Friday, April 2, 2010

Acceptance is the answer

Barbara had a comment on yesterday's post that I wanted to address.  She wrote:
"This party is a one time event...the LAST party you will every attend with these people. A party for YOU. She is saying she won't go because she's not comfortable around those people, but what about you? Doesn't it matter how you feel? Can't she consider giving up one night to discomfort to stand by her man at his retirement party?"

This was an excellent comment.  It made me realize how far I have come with my recovery.  I did feel some pangs of disappointment when C. didn't want to go, but I understood.  I accepted her answer.  And I felt no resentment.  I think about what the Big Book says about acceptance:
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.

By accepting that I don't need to change another person, or brow beat them until they do what I want, I keep my serenity.  By admitting that I have no power over the decisions of another or situations that are baffling, then those things hold no power over me. Accepting the decisions of others doesn't mean that I have to agree, like it, or ignore it.  It simply means that I am powerless to make someone do what I want.  I just accept that.  It is reality and not fantasy. 

By accepting that I can make some decisions and take action about what I'm going to do, then I start living life in an active way.  This is such an important lesson for my recovery.  If I give in to wishing that things were different, or start asking the self-pitying "why me?", then I no longer have any serenity. 

Barbara was worried that I might be angry at her comment.  Contrary to being angry,  I feel much closer to Barbara because she was honest in what she asked.  She wrote from her heart.  That is another gift of this program. When I write or speak honestly without a mask, then I have stopped being a counterfeit person who tries to please others at my expense. 

I am making this a Good Friday here. 


    1. I think what I'm so impressed with here is the turn around time. This acceptance appears to have happened literally overnight. Wow Syd. Thanks for being a shining beacon of the program. I know the AA program is slightly different from the Al-Anon one, but the basic principles are the same. And I would be very much more serene indeed if I could accept things as rapidly and thoroughly as you seem to.

    2. Acceptance really is the key. Excellent post today.

    3. Yay team!

      It's great when it works the way that it is supposed to work - thanx so much for the demonstration.

      Blessings and aloha...

    4. To thine own self be true...
      That is what I see you doing. Operating within reality.

    5. Yes indeed. Accept and move on and take care of yourself. I like that just because you are in a relationship doesn't mean you are joined at the hip and need to do things just because the other wants it. Like Barbara, I wondered why your retirement party wasn't seen as something to attend for your sake, but since I don't live inside her I don't judge her decision to go with you. So unlike Barbara I was glad to see you make other arrangements and not resent the decision not to attend. Very healthy.

    6. Syd,Great message,I am glad that I read it.I also want to thank you for the supportive comments that you leave on my postins.I am sorry that I have been lax in commenting back to you.

    7. I was out of the loop yesterday so I had to read your blog about "The Lone Coyote". You nailed it today when you adjusted your attitude, took care of yourself and realized what you needed for serenity. You will not be alone, we are never truly alone. Thanks for walking the walk!

    8. Acceptance for me is much easier now because I no longer want to be in pain for days or weeks at a time. What freedom..even when I don't necessarily *like* it...I do accept it. Have a wonderful party!!


    9. I find as I age, I pick my battles more carefully. I have long learned that you can't control everything except yourself. I am with you, one night is not worth fighting over and if she does not enjoy going, then you would not want her to be there anyway. Who would even remember it a year from now. It is a Good Friday!

    10. I'm glad my comment inspired this post to hear the thoughts and reasoning behind your acceptance. I think its easier for me to accept something in my own life (like if I were in your shoes) than it is for me to see someone else be hurt (which is what I perceived you would feel). But as always, you are working your program and living in serenity because of it and I am one of the many who is learning a lot through all you share here :)

