recovery
For me, acceptance has been the pathway to peace. When I understand I cannot control anything except my attitude, I feel relief. When I quit trying my hardest to change everything I don’t like or can’t accept, I’m free to put my energy elsewhere. I feel at peace knowing I, like most human beings on this Earth, am doing the best I can. I am less exhausted, less disturbed by people, places, and things, and less likely to believe the universe is out to get me.
Acceptance provides peace because I am no longer fighting. I accept what is, change what I can, and know that the universe has a plan of its own. I find comfort in knowing I no longer have to try to control my drinking or anything in my life that is out of my control. This realization has allowed me to grow, given me the strength to do and say the things that I want, and given me the power to stay sober.
You cannot have peace without acceptance, and for me, sobriety was impossible without first accepting my situation and pushing off from there.
About the Author
Kelly Fitzgerald is a sober writer based in Southwest Florida who is best known for her personal blog The Adventures of a Sober Señorita. Her work has been published across the web including sites like The Huffington Post, Thought Catalog, Ravishly, SheKnows, Elite Daily, The Fix, Brit + Co, Addiction Unscripted and AfterPartyMagazine. She is currently writing a memoir.