By Tim D., Renascent Alumni
I would like to share with you my experience with “acceptance” and how it has played a huge part in my sobriety and how I use it as a tool in my toolbox. I have been battling with trying to stay sober for 12 years with countless relapses. I tried everything to stay sober. I was finally at the end of my rope and feeling absolutely hopeless after my final drink on February 8th, 2022. It was strongly suggested I go to AA meetings and follow the “12 Step Program.” I tried this program before and thrashed it around and discovered I was not open or willing to change. Call it Ego! I was also and still am kicked out of the house to figure my s–t out and hence my marriage is in jeopardy.
After taking some very strong advice from some one who was 26 yrs sober…. I decided to give AA another chance….this time with an open mind and very willing! In my first month of sobriety I was very thrilled with AA and the things I was learning in “Discussion Meetings” with people’s shares and my shares. I went to one meeting, if not several meetings a day (and I still do). It’s now a part of my life. However, in my first 40 days I was still feeling self-pity, wallowing in a depressive mood, suffering self loathing especially when it came to thoughts about my marriage.
I went to my wife’s birthday dinner in mid March at a very nice restaurant with my mother-in-law, and one of my sons. I found I was ignored for most of the evening from conversation and not feeling as part of the family. I also noticed my wife took off her rings off, and this threw me into a spiral. I was miserable and wanted out. I got home and cried, and I just felt horrible.
I went to an AA meeting the next day and I shared with everyone what happened the night before, and I cried through the share. Then a person after me shared how “control and acceptance” had worked for him. I listened intently to the share, but nothing clicked yet. Then… in the middle of the afternoon I had my A-HA moment. I played how I needed to use “Acceptance” as a tool in my toolbox of recovery. I had to accept that I had to let the evening go. I had to accept that I could not control how my wife was going to treat me, and it was not her fault. I also accepted that I was the one that put us in this situation. I had to accept that I needed to control my behaviour and sobriety. I accepted that I needed to change. As I am playing all this in my mind, and asking and answering questions….my head did a 180 from self pity to feeling comfortable with myself. The grey clouds cleared!! I felt amazing. I couldn’t believe how great I felt. How acceptance had changed my mood. “Acceptance” has changed who I am today. It has led to patience and tolerance…taking my foot off the gas pedal of life.
I feel comfort and joy with life when I practice and use acceptance everyday for all situations. I shared this same story to a Renascent counsellor one night in one of my sessions…. and she asked if I read page 417 in the Big Book. I said no, but I will now….I had no idea how relevant and coincidental this was to my story. My higher power showed me acceptance before I read about it in the Big Book. A big A-Ha moment!