Acceptance of Your Disease

“”Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober.”

From the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, Fourth Edition, p. 417

Acceptance really is the answer to all our problems. We have to accept every aspect of our lives without exception. One of the things that many people in recovery have difficulty accepting is the fact that they are alcoholics or drug addicts. They don’t want to hear that they have a degree they didn’t choose, that they can’t control and that they can’t cure.

How do we accept our addiction?

Step One requires that we admit that we are powerless. But there is a difference between admitting it and accepting it. Many drunks on skid row nod their heads and admit they are alcoholics. But they don’t accept that they have a disease that is bigger than they are. And that’s why they can’t let go of their drug of choice.

Acceptance means surrendering. It means no longer swimming against the tide or fighting against conditions we can’t change. We need to stop fighting against reality. The reality is that we have a disease that is bigger than we are. The disease wants to kill us or destroy our lives – and it will if we let it. We can’t pretend we don’t have a disease. We have to accept that we have a problem, so that we can begin to look for a solution.

The nature of the disease is to run away from uncomfortable feelings. We try to avoid feeling our feelings by self-medicating. The answer to the urge to run is acceptance. Acceptance of conditions we can’t change, including our disease, brings relief.

There can be no peace of mind without acceptance. The energy we are using to fight against things we can’t control is better spent working toward changing what we can: ourselves and our attitudes.


One Response to Acceptance of Your Disease

  1. Chaz says:

    Good old page 449! (now page 417?)

    For me, I never understood that there was a difference between acceptance and agreement.

    I used to think that to accept a fact or circumstance would mean that I agreed with it or endorsed it.

    I could not accept that my first marriage was ending because then it would mean that I would agree that my ex was right and endorse what she was doing.

    It wasnt until I got a grasp of acceptance as described in the story in the Big Book (chapter formerly titled “Doctor, Alcoholic, Addict”) that I could finally start accepting people, places, and things that I did not agree with or endorse.

    I finally came to understand that acceptance is simply realizing the fact that things just “are”. It does not mean they are right or wrong. They just plain, simple “are”.

    Acceptance helped me turn painful facts into more benign data. Today I accept that my ex is now married to the other man. There is virtually no emotional charge to this any more. So much so that I was able to move on, love again, and re-marry THE MOST amazing woman (meaning my new wife).

    Before acceptance, my lack of acceptance kept me in pain and resentment. I replayed the injustice over and over. Today, acceptance allows me to say, “it just happened”, and leave it at that. This allows me to move on.

    Maybe God will do something with the situation. Maybe not. Either way, it is His and I accept it. And thereby I find freedom.

    An amazingly valuable tool in recovery.

    Ciao. Chaz

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