Acceptance is the key to peace of mind.

I remember reading a small blue pamphlet titled Acceptance a few months into my recovery from alcoholism. I was struck by its simplicity. And its gentleness. But I was even more impressed with its effect on my mind. After the initial reading of its amazingly loving message, I could pick it up and read only a line or two and feel my shoulders relax, my mind quiet down, and my dread of a situation or judgment of the person standing before me shift into a far more peaceful place. I carried that little booklet with me everywhere. For protection.

At that time I had not yet read the passage in the “Big Book” about acceptance, a passage that’s quoted by someone at nearly every meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous. That’s one of the common ideas that every recovering person cherishes in time. Unless we learn to accept our alcoholism, along with every situation which we cannot change, we are doomed to a life of restless discontent.

We all know people who are more discontent than peaceful. And each one of us knows that feeling too. But the introduction to acceptance, however it comes to us, changes our lives in an almost incomprehensible way. It’s an idea that completely frees me from my obsession to control another person or the outcome of a situation that’s meant for my enlightenment. Unfortunately, I have to keep remembering the freedom acceptance will offer me and practice it. It’s a tool, one that requires constant use.

There are so many opportunities, every day, to embrace acceptance. And every time we do grasp this tool, we get another taste of peace and serenity. Perhaps, had I understood the gift of the concept of acceptance early in my life, I would not have become alcoholic. And yet, I have no regrets about the twists and turns my life has taken. They brought me to you, the reader. They brought me to Hazelden and Conari, my publishers; they brought me to my spouse, Joe, and all the friends I cherish so much in 12 step rooms.

I wouldn’t want my life to be any other way. I do believe there are no accidents. And we end up where we need to be, on time. I also believe this same thing will be true until we take our last breath. It shouldn’t be hard to accept whatever happens tomorrow, next week or next year. Every experience and every person are part of my destiny. So what’s there to be concerned about? As far as I can see, nothing. Of course, what is true for me is true for you too. That’s a promise.

The mindset of acceptance is a choice. Not every choice lightens our load. But this one does. Absolutely.


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