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!
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!
Posted on October 5, 2015, in Monday Meeting Miracles, Recovery and tagged 12 step, 12 step program, AA, Acceptance, Addiction, Alcoholics Anonymous, Alcoholism, Big Book, fellowship, Meeting, Miracle, Recovery, self-development, Sobriety, Twelve-Step Program. Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.