Friday, July 4, 2008


A conversation with a member with long term sobriety have yesterdays meeting about acceptance. A person who's quality of sobriety I respect, who's worked hard to get to where they are on their journey.

So, when I looked up acceptance in the dictionary, I didn't like any of the meanings. I thought that, perhaps, the dictionary is missing the point. The meanings all seem to be a positive statement, something that would make us feel better. "Favourable reception, approval, favour,"

Doesn't anyone else see this word as I see it. As a must, a should, 'cause if I don't, I'm going to struggle. Acceptance is a word I hear most times I go to a meeting, talk with my friends or sponsor, read in other blogs. Acceptance is key for serenity is the idea I've been told over and over.

Accept my own character defects? Accept others who struggle with alcoholism and/or addiction? Accept that I'm learning a new dance in life and I'm going to step on my toes and other toes? Accept all the stuff in life that I am uncomfortable in? It all sounds negative. I seem to have a fatalistic attitude toward acceptance. Either accept or struggle. I thought I was accepting but why am I struggling so much?

So I look up the "A" word in the thesaurus and find synonyms such as "acquiescence, agreement, assent, consent, nod, yes" I don't see "terms of surrender" in the mix. So acceptance doesn't mean "I can't win this fight, no matter what, so I better give in, after all, I don't have a choice and while I'm at it can I feel sorry for myself that I've had to accept this crap?"

I've stopped and reread my words and a conversation I had, while doing aftercare at the treatment centre I attended, came to mind. Someone said it seemed I was not accepting, I was complying. I pushed that one away. Acceptance, compliance. it's all the same. So back to the dictionary I go and find compliance as "a tendency to yield readily to others, esp. in a weak and subservient way."

This is more like it, much more negative in connotation. Much more like me. Shit.

As I sit here, having a bit of a epiphany, my thoughts went over to a fellow bloggers pen name "calm acceptance" and realized I never do acceptance calmly. I always fight it, hold grudge to it, a resentment, so to speak. I can comply, I can conform, I can surrender, but acceptance? Surrender means I can still fight back, subversively. That means I still think I have power? Sigh.

Lots to learn. Thanks for letting me share.


Mary P Jones (MPJ) said...

Wow, indistinct. This is a great post! I think too many times acceptance seems like something I have to do, something I do grudgingly. Thanks so much for sharing.

storyteller said...

I found the link at MPJ's and am glad I stopped to click and read ... thanks so much for sharing these thoughts today ;--)
Hugs and blessings,

dAAve said...

It is what it is.

Mama Zen said...

This says so much to me! I have the same feelings about acceptance. In fact, I have a hard time telling if I've even "done" acceptance! I'm like a little kid on a car trip: are we there yet?

woman.anonymous7 said...

I struggle against yielding because I've been conditioned to see it as a weakness. But when I actually do it, I experience it as a strength, an instance of courage in which I'm willing to be with the fact that life isn't how I want it to be and that I'm powerless. For me, that takes much more guts than trying to control things. And I get leaps and bounds further along than I do by resisting. I think the feeling of powerlessness that accompanies yielding is still scary prospect, which I think explains why it doesn't come naturally despite the benefits.