    11. Thanks, everyone, for sharing from the heart. I love, love, love it!
      Many blessings,

    12. This is a BIG issue for me. I too have learned to ask someone else to come along when my spouse doesn't want to. I suspect some of my friends & neighbors think my spouse is imaginary, or has some kind of weird skin disease and doesn't want to be seen in public... but that's their issue, not mine. I go where I want to, and I've made my peace with the fact that often I go alone. (It helps that when I drag him along unwillingly, we're both miserable. Once I said to him, "Why can't you be like Michelle Obama and come along with a gracious smile?" And he fired right back "Because you are no Barack Obama." Hmm. Good point.) Really the choice of bringing a gracious smiling husband with me to work events is non-existent. Rather, my choice is between his grudging presence, or my free and easy solitude, which means I come home when I want, and don't feel guilty the whole time I'm out.
      Over the years, I've even come to respect him for being true to himself, rather than plastering a smile on his face and heading out to greet others when he doesn't want to. I could learn from that.
      And then on the times he does want to come, we're both delighted.
      Works for me.

    13. Thanks for this post. I needed this reminder that I can't control what anyone else does and the decisions they make. I have been working myself up lately over someone else's decisions and after reading your post I finally felt a sense of relief because I knew I needed to just let it go!

    14. Funny how in this blog community we can be working on something, thinking about a particular thing, such as acceptance and someone posts about the very subject. I have been working on acceptance the past couple of days so this speaks volumes to me. I am certain you will have a grand time at your retirement party and happy you are able to work through things and come to acceptance.

    15. Great post. Enjoyed reading that. Al anons are ninjas when it comes to control freakery :)
      As a person who says no to invitations fairly regularly, I am baffled by others insistence that I participate knowing that I have no real desire to be there. I find it very hard to understand why people value a physical presence when they know that mentally and emotionally my heart is not in it for whatever reason. It's like insisting upon a shell of a human showing up. Or deluding oneself that me being there will disprove the reasoning behind the decision not to go in the first place. Either way this approach makes very little sense to me.

      Ultimately we have to start from the unflattering point of departure, which in this case is that for whatever reason C does not feel she would do justice to the event in her current frame of mind. Wishing it were different will not change anything.
      So I think it makes perfect sense to look for ways in which you can go which you think will make it easiest for you to enjoy the occasion. I think bringing your al anon friends is an excellent idea, as they are much closer in spirit to your current viewpoints than your work colleagues. Having said that I am still able to appreciate the limited ways in which non-recovery folk are able to show kindness and appreciation, which I'm sure they will.
      It sounds like there is an awkward period of transition kicking off, and I'm sure others feel it too, but lack your ability to identify and articulate it. When confronted with these awkward social situations I look upon myself is the 'parent', and the group of awkward individuals as 'spiritual infants'. In their own way I am sure they will try hard to express their fondness for you, so that in itself will be worth the visit. I'm sure that regardless of this awkward period of transition that there is sincere and heartfelt appreciation for the role you have contributed and this will be touching to observe. So I hope you have a lovely evening, and you manage to wear the event like a loose garment, and enjoy the gems of appreciation from this group, whom you no longer identify with so closely as a result of the inner work you have done in al anon.

      It is sad to leave behind the fantasy that the old (work) relationships were 'true'. This feels like a loss because it IS a loss. You can no longer delude yourself about the nature of the relationship. You see the old work things you used to love in a different way. They no longer look so impressive and that is sad. Letting go of the fantasy is the hardest part. There is a period of grieving for the fantasy, and then we learn to live in the new reality we have discovered. It is not easy sometimes seeing things more clearly. It can be depressing at first. The things we believed in can look fairly pointless in the grand scheme of things. In the long run, we get to participate in a different way. Not because we are motivated by the same things as our work colleagues, but because it is just another opportunity for service. We can just let go, show up, and try our best to do the next right thing. Thats as good as it gets :)

      Sorry used my dictation software and before I knew it the reply was very ! long indeed :)

    16. It's great to see you are able to accept this disease. I am still struggling with that as you can see on my blog How were you able to get to that point?

    17. I love that quote about acceptance...I still hope she went with you though :)...just catching up on posts so not sure if I missed that...


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