The recovery journey is a lesson in acceptance. Each and every day, those of us who are in substance use recovery learn to accept that we’re in an ongoing battle against addiction. With that acceptance comes the knowledge that we must engage in daily efforts that help improve our chances of recovery success.
Getting to that place of acceptance doesn’t happen in a linear fashion. There are many zigs and zags along the way, such as occasional bouts of denial or romanticizing the past that can threaten recovery. In fact, sometimes a relapse is the wake-up call that leads someone to acceptance. Read on to learn more about arriving at a place of acceptance in long-term recovery.
What is acceptance?
Acceptance is the state of mind in which we become willing to deal with a particular situation or reality. Instead of denying the existence of a fact or situation, we arrive at a place where we no longer fight it. This doesn’t mean that we necessarily like the situation, but we come to accept it as a reality. That way, we can tackle our issues in a way that’s more productive and helpful.
While acceptance might at first seem a bit defeatist, it isn’t. Acceptance is actually about the power of moving forward in a positive way from a perspective of reality or truth. Looking at acceptance in this way, it’s understandable why it’s an important aspect of recovery.
How to find acceptance
When you think about it, acceptance is a conscious choice to abandon pride and embrace humility. It’s the epitome of having trust in our Higher Power. Consider these options to finding acceptance:
- 12 Step program: In the earliest stage of recovery, many of us were introduced to the 12 Step program of Alcoholics Anonymous. When viewing the list of steps, it becomes evident that each one is rooted in a journey toward acceptance. The Serenity Prayer is a perfect example of acceptance. By working the program, it’s possible to eventually get to a place of acceptance.
- Practice, practice, practice: In order to reach acceptance, it requires that we practice it constantly. Like any skill, the more we practice it, the more natural it becomes.
- Learn to trust: Acceptance is achieved when we let go and trust. Our natural inclinations tend toward wanting to exert control over our life journey, as if we can somehow will ourselves out of the disease of addiction. We arrive at acceptance once we stop fighting our reality and begin to understand the need to protect sobriety on a daily basis.
Cultivating a recovery that reflects acceptance
Once you adopt a mindset of acceptance, your actions will begin to reflect that mindset. Here are some recovery efforts to practice that can help you maintain your sobriety:
- Establish a healthy daily routine: Long-term recovery begins with healthy new habits. These include getting quality sleep, staying physically active, and embracing a nutritious diet.
- Practice self-care: Recovery success includes learning how to better manage stress. By paying attention to our mental health, we can practice self-care as needed. These actions might include yoga classes, practicing mindfulness, massage, or deep breathing techniques.
- Maintain strong connections: Staying connected to our sober support network provides much needed sources of encouragement and hope as we encounter challenges along our recovery journey.
Finding acceptance is the first step to embracing a new life in recovery. Once we arrive at acceptance, we open the door to carving out a life filled with meaning and joy.
Ashley Addiction Treatment, formerly Father Martin’s Ashley, is a nationally recognized nonprofit leader in integrated, evidence-based treatment for substance use disorders. Our programs are accredited by The Joint Commission, and result in frequent publications of ongoing research into effective treatment methodologies. We offer holistic care that encompasses the mind, body and spirit through inpatient and outpatient treatment, provide drug detox, relapse prevention plans, family wellness programs and a variety of other services tailored to each patient’s unique needs. Our driving principle — “everything for recovery” — reinforces our mission to transform and save lives through the science of medicine, the art of therapy and the compassion of spirituality, and is complemented by our philosophy of healing with respect and dignity. For information about our comprehensive programs, please call (866) 313-6307.