If you’re getting sober, you might be eager to get your life the way you want it. You might be excited about the future and happy that you have a second chance in life. You might also have some heavy feelings, like guilt or anger, but you’re willing to cope with those because of where you are now. Yet, at the same time, there might still be aspects of your life that are going to require a lot of work. There might even be parts of yourself that require a lot of work. Recovery may require a lot of accepting things the way they are.
Acceptance of Relationships
For instance, there might be accepting of family relationships and friendships that need to be just as they are. Although recovery is not a journey you can take alone, it’s essential that you have family and friends around you to provide support. You may want to have people in your life who can offer forms of support such as compassion, a listening ear, understanding, love, and acceptance. However, if the relationships around you have become distant or even broken, it may take time to repair those relationships. And it might require acceptance of the people in your life just the way they are.
This might be particularly true with parents. They may not have given you what you needed as you were growing up. They perhaps didn’t provide enough love or attention or even acceptance of you! Yet, accepting them as they are and knowing they did the best they could, can facilitate a greater relationship with them. And having a better relationship with them may give you some more support during your recovery.
Letting Go Is Part of the Process
Acceptance also facilitates letting go. However, letting go requires feeling safe. As you grow in your recovery, you might begin to feel safer in life. You may slowly learn that you can let go of some those old ways of coping with the world. Of course, this takes time. And there will continue to be circumstances and situations in which you find yourself reacting in old and familiar ways.
And here’s where the acceptance of yourself comes in. When you find yourself responding to life in the old ways – you’re having a craving, you’re easily triggered by things that generally don’t trigger you anymore – this is the time to accept yourself. In fact, recovery requires plenty of self-acceptance. Without it, you would continuously judge yourself for not being where you want to be. Without it, you would forever be holding yourself up against a certain standard.
Ways to Facilitate Self-Acceptance
One way to facilitate self-acceptance is to keep a journal and write in it on a regular basis. Journaling is a way to track your behavior. Journaling builds self-awareness and reduces the possibility of getting caught up in self-delusions. The circumstances in your life become clearer when written out on paper.
Occasionally, there will be times when you need to remind yourself to simply accept things as they are. Yet, for the most part, acceptance isn’t something you can will yourself to do. In a way, it happens naturally as you grow and change. Acceptance is side effect of the healing you do in recovery.