M(3), 10/5/15: Has It Been 3 Years Already?

It seems almost absurd to say this, but today we celebrated the 3 year anniversary of my Monday morning meeting.  I know it’s trite but… where the heck did the time go?

Plus over the weekend my husband and I celebrated 16 years of wedded bliss, so it’s been a commemorative few days!

Due to the celebratory nature of the meeting, and possibly because there were copious baked goods, the mood was festive this morning, with a nice sized crowd to boot.

Because it is the first Monday of the month, and because we are commemorating the birth of this meeting, and because I personally can’t read it often enough, I selected the story Acceptance is the Answer from the Personal Stories section of book Alcoholics Anonymous.  If you’ve ever read this blog before, then you know this is my favorite story in the Big Book; I’d read it every Monday if I could get away with it.  Which I wouldn’t, because the meeting regulars would vote me out if I did.  It was the very first reading I selected 3 years ago, and I get something new out of it each time I read it.

For those unfamiliar with the story, here is the seminal paragraph.  Most 12-step regulars will know the page on which to find it:


And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today.
When I am disturbed,
It is because I find some person, place, thing, 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.


What’s so great about this story, and the reason I go back to this particular well time and time again, is that the message is universal.  On any given day, there are no less than a dozen things I am struggling to accept:  how my children are behaving, the weather, why some electronic device is not working correctly, traffic, how my clothes fit, someone who calls too much, someone who doesn’t call enough, the state of the world, the state of my house.

All the tremendous energy it takes me to worry, complain, be irritated, plan out the various scenarios by which I make the world as I see fit… where does it get me?  Almost without fail, it gets me to the same spot I was in before I started.  That is to say, I am left with the same children misbehaving, poor weather, faulty electronics, and so on.

And so, acceptance is the answer.

Anniversaries provide the opportunity to reflect back through the time they are commemorating.  I can say, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that the happiest time periods in the last three years were those spent consciously practicing acceptance on a regular basis.  Conversely, the periods filled with the most strife were the opposite:  I was railing against something or someone who I believed had done me dirty.

The lack of acceptance which has proved the most challenging for me personally has been self-acceptance.  Again, I can look back on times when practicing self-acceptance has brought about miracles in my life, sobriety being the most obvious. The simple acceptance that chemical alteration does more harm than good allowed me to live in the solution, rather than living in the problem of active addiction.

This blog in an ongoing testament to the power of living in the solution.

Yet even with this knowledge, wisdom that has been almost beaten into my head, I am still erratic with both acceptance in general, and self-acceptance in particular.  Why is it so?  I’m sure there’s a variety of answers, both psychological and practical, that would account for lack of consistency.  I guess I just need to practice acceptance that it takes me so long to practice acceptance!

Today’s Miracle:

As is the case every time I select this reading, a woman sat in amazement today, because this story was so timely for her.  This story is the gift that keeps on giving!

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Posted on October 5, 2015, in Monday Meeting Miracles, Recovery and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

  1. Beautiful!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks Anne, hope you are well 🙂

    Like

  3. Your posts always lighten my day.
    Over the past 2 months I have developed a consistent morning meditation practice.

    One form of meditation involves retreating a phrase on mantra. I use the serenity prayer and usually repeat it 54 times (half my mala) followed by 54 repetitions of serenity, courage, wisdom.

    I swear the routine has helped me bring acceptance and serenity into my days. Including a realization that I am overdoing thing and need a little restoration and nurturing.

    We all need reminders that things are exactly as they are supposed to be.

    Thank you!

    Anne

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Happy Anniversary(s)! I’ve noticed that acceptance comes easier for me now, and acceptance brings me peace: a great payoff!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Lori. The anniversary is for my meeting; God willing, I’ll be celebrating my sober anniversary in January.

      It is uplifting to hear people write of their progress with acceptance; it gives me hope in my own progress!

      Thanks for the comment, hope you are well!

      Like

  5. Untipsyteacher

    Wow!
    Happy Sober Birthday!
    Happy Anniversary!
    Acceptance of the “world as is” rather than the “world as Wendy wants” is something I will be working on until…forever!
    xo
    Wendy

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Wendy. It’s my meeting’s birthday, not mine, I celebrate my sober anniversary in January!

      And yep, I’m right there with you on the forever work of acceptance. But I’d like to think just our acknowledgement of that fact is progress 🙂

      Here’s hoping we do a decent job of accepting the world “as is” today!

