The Role of Acceptance in Recovery From Alcohol Addiction

4 Reasons Why Acceptance is Essential to Your Recovery

The Role of Acceptance in Recovery From Alcohol Addiction

October 5, 2020

“When I stopped living in the problem and began living in the answer, the problem went away. From that moment on, I have not had a single compulsion to drink. And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today.

When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing or situation – some fact of my life – unacceptable to me. 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 my attitudes.” Alcoholics Anonymous (Big Book), 4th Edition, P. 417

The dictionary defines acceptance as the act of taking or receiving something offered–favorable reception; the act of assenting or believing: acceptance of a theory. The fact or state of being accepted or acceptable. You know what acceptance is, you can think through acceptance, but how can one really begin to practice acceptance in a way that supports their recovery?

Understand the importance of acceptance

Acceptance is necessary for your healing process. To practice acceptance, you must acknowledge all of the uncomfortable parts of yourself: your emotions, your thoughts, and your past.

Practicing acceptance is kind of taking care of the dirty clothes hamper in your room. Throughout the weeks, you fill it with your clothes and it piles up. Work is tiring, cleaning the rest of the house is enough of a chore, and life keeps getting in the way. You know that the hamper is there, but you’ve been ignoring the real mess of clothes inside.

After enough time passes, you may even forget that you own some of the clothes at the bottom of that basket. Finally, the day comes when you acknowledge that the corner of your room is a real mess, you’re short on clothes, and it’s time to do laundry.

As you take out each piece to wash them and hang them, you’re acknowledging the separate pieces of the mess, and accepting the situation and the tasks necessary to clean up—much when you take your personal inventory and accept that you are imperfect, that there are parts of yourself and your psyche that you must work to heal.

Recognize the gifts of acceptance

As you grow and practice acceptance towards yourself, you’re able to be more accepting of others.

When we make peace with the fact that everything is exactly the way it is supposed to be in the present moment, you can make peace with the variables of life around you, including other people.

Compassion gives you the ability to grow in your own regard, while you also aid in other’s personal journey to self-acceptance.

Embrace the freedom of acceptance

Acceptance—though not an effortless task—is a freeing habit. Anxiety, stress, and depression can often be caused by the unwillingness to make peace with the terms of life. It is human nature to think that one can control and manipulate all of the components of reality, but you simply cannot. Peace and true serenity can only be found once you accept life on life’s terms.

As you find yourself troubled, upset by day to day struggles, situations, and others, remind yourself of the component of the serenity prayer in which you ask for the courage to change. When you’re feeling dissatisfied in those moments, figure out what you can change about yourself to accept the situations and people as they are in that exact moment.

After acceptance, comes gratitude

It’s important to remember that acceptance is not synonymous with tolerance. Acceptance is not the reluctant sigh at the end of a stressful day, nor the disgruntled statement, “it is what it is,” or “this is just who I am,” No, acceptance is total mindfulness grounded in reality.

Acceptance is the realization that your suffering, your anxieties, and stressors, are exacerbated in the moments in which you believe that you can successfully live your life or handle your recovery on your own terms. As you learn to accept and make peace with the way things are in this very moment, you step your own way and step forward on the path to growth.

The more often you practice acceptance, the more you will see that each moment has a purpose, a lesson to teach you, a reason for unfolding the way that it does. As you stay present in those moments and genuinely accept them, you may work to find ways to be grateful for life on life’s terms, further strengthening your recovery and improving your quality of day to day life.


For more information, resources, and encouragement, ‘’ the Fellowship Hall page and follow us on Instagram at @FellowshipHallNC.

About Fellowship Hall
Fellowship Hall is a 99-bed, private, not-for-profit alcohol and drug treatment center located on 120 tranquil acres in Greensboro, N.C.

We provide treatment and evidence-based programs built upon the Twelve-Step model of recovery. We have been accredited by The Joint Commission since 1974 as a specialty hospital and are a member of the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers.

We are committed to providing exceptional, compassionate care to every individual we serve.


Understanding AA: Acceptance and Coping with Alcoholism

The Role of Acceptance in Recovery From Alcohol Addiction

Acceptance is one of the most difficult but important things to understand in order to achieve long lasting recovery from alcoholism. This means learning to relinquish your control, realize your limitations, and face reality.

Acceptance is one of the biggest subjects discussed The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous,

and probably the most quoted in all of recovery literature. Here are several quotes from Alcoholics Anonymous as well as several other sources that explore the theme of acceptance.

“When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, or 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.” pg.417 – The Big Book

“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.” pg. 430 – The Big Book

“Recovery is an acceptance that your life is in shambles and you have to change.” – Jamie Lee Curtis

When we allow ourselves to live in the moment and perceive what is happening non-judgmentally, we begin to understand the concept of acceptance and move towards happiness. This involves not just logical acceptance of what is going on, but also emotional acceptance.

