Recovery is a time of major transformation and personal growth. In recovery, one learns new skills and tools that will help them maintain health and sobriety for the rest of their life moving forward. Recovery is also a time to reflect on the past and find the roots of what may have lead an addict to begin using in the first place.
This type of reflection, while often very constructive, may also make way for some uncomfortable thoughts as one works through the memories and emotions tied to using and other life circumstances. The key to success in recovery often lies in finding acceptance in terms of one’s past as well as one’s future. Many recovering addicts are familiar with the twelve-step program serenity prayer, which includes the prayer to “accept the things” that cannot be changed. Finding this acceptance is an important part of moving forward in health.
More Acceptance Means Less Guilt
Feelings of guilt are not at all uncommon among individuals who have struggled with addiction. Abusing drugs and alcohol often leads to actions and circumstances that may lead one to experience feelings of guilt and regret. The reality is, however, that recovery is a time for moving forward and making life changes that will lead to better decisions in the future and better relationships with those who may have been harmed while one was abusing drugs.
Feelings of guilt run counter to what one strives for in recovery, because with feelings of guilt comes a lowered sense of self worth, which puts one at a higher risk for relapse. Recovery requires a move towards higher self worth and self respect.
Accepting Life Circumstances
Part of finding acceptance in recovery also means accepting the circumstances that may have lead to anger and frustration, which can lead to depression, and be major triggers for use. Life is full of triggers and challenges, and in recovery, as one works to find ways of coping with stressors and triggers, finding acceptance towards the things that may be causing anger or sadness goes a long way in helping one feel more at peace.
Accepting That Recovery Is a Life Long Journey
Another way in which acceptance plays a key role in recovery is that it helps one maintain realistic expectations about what exactly the process of recovery entails. Recovery is a life long process, and it may be somewhat frustrating to feel that progress is not being made on the timeline that one expects.
Understanding that struggles will be a part of recovery in the long term can help keep expectations manageable and help fight feelings of anger, frustration, and despair. Accepting that there are no easy answers in recovery and that all progress requires hard work can help make the steps taken in recovery much more effective, and can help fight the feelings of anxiety and despair, which can make recovery very difficult.
Understanding Limitations As a Person
While recovery is all about self improvement and working towards one’s best self, it is important to accept that no one is perfect, and there will always be moments of weakness or times when one does not act in the way that they wish they had.
Making an error in judgement or any other kind of mistake does not mean that one’s recovery is doomed or that there is no chance for improvement. Accepting one’s self, including one’s flaws and tendency to make mistakes helps one maintain a strong sense of self worth, which is necessary in order to continue to make progress that will lead to a happier and healthier life that can be expected to last a lifetime.