Acceptance is the answer to all of my problems today.” – Alcoholics Anonymous

Has reality sunk in?

If not, you might be out of touch. Are you wondering why your spouse has left and filed for a divorce? You tell yourself you don’t have a problem and so, you continue to drink.

If this sounds familiar, you are out of touch with reality. Acceptance of reality, after all, is the key to recovery from an addiction. What’s the opposite of acceptance? Denial. In denial, you’re unwilling to acknowledge the truth. In spite of many consequences, you continue to turn to your addiction.

It’s important to seek out the truth. The Bible points out the importance of truth when it says, “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free,” John 8:32.

To explain the power of acceptance in recovery, there are three questions to answer:

  1. What is acceptance?
  2. Why is acceptance important?
  3. How do you learn acceptance?

What is Acceptance?
According to Webster’s Dictionary, acceptance means: “the quality or state of being accepted or acceptable,” and “the act of accepting someone or something.” In other words, it’s a person’s ability to recognize the reality—or truth—of a situation. This means that an individual is able to accept the reality of what is happening, and does not feel the need to deny or change it.

Why is Acceptance Important?
We all struggle, at times, with acceptance. In breaking free from the grip of an addiction, you must accept your current situation and want to change. Many times people turn to using something because it helps to escape reality. When you accept your reality and discover the real you, this will begin the recovery and healing process. One of the most important lessons in recovery is this: learn to accept whatever happens — good or bad — and use new ways to deal with what happens in your life.

How Do You Learn Acceptance?
Acceptance of your reality does not mean that you have to like it, condone it, or ignore it. What it means is you’re honest with God, yourself, and others. To begin the process of recovery and healing, you need to surrender pride in wanting to do things on your own terms. To learn acceptance, you can’t do it on your own. Here are some steps you can take:

  • Get involved with a Life Recovery Group or 12 step group.
    As you attend the group regularly, you’ll learn how to accept yourself and make changes in your life. You will also connect with others who will provide insight and support for you.
  • Find a counselor.
    Having the support of a licensed Christian counselor will help you examine any underlying issues preventing you from moving forward.

Finally, the next time you find yourself having a hard time with letting reality sink in, take a deep breath and pray for God to give you the strength to accept what you can’t change. Not sure what to pray? You can begin with the Serenity Prayer, by Reinhold Niebuhr.

Serenity Prayer
God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
As it is, not as I would have it,
Trusting that He will make all things right
If I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
And supremely happy with Him forever in the next!