Recovery Connections

John Schwary is CEO of Transitional Living Communities, a 850-bed recovery program he founded in Mesa, Arizona January 9, 1992 when he had a year sober. He's in his 27th year of recovery.

In these posts, he views life mostly through the lenses of recovery. While the blog is factual, he sometimes disguises events and people to protect anonymity.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Power of Acceptance

At the risk of being redundant I repeat that acceptance is one of the most powerful tools in the 12-step programs. On page 417 in the literature the author discusses acceptance quite extensively. It's an enlightening read for those who aren't familiar with it.

Acceptance is powerful because it brings us back to basics. When I’m in acceptance, no matter how painful it is, I have a new foundation. Once I'm there I can change my behavior or change the situation. But if I'm in denial and don't accept reality then things continue to be messy and confusing.

This came up today because a long-term resident got angry about being fired from a staff job, packed his clothes, and left. He called a day later and said something about "being kicked out." And then wanted to talk about it. But the reality is that there's not much to talk about if he's going to start the conversation with a lie.

His behavior reminded me of myself before I got sober. I never accepted the fact that I was an addict. Or an alcoholic. Everything was everyone else’s fault. I didn't accept responsibility for anything.

But an interesting thing happened when I finally got sober and accepted that I was an alcoholic and addict. My world changed. Opportunities opened up.. I stopped going to jail. My bank account grew because I wasn't taking money to the dope house. Within a year, I was able to start my own business. Family came back.

When and if I do talk to this former resident I’ll tell him what happened when I got into acceptance.. Maybe he'll listen.