Attending drug rehab, such as in the many top-tier drug rehabilitation centers in the Austin, TX area, can be a scary and life-changing event. Going to rehab can be very disruptive; many have to put their jobs on hold or not see their families for many weeks. Sometimes we even may lose our job. Obviously, the rewards of going to rehab far outweigh any temporary problems (no matter how serious) that may arise, but the disruptive aspects of going to rehab (or sober living) can frighten many people away. It is here that a major tenet of recovery, acceptance, comes into play.
In active addiction, it is said, we are constantly driven by our fears and our ambitions and our need to control the world around us in order to, we think, reduce our anxiety. We are the megalomaniacal CEO of our lives. In recovery, and especially with respect to battling addiction, we slowly learn to accept help from others, to accept that we are powerless over our addiction, and, eventually, to learn that there are many things in life that we cannot change and that we must accept if we are going to move forward with a life of drug-free serenity.
Acceptance may be best embodied by the Serenity Prayer: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Learning and practicing acceptance is a lifelong challenge, but it is very rewarding and many happily, successfully recovered addicts can attest to the power of acceptance.
No one is suggesting you like, want, or support whatever it is that you're accepting. But by struggling against the pain—by resisting and rejecting it—we create undue suffering. It doesn't mean that you've chosen or endorse what you're accepting. It doesn't mean you like your anxiety, want your chronic pain, would choose your body, or support an injustice that's happened to you or someone else.
Rather, you're choosing to allow it to be there when you can't change it in that moment. To make space for it. To give yourself permission to be as you are, feel what you feel, or have experienced what you've experienced without creating unproductive shame or anxiety. The pain might still be there, but some of the suffering will be alleviated.
Many people believe that acceptance is a sign of apathy. Passivity. Giving up. Relinquishing agency. However, this doesn't have to be the case. Practicing acceptance does not necessarily mean you won't be able to make a change. You can accept your LIFE and still change it, accept your emotions and acknowledge their impermanence, and accept your behavior one day when you might change it tomorrow.
So, whether you are considering sobriety, rehab or sober living, or just getting out of rehab and wondering what the next steps are, remember to accept the things around you that you just cannot change. Accept your own failings and frailties, and accept help from others. It can go a long way toward bringing about the sort of emotional change and about-face that is so often necessary for recovery from addiction and finding peace and joy.