Acceptance is the beginning of the journey of recovery from addiction.  It is where we begin to live on the actual canvas of the life that is ours for living.  By staying inside the space of our own life, we are able to be in partnership with the flow of life, supported by the whole of life and give up swimming against the tide.

However, for many people in addiction, acceptance can be hard-won.  In some cases, people find acceptance in a moment and live inside of that perspective from one point forward.  In other cases, people have a relationship with acceptance that involves a regular and necessary pattern of renewal.  While permanent acceptance may appear desirable, it is important to consider both patterns of acceptance ‘normal’ to the recovery journey.  

The other side of acceptance is denial and denial is at the heart of addiction.  It is through denial that many people stay in their addiction long after it is apparent that their behavioral choices are devastating their lives and stealing the potential of their beautiful life.  Denial is very cunning in that it is obvious to those on the outside of it. Within the person in denial, it is very foggy and fuzzy often with an authoritative voice to the self.  Denial can sound compassionate, analytical or even sound like justified indignation.  With many unique voices, denial is often challenging to pin denial down. Since denial changes forms so rapidly, once we have cornered it, it may simply appear again in a different costume.  

However, once we are on our journey of recovery for some time, we will learn which costumes that our particular denial boogey-man usually likes to wear.  This will help us cue into when denial is seeping back in and do the awareness work necessary to come back into a position of acceptance.  

Acceptance is simply one stage of recovery and needs to be honored as such.  There are people who can find acceptance for the fact that they are an addict without discovering the willingness to embrace a recovery process and lifestyle.  However, simply arriving at acceptance beyond the stage of denial is progress and we want to acknowledge it as such.  

Beyond acceptance, it is hoped that person who needs recovery can find a place within themselves to surrender to a recovery process and lifestyle.  The experience of surrender is like being in the ocean and fighting against the waves and then suddenly finding the moment where you breathe deeply, relax your body and let it float to the surface of the water.  Surrender is when you give up the fight and allow the recovery community around you to buoy you to the safety of oxygen at the surface of the water.  


Enlightened Recovery Solutions offers a harmonious approach to holistic treatment, bringing together the best of evidence-based, alternative, and 12-step therapies. Call us today for information on our transformation programs of treatment for addiction and alcoholism: 833-801-5483.

Acceptance And Change In Recovery

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

This is the foundational prayer of 12 step community around the world but is also used by millions of people who are not in recovery. Serenity, courage, and wisdom. Three essential spiritual principles by which we learn to live, on which we learn to thrive, and through which we practice acceptance. Serenity

Stand in front of the ocean and try to stop the next incoming wave. Have any luck? Try it again. You’re unlikely to succeed. In life, there are many things which we cannot change. Serenity comes to us from learning to accept those things. Unfortunately, not all of the things we cannot change are obvious. Through the therapeutic work of recovery, we identify the things we have adopted a belief about and created habits for in our effort to change what is not in our control. We try to change other people. We try to change the way other people think, feel, behave, and act. We try to control external factors that we cannot. Serenity means accepting things as they are. In a personal story of The Big Book called “He Sold Himself Short”, an author writes, “Acceptance of things as they are has replaced the old impatient chomping at the bit to conquer the world.”


Sometimes it is easier to try and control or change others than it is to change ourselves. Placing the blame of what is wrong on other people relieves us of the responsibility to be accountable for ourselves. Taking an honest look in the mirror is scary! We are afraid of what we might see, that it might be worse than we thought or that we might not be able to “fix” it. Rarely is this true. Everyone is capable of courageous change.


Knowing what you can change and knowing what you cannot change is the true wisdom of acceptance. Acceptance doesn’t mean you condone what isn’t right or you permiss things that hurt you. It means you are wise enough to know you have to change how you relate to the world, not how the world is. As Michael Jackson famously sang, “If you want to make the world a better place, better look at yourself and make the change.”

Enlightened Solutions strives to help each client make the necessary changes in their lives so they can live without chemical dependency on drugs and alcohol.Our integrative program fuses traditional twelve step theory with holistic methods of healing. For more information, call us at 833-801-5483.