If you’re in recovery, you’ve likely heard or been a part of conversations about The Big Book. This text outlines the 12 Steps of recovery and provides insight into how you can gain freedom from addiction. One well-known passage of this book discusses the power of acceptance in managing a substance use disorder. If you’re not familiar with this particular passage, found on p. 417 of the 4th Edition, you can read it in the graphic below.
Why is Acceptance Important?
Too often in life, we attempt to take matters into our own hands. Whether it is stress at home, on the job, or in relationships, we have a tendency to try to control the outcomes of our situations. However, when it comes to recovery, the best first step is to accept that we are unable to control most areas of our lives. Our humanity ultimately makes us powerless over the things of this world, and accepting this helps us realize when we can and should exercise authority.
“And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation – some fact of my life – unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment.”
Your recovery is limited if you are constantly trying to change a person or situation. This passage is not instructing you to sit back and passively go throughout life. Rather, it is encouraging you to accept that you are powerless over your addiction. Then, you must let go of the desire to take charge of things you aren’t meant to handle.
Nothing Happens in God’s World by Mistake
You have a purpose in life, and nothing that happens in this world is an accident or a mistake. At Still Waters, we remind our residents that their Higher Power is in control of all things. This is why it’s so important that we realize we are not the ones who have power over our addiction. However, your Higher Power – whether you believe in God, nature, or the universe itself – does have the power you need.
“Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God’s world by mistake. Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober; unless I accept life completely on life’s terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.”
We know that nothing in the world is outside of God’s power. Sobriety comes when you begin living life on life’s terms. You cannot change the world around you, but you can adjust your own actions and attitudes. It does no good, nor is it productive, to spend your energy focused on how others are behaving or the issues in your life. Instead, lasting recovery comes when you are committed to making changes in yourself. Small adjustments in your attitude and actions help you to maintain your sobriety. This is because you are not dependent on others for your recovery.
How to Practice Acceptance in Life
Acceptance doesn’t have to be limited to your sobriety. Acknowledging when things are outside of your control carries into other areas of life as well. Often, life will bring unexpected and challenging circumstances when we feel least prepared. Death, sudden job or housing losses, and relationship changes come when we least expect them. Recognizing that nothing happens outside of God’s control can help you cope with these situations. The best thing you can do when you are faced with an unexpected situation is to first realize your limitations. Look at the areas in which you don’t have power and practice acceptance. Take action where you can by adjusting your attitude and behaviors.
Acceptance in a 12-Step Immersion Program
You aren’t meant to walk the road of recovery alone. 12-Step immersion programs give you the opportunity to fully embrace each step of your sobriety. Our 12-Step program at Still Waters is guided by staff who have struggled with addiction themselves, so you can see the results of working the Steps firsthand. We focus on providing education and group support for those with drug and alcohol addictions. The Still Waters program model is designed to help you dive deeper into the 12 Steps, so you can begin the path to acceptance and change. If you’re looking for a different approach to addiction treatment, contact our team today to learn more about our 12-Step program.