“And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation “some fact of my life” unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment.” ~ Alcoholics Anonymous: Big Book pg. 417
When I look back at the last two years of my life and the lives of those that journey down the road of recovery, I see how much more pleasant the outcome is when I accept people, places, and things exactly as they are. For years I thought if the people in my life would conduct themselves the way I saw fit, things would go much smoother. Perhaps everyone else was not the problem, but I was. Learning to practice acceptance in my daily affairs has only proven to be successful when it follows suite to surrender. At least once a day, I encounter a situation that doesn’t align with my plan of action. When I refuse to accept things as they are, chaos ensues. From the aggressive drivers on my commute to work to the unplanned cancer diagnosis of a family member, there’s an overwhelming weight and stress lifted when I accept the outcome of any and all circumstances looming over me.
For as long as I can remember, I reveled in rebellion and my stubbornness. This would later prove to be the cause of 99.9% of the chaos and pain I experienced. I was defiant against anything that disrupted the fantasy world I inhabited in my mind. If someone wronged me, I’d spend an ungodly amount of time trying to understand why. I drove myself into the gates of insanity fighting against reality and trying to alter life as I knew it. “If only I could change this or that, then I’d be much happier.” I was living a lie and oh how comforting that could be. After all, I couldn’t accept much of anything. Little did I know, I was standing in my own way all the while.
The insanity: I wore it like a warm blanket. Chaos was all I’d ever known, and I was far too comfortable to jump ship. I never accepted the reality of what my life was or what it had become. I fought to create a reality that didn’t exist, rather than accepting things exactly as they are. I would cringe every time I heard the word surrender. I naturally had this misconception that to surrender was a sign of weakness. My distaste for authoritative figures and ideas played a major role in my prejudice against this concept. It was quite the contrary, and I would learn the hard way. I was convinced that I wasn’t the real addict. Surrounded by addicts whose experience was far different from mine, I immediately separated myself as “different than”. After all, I had real chronic pain and my diagnosis came from a doctor I trusted. I’m not like them, I am prescribed opiates, I need them. My jaded thought process ultimately led to my relapse. I thought I could “drink like a lady” and this defiance catapulted me right back into full-blown addiction. It wasn’t until I surrendered to the idea that I was no different from the next addict, that I got to taste the blissful promises of recovery. In order to be freed from addiction (or the bondage of my indisposed thoughts) I have to completely surrender to a new way of life.
In early recovery I had the misconception that with each milestone came a specific construct of what my life should look like. The lies of perfectionism always cultivated a perfect foundation upon which I became utterly engulfed in victimization. I’d set impossible standards and when I didn’t reach them, I’d relish in self pity and sabotage everything. I remember sitting in a caseload group, crippled with anxiety, and when the therapist asked why I was anxious, I was perplexed by the ridiculous expectations I had placed on myself. “Well I feel like I shouldn’t be anxious. I feel like I should be happy and have a home ready for my son. I feel like my mom would still be here if it weren’t for me leaving for church and leaving her alone with Liam” Mind you, I was still checked into an intensive inpatient program, with only 23 days sober. Attached to the superhuman expectations I set, was a ton of guilt and shame. I legitimately believed my mom would still be alive if only I had been home to “save” her. Oh the webs we weave! I defiantly flirted with the idea that I had to fix everything, rather than letting God’s plan unfold the way it is supposed to.
After enough pain, I finally started to accept that I, alone, was solely responsible for myself and the reality I created. I finally came to the conclusion that I was not in control of anyone other than myself. The role of an omniscient Director, was high above my pay grade. I didn’t have to have all of the answers, I just had to find acceptance and embrace the peace that followed. Demolishing my thinking and warped self image, grace found me. I fell in love with myself for the first time. Think of the concept of a flower blooming through concrete, that was me. I now have two years sober, and I live a life I never would have imagined. I have two beautiful children and we live 5 minutes from the beach. My relationships, with the people that mean the most, have become the foundational support from which I get to chase after my dreams and unabashedly live life to the fullest. I spend my days spreading awareness on the disease of addiction through a recovery based web marketing company, founded by other addicts just like me. Daily, I use my torturous experiences to share hope and bring light into the darkest places.
Photo is Creative Commons from pixabay
Guest Author Bio
Tricia Moceo is an Outreach Specialist for Recovery Local, a local addiction/recovery based marketing company. She advocates long-term sobriety by writing for websites like louisvilledrugrehab.com, providing resources to recovering addicts and shedding light on the disease of addiction. Tricia is a mother of two, actively involved in her local recovery community, and is passionate about helping other women find hope in seemingly hopeless situations.