      Like

  6. I have a question on this. When we were at the movies yesterday these two ladies talked incessantly. I tried to accept it, but about half way through I complained to the manager. (They stopped for about 15 minutes and then were back at it!) Maybe this is petty, but I really wanted to be accepting. Is this the kind of thing that I should have accepted because I can’t change other’s behaviors? I think about this & since I’m just learning a little about this AA stuff you are my AA Yoda.

    Liked by 1 person

    • First, I spit out my coffee at being called AA Yoda. Then I considered changing my gravatar to an image of Yoda, then I laughed even harder. So thank you for giving me my first laugh of the day!

      Now, on to your issue. It is an interesting one, and reminds me of a conversation I had with some women after the meeting. A woman was complaining to me about another meeting attendee to whom I (apparently) hadn’t paid attention. According to the woman, he spent the entire hour looking at his phone, and she was highly irritated by this. He KNOWS that is not proper etiquette, and she was so distraught she had a hard time paying attention.

      My response was to let her know that he was reading the Big Book from his phone, because we had run out of books. She said that explains the first half, but what about when we were sharing?!? I did not have a ready answer for this.

      My other friend who was part of the conversation said this to her: this is a perfect opportunity to put the teachings of the reading into practice! Instead of focusing on your irritation, get curious about it… why is is bothering you so much? What is is triggering within you to cause this emotion?

      Now in the case of the movie theater, the answer could be the obvious one: “I paid good money for this ticket, and the lack of common courtesy displayed by my fellow movie goers is preventing me from enjoying this movie.” That sounds reasonable, and it also sounds like you took the best possible action in that scenario. That woman continuing to be rude… I suppose you could continue to bring in the manager, but then you’re disrupting your movie experience anyway, so we’re back to acceptance again!

      I don’t think the intention of acceptance is to become a doormat. Rather, it’s to force us to take a closer look at ourselves, and why things affect us as they do. For me at least, the stronger the reaction I have to something, the more that reaction has to tell me what’s going on inside.

      Boy I hope this reply helped, and not rambled like I fear it did 🙂

      Like

      • I think that doormat thing is what I needed clarifying. It is hard for me – a super aggressive personality – to get this acceptance thing. I feel like I’m losing my honesty. Thanks!! In the words of AA Yoda “Acceptance does not a doormat make.”

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Congratulations Josie!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you for this post Josie…I had a rough day and reflecting on your post has brought me some peace and comfort.
    Jenn

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jenn!!! So great to hear from you, and I’m sorry you had a rough day. I have actually been thinking about you. I’m not on this blog’s reader as much as I would like, so would need to play a fair amount of catch-up, but I remember you and I bonding over issues with food. A book has been introduced to me, and I’m going to start it (hopefully) in about 2 weeks. So I can’t personally endorse it, but I’ve been hearing it speaks to our issues surrounding peace with food and our bodies. The author is Marianne Williamson, and the book is A Course in Weight Loss.

      Perhaps you’ve moved on; if so, feel free to disregard! But if you’re still investigating these issues, google the book and author and see if it’s something that appeals!

      Like

      • Actually, I have the book…someone gave it to me but I haven’t read it yet. Lately, I haven’t been reading anything…which is unusual for me since I have about a 1000 books in my house! Anyhow, thank you for thinking of me. I have been finding some peace lately with my food/fitness issues…I’ve been focusing first self-compassion, self-love, and overall healing…I’m finding that I’m enjoying losing weight/exercise and tracking my food now because I’m doing it with an attitude of self-compassion and self-discovery…And I’m learning a lot about myself. The process sometimes leaves me a little raw since I’m learning to live without the crutch of overeating often.
        Anyway I could talk/write about this subject for hours. I’m glad you reminded me about the book…thank you!
        Jenn

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I recently quoted that same passage in my blog – must be this month’s quote du jour!
    Congrats on the 3 years and the 16 years – also the last 3 years of that – well done. I often think a marriage surviving the drinking is special – one that sustained a recovery as well is frankly awesome!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the comment, just went over and read your post (and corrected the problem of not following you!), and it really helped me to formulate an answer to another question!

      The 3 year anniversary is of the birth of my Monday meeting. I celebrate my sober anniversary in January. So stay tuned for another couple of months, and I’ll celebrate again!

      Finally, agreed on the miracle of a marriage that can sustain the weight of alcoholism. I remain eternally grateful!

      Like

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