Acceptance in AA for Alcoholism

When we deny the disease of alcohol dependence, when we guilt ourselves over the illness, and when we fight it with all our being, we increase the risk of relapse. It’s natural to experience these feelings, but we must work to understand the powerlessness of the alcoholic over alcohol. Continual anger, shame, fear, and self-pity are signs that you haven’t fully accepted your disease.

Through professional counseling, therapy, or attending Alcoholics Anonymous, people can learn to recognize when they are denying the reality of alcohol use. Usually, this stems from poor decision making and coping skills developed in adolescence. However, with help, individuals can devise healthy strategies that promote acceptance and encourage recovery.

Once you realize the importance of acceptance in coping with an alcohol use disorder, it is important for you to reach out and get help, if you have not already.

Fortunately, there are a number of treatment options available at your disposal. The first step should be to talk with your primary care provider.

They can help provide you with a diagnosis, treatment referrals, and whether further medication or psychiatric care may be necessary.

The Benefits of Acceptance

Acceptance is such an important component of addiction recovery that it is actually used as a specific therapy.

Known as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, this form of treatment consists of six core processes that use mindfulness techniques to foster and deepen acceptance.

Mindfulness and acceptance go hand in hand because they center around being present in the moment and allowing the world to be the way it is. According to researchers Duke University:

“Mindfulness has been associated with: higher levels of life satisfaction, agreeableness, conscientiousness, vitality, self-esteem, empathy, a sense of autonomy, competence, optimism, and pleasant affect.

Studies have also demonstrated significant negative correlations between mindfulness and depression, neuroticism, absent-mindedness, dissociation, rumination, cognitive reactivity, social anxiety, difficulties in emotion regulation, experiential avoidance, alexithymia, intensity of delusional experience in the context of psychosis and general psychological symptoms.”

What is Alcoholics Anonymous?

For those suffering from the disease of alcoholism, there is hope in the form of Alcoholics Anonymous. This organization has helped people around the world struggling with a substance abuse disorder to find clarity, peace, and a positive framework for sobriety.

Originally founded in 1935 in Akron, Ohio, A.A. defines itself as an international fellowship of men and women whose stated purpose is to enable its members to “stay sober and help other alcoholics achieve sobriety”.

Support groups are available across the world, attendance and participation is free, and upwards of 2 million people are members.

Understanding the 12 Steps

The 12 Steps of AA make up the foundation of the program and are what members use in order to achieve and maintain sobriety. It is not required that members follow these 12 Steps, but they are encouraged to try and read them as they have helped past members to get sober.

The basic idea of the 12 Steps is that it gives alcoholics a process through which they can understand and manage their disease, as well as provide social support for discussing issues related to alcoholism that they find difficult to talk about in daily life.

According to the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, cognitive restructuring, wherein people change their behavior patterns, is an important element of substance abuse treatment. The 12 Steps are as follows:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol — that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

What are the 12 Traditions?

In addition to the 12 Steps, Alcoholics Anonymous also provides members with the 12 Traditions.

These traditions were written down in order to give members a framework for managing and making the most of the Alcoholics Anonymous program. These traditions help provide answers as to how A.A.

can best function, how A.A. can continue to thrive, and the purpose behind meetings. The 12 Steps are as follows:

  1. Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon A.A. unity.
  2. For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority — a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.
  3. The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.
  4. Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or A.A. as a whole.
  5. Each group has but one primary purpose — to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.
  6. An A.A. group ought never endorse, finance or lend the A.A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
  7. Every A.A. group ought to be fully self supporting, declining outside contributions.
  8. Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers.
  9. A.A., as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.
  10. Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the A.A. name ought never be drawn into public controversy.
  11. Our public relations policy is attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio and films.
  12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.

Next Steps

If you found yourself struggling with the acceptance of alcoholism, then we strongly recommend checking out your local Alcoholics Anonymous organization or checking into a residential or outpatient treatment center. Seek treatment sooner than later, as alcohol use disorder tends to worsen if left unchecked.

At Landmark Recovery, we advocate for any treatment program that shows in success in helping people achieve and maintain sobriety. As such, we advocate for 12 Step recovery solutions as well as agnostic treatment programs such as SMART Recovery.

Get in contact with our admissions team today to get more information about treatment options, or to simply talk with someone who can understand the situation and offer love and support. For more addiction resources, check out the Landmark blog.

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The Power Of Acceptance In Recovery From Addiction

The Role of Acceptance in Recovery From Alcohol Addiction

When your life has been impacted by addiction, it’s easy to beat yourself up and feel excessive shame. But that kind of behavior will never drive you to commit to the life-long process of beating your addiction. Instead, you need to master the art of personal acceptance.

