Developing Acceptance in Recovery for Drugs or Alcohol
Not being able to accept the things that happen in life will make a person bitter and unhappy. Bad things happen to everyone, yet not everyone ends up with a drug addiction. Drug addicts have a hard time with acceptance because they have been running from emotions since the first time the addictive substance was used. Acceptance in recovery gives an addict a reason to move forward in life past the things that they have been running from.
What is Acceptance?
Acceptance is the idea of a person receiving a situation or thing. The field of psychology looks upon acceptance as a person’s ability to realize what reality is and approve of it. In other words, it is when a person is able to digest negative emotions and actions without avoidance.
Not all reality is easy to swallow. In dealing with trauma, many addictions stem from acceptance issues. Emotions and situations are evaded by an addict’s high, keeping acceptance at bay. Without eventual acceptance of these negative emotions and situations, an addict is likely to use drugs or alcohol to escape reality over and over again. When an addict learns and understands acceptance and applies it to their lives, reality doesn’t sting as much and drugs are no longer needed to numb the pain. The painful realities of life can also be dealt with and accepted, even for those in addiction recovery.
Benefits of Acceptance in Recovery for an Addict
Acceptance is a major key in the recovery process of an addict. When the drug of choice is taken from an addict, they are left to face with underlying emotions and situations that the high of the drug blanketed. Learning to accept these demons is part of the healing process in addiction recovery.
Additionally, acceptance of the self is vital in addiction recovery. Many times an addict experiences feelings of guilt brought on by their substance addiction. Accepting one’s flaws and deciding to move forward despite them gives the recovering addict room for growth. Focusing and lingering on past mistakes only inhibits an addict’s healing.
The Addict who Practices Acceptance in Recovery
Living a successful, sober life is much more than only refraining from using alcohol or drugs. It is learning to live life in a completely different way with a novel approach to life’s unexpected events. This includes learning to accept unchangeable situations in an addict’s life. Along with physical sobriety, an addict must learn to be emotionally sober throughout addiction recovery. This means that an addict doesn’t just refrain from using, but also seeks to manage one’s own emotions, behaviors, and even thoughts. The emotionally sober addict that practices acceptance:
- Keeps their emotions in check.
- Handles any situation life throws their way with grace.
- Lives in the present. They don’t fret about the past mistakes or potential future threats.
- Is able to manage their moods.
- Can handle stressful and confrontational situations.
- Maintain a strong relationships because of high self-acceptance.
- Retain a positive outlook on your life.
Using the Serenity Prayer to Gain Acceptance in Recovery
The serenity prayer is well-known, popularly used in alcohol addiction 12 step programs, but its benefits can be useful to anyone. Nonbelievers, drug addicts, and anyone going through a hard time can use and gain acceptance from reciting this prayer. It involves asking a supreme presence to give one the serenity to accept the things in life that cannot be changed, the courage to change the things that can be, and lastly, the wisdom to recognize the difference between the two.
Lingering on the unchangeable will only cause an addict to stay in one place. There is no forward motion to grieving and playing the victim forever. Recognizing that a situation cannot be changed is the first step to acceptance. When a negative situation can be changed, courage is needed for the task of changing it. Being able to understand the difference in what can and cannot be changed is a major part of gaining acceptance.
Strategies for Gaining Acceptance in Recovery
Meditation- Spend alone time with yourself and meditate on what you need to accept in your life. Realize the things in life that you cannot change. You should also imagine yourself moving on from these negative things.
Open Mindedness- Work on being open to new ways of dealing with emotions and situations. When dealing with new situations, try not to make assumptions.
Modesty- Know your limitations and weaknesses and accept them. It’s okay to be wrong. As a result of this acceptance, humble minds have an easier time accepting life’s difficulties.
Lose Control- Stop trying to control the fate of your own life. Work on becoming a better person each day and your destiny will eventually show itself to you.
Humanity- Realize that no one that you will ever meet is perfect. Lower your expectations of the people around you so that it is easier to accept when mishaps occur.