Saturday, March 8, 2014

The difference between #acceptance & #approval

Back when I was convinced I was an alcoholic, (15 years sober until my doctor proved to me that I could do what Alcoholics Anonymous calls "controlled drinking", i.e., I really can "take it or leave it") I studied the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous like it was my Bible. I was dedicated, and I was going to do sobriety "right" (what ever that means! Lol). My edition of the big book is the 3rd, so my copy it's page 449, newer additions will be different. But it's a story by a doctor/pharmacist (yes, he was both!) and it has a really great passage on acceptance. It goes like this:

Page 449 (3rd edition...)

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, 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 no 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.

When I first read that, I thought: D'oh! Busted.... That is *exactly* what is wrong with me and my life. and that's what originally brought me to choose sobriety, even though at the tender age of 19, I wasn't even legal to drink! I even went so far as to go through an out-patient (because I volunteered) sobriety program called Edgewood in St. Louis! But when my health problems started, it became very clear I couldn't say no to drugs anymore.

Now, A.A. Has a number of publications, and one of them is called Living Sober and in there is a story about an alcoholic who had to have surgery and was afraid of taking pain pills (like me). A.A. gave me an easy to follow rule: if you're in pain --- take the medication. If you're not in pain --- DON'T take the medication. Easy, right? Problem is.... Pain can become it's own disease and when pain goes chronic, using short-term pain killers is actually what you *don't* want to do...

But back to acceptance. In my many travels, I actually got to meet Dr. Paul O. before he died, and at the time I was dealing with migraines and I was being treated like a drug-seeker, even though I was open about my recovery, had a sponsor, was holding meetings, the works! I told him, I just can't do it.... I can't forgive these doctors for how they've treated me! How do I accept this? I'm being tortured by chronic pain!!!

That's when he said to me: "Acceptance is NOT Approval."

See, if I'm driving down the road, and the car in front of me slams on it's breaks, I may not Approve of them doing that.... But if I don't Accept that they've slammed on the brakes and act Accordingly, I'll end up in a wreck!!!

So it really is a choice, my attitude. But that doesn't mean I have to like the choice I'm given!!! I can accept my illness, but I don't have to try and Enjoy it! Lol

That's just nuts!

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