Friday, September 9, 2016

Acceptance Is Awareness Without Fear

At last, acceptance proved to be the key to my drinking problem. After I had been around A.A. for seven months, tapering off alcohol and pills, not finding the program working very well, I was finally able to say, “Okay, God. It is true that I—of all people, strange as it may seem, and even though I didn’t give my permission—really, really am an alcoholic of sorts. And it’s all right with me. Now, what am I going to do about it?” When I stopped living in the problem and began living in the answer, the problem went away. From that moment on, I have not had a single compulsion to drink.
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. Nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in God’s world by mistake. Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober; unless I accept life completely on life’s terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.
Acceptance is the singular requirement for enjoying peace, joy, and serenity. Being accepted in Alcoholics Anonymous – truly accepted just as I was – transformed me. I had never experienced that before. I haven’t had a drink since nor have I been the same since. But what is acceptance?
You may recall I have written before stating that, for me, acceptance is a better word than love, because “love” is such an overused word. But what is acceptance? What does it mean? I’ve met a lot of resistance (from myself and from others) about accepting someone or something that is met with aversion or abhorrence. Many feel that to accept something or someone is the same as approving. It is not. Many feel that it is impossible for them to really accept because whoever or whatever it is is so distasteful or disliked. Acceptance is not “liking” someone or something. Many are afraid of accepting someone because it means they might be getting away with something they shouldn’t. Acceptance does not mean simply saying, “That’s okay.”
So, what is it? What does it mean to accept someone or something.
I recently read a definition of Acceptance that really resonated with me. The author (Doug Bennett, What Color Socks Does God Wear? 2015, p. 74-5) was discussing the importance of being aware and accepting of what is. We’ve all heard this admonishment many times. Let it go. It is what it is. Just relax and accept. But Bennett notes how hard that is. From my own experience I concur.
He continues: “I can define acceptance as awareness without fear. Fear distorts our perception of reality, or at least encourages unhealthy perceptions of reality. Allowing ‘everything’ into awareness requires that we get around our fears that are keeping so much of our reality out of our awareness. In spite of that difficulty, I believe that learning to be aware and accepting is an easier task than trying to change our learned perceptions that are based in serious fear.”
As I’ve stated before, “I have to understand, on a visceral level, who the “Me” or “I” really is when I am speaking or thinking. The “I” that says to myself, “I really need a newer, more reliable car” is a different “I” than the one that says to my Holy Spirit, “I can’t do this anymore; help me perceive things the way You see them.”

#2 Sep 2016
Copyright 2016
PS: This will be my last message this September. I will be out of the country.

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