By accepting who you are, the nature of your drug addiction, and the ways in which you can beat it, you are giving yourself the power and the confidence to defeat the stranglehold of addiction. Acceptance gives you the strength to pry back the choking fingers of addiction away from your throat and give your lungs access to the glorious and life-giving air of sobriety.

What Is Acceptance?

Acceptance is an opening of your heart to the realities of life and to the ways in which you have been impacted by your life choices.

It means you don’t fight against the realities of your life, but accept them for what they are and use them to grow as a person and move forward in life.

It’s a major part of becoming a better person emotionally and spiritually and it can serve as a huge boost in recovery.

No less an expert in healing than Deepak Chopra had this to say about acceptance: “Nothing brings down walls as surely as acceptance.” These beautiful words can serve as a milestone for mastering the art of acceptance. It isn’t about actively fighting your life’s circumstances, but allowing the river of life to flow through you.

If that sounds a little too New Age for your taste, just think of acceptance as a way to forgive yourself for the problems caused by your drug addiction. You’ll no longer be agonizing over the mistakes you made, the people you hurt, and the so-called failures that you feel were caused by your addiction. With acceptance, you can forgive yourself for these concerns and heal your heart.

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How Acceptance Heals

Learning how to accept your addiction as a part of your life can help you isolate its causes and move past them. Addiction is often called a “monkey on the back,” but treating it as something that you should be ashamed of or something that is your control only gives your addiction the power to master you.

Acceptance breaks that control by giving you an honest assessment of the nature of addiction and heals the emotional and spiritual wounds which you have suffered. Your pain is very real as are the problems of your addiction. Acceptance doesn’t minimize the severity of these problems but helps you understand that they can be conquered.

Moving through the process of acceptance can help you heal in the following way:

  • Honestly appraise your life
  • Move past guilt, anger, and depression
  • Learn lessons from your mistakes
  • Apply those lessons to future decisions
  • Teach you stronger feelings of empathy
  • Open your heart to personal forgiveness

Basically, you’ll be looking at your addiction through clearer eyes, eyes that can now identify the personal weaknesses that contributed to your addiction and the strengths that can help you beat it. Everyone has personal strengths that they can use to improve their lives and accepting those can give you the self-esteem and the courage you need to recover.

What Can Derail Your Acceptance

On your path to discovering acceptance, it is easy to get derailed or off-track. This is especially true if you’re fighting a debilitating condition an addiction. The following problems often follow people who are recovering from addiction and make it more difficult for them to gain acceptance:

  • Relapse into use
  • Personal grievances in hurt friends or family members
  • Clinical depression and anxiety
  • Struggles with a career or school
  • Guilt that you’re struggling to defeat
  • Exposure to negativity
  • Difficulty adjusting to life outside of rehab

The key to recovering from these problems with acceptance is to simply get back on track. Yes, you might get bucked off the horse of acceptance by any of these nagging problems. But acceptance is calm and forgiving stead and it will stand by your side calmly and wait for you to get back on. And any horse with riding, acceptance can be calmed and tamed to your own personal use.

How You Can Develop Life-Changing Acceptance

Anyone can obtain the acceptance they need to change their life and beat their addiction. Let me repeat that: ANYONE can! That means you, my friend. All it takes is an honest mind and a little hard work. But maybe you need to a little help getting pointed in the right direction. Follow these practices to master the skills necessary to gain personal acceptance:

  • Mindfulness meditation – This practice is designed to make your more “present” in your daily life and to feel a more peaceful and relaxed state of mind.
  • Create a beginner’s mind – What is a beginner’s mind? It is the state of mind you feel when you begin a new task without understanding anything about it. Your mind is free of biases and opinions about that task. Obtaining this state of mind is crucial for acceptance.
  • Practice humility – Humility is the understanding that you have limitations and may require help. Accepting this part of your life can give you a stronger sense of your strengths and open you up to getting the help you need to recover.
  • Understand your fallibility – I make mistakes. You make mistakes. Making mistakes is a part of life. Your addiction is a mistake. But all mistakes, there is a solution. Accepting that you made a mistake and taking charge of healing from it will aide your recovery.

Learning acceptance is all about having the personal grace to master your addiction and gain the clearness of focus you need for a successful recovery. The best part is that you can master acceptance in your own unique way: you don’t need to follow a strict formula. Gaining acceptance with your own path is a crucial part of your recovery journey.

Dedicate Yourself To Mastering Acceptance

By now, it should be obvious that acceptance is absolutely necessary for your recovery journey. While we know that you have the strength to do it on your own, you might not feel confident enough to take it on by yourself. That’s where we can step in and help. At, we have the tools you need to recover from addiction. Contact us today.


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