Acceptance Is The Key

Riding high...
Riding high…

It’s been about two weeks since I last posted, and frankly, eerily, I haven’t had much to say since.  Sure, this is a post, that in many ways is not a post, in the traditional fashion of my usual posts.  I am not usually one to do a post about how my day was, or a gratitude list or talk about the minutiae of my life.  I do, however, enjoy reading others who do so, so it’s not an indictment on those who enjoy and share those things.

It’s not you, it’s me.

What I can say, though, is that I am happy.  Content.  Truly feeling comfortable in my own skin.

Whoa – back that up.  What??

You heard me.  I have been riding this contentment convoy as of late, not questioning anything, and just allowing things to be. In this way of being, I have been both absorbing and reflecting what life has given me.  I have transitioned through some small challenges, and enjoyed the pleasant moments.  Not to say that it’s a Party Like It’s 1999 type deal, but I am certainly very centered and content.  For the first time in my life, and definitely in my recovery life, I feel like I am starting to arrive.  I haven’t had many fearful thoughts.  Resentments are few and far between.  Annoyances are an uncommon happenstance.  I feel my eyes are clearer and my mind more focused.  I am more at ease with me and the world.

And like some would say, this too shall pass (always the wet blankets those “some” are).  Things are always in flux.


But I will take it for as long as I am allowed it.  This unblemished content feeling is foreign to me in many ways, and in the past used everything in my arsenal to get away from me – not only did I use booze, but overworking, seeking external validation and avoidance were other weapons in the armory.  Self-pity was another drug of choice for me.  I did everything I could to avoid walking in the shadow of my spirit, of my essence. I wanted me to vanish as quickly as possible because I didn’t think I mattered or felt worthy to be around.  I felt invisible and wanted to stay that way, even if it meant reducing my true self into powder and dust…stirred into vodka (not shaken).

These days, I stride in with a new mindset, a new way of looking at the world.  I don’t see everyone as out to get me. I don’t look at others with so much judgement and impatience (although I still judge and can be quite impatient at times).  I don’t see the glass as either half-empty or half-full, I just see the glass for what it is – a glass, here, according to Creator’s will.  Accepting what and how much is in that glass is the real thing.

Acceptance is the key.

There is wonderful passage in the basic text of 12-step recovery (it’s in one of the stories in the back) which states:

“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 not 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 in my attitudes.”  pg. 417 BB

So the onus is on me to change.  Always has been.  And I choose to be happy, to be content, to allow things to wash over and stay with me if I permit it. Whether it be my dad’s upcoming chemo / radiation, my hectic work and personal life, the strife in the neighbourhood and planet in general…all of these things small and not-so-small are all just a part of a Greater Plan.  That’s just how I see it.  I can certainly rage against the machine on it, foster and fester in resentments and plummet into self-pity, or I can see it as I would see that glass – just as is.

Ummm….as is.  AS IS, folks. (I like how he uses the red handbag for a pop of colour here.)

Easy to say, right?  Easy to say when you’re not craving and pining for a mickey of rum every minute of the day.  Easy to say when you don’t have the problems I have, right?  Easy to say when (fill in the blanks), right?  It can be easy to say now, as I have struggled a lot in my recovery.  Not everything has come easy.  I still struggle with my own old thinking, my old ways.  I still have my ego poking me in the ribs, wanting to play and steer the ship. I still have certain character defects pop up and that want to blossom into some bitter solution. But the struggle continues to be worth it.  For out of strife comes further clarity and growth.

But what I do have is the sense of acceptance, and in knowing Creator has His will for me.  I just need to tap into that.  And that almost always means I nee to be in contact with all His children.  And yeah, I’m talking about you studs and darlings (flattery will get me everywhere).  These last few weeks have been more transformative because I am keeping in contact with others. Isolating crumbles my Authentic Self. I know that for a fact. Reaching out keeps my pulse on things, and keeps me in tune with the world. Whether it be my more regular meetings now, my running group, hanging out with friends, etc. it’s all about contact.  And the more I see myself in others, the more light I reflect from you, the more I realize that I am not alone, the more serene I become. I have a greater sense of being within the pack rather than being on the fringes, ready to be picked off by the marauding thoughts of my old ways.

One of the studliest of studs.


Acceptance is, in so many ways, the key to serenity for me.  I catch myself all the time – I get worked up because I get offended or defensive about something that either nothing to do with me and/or has everything to do with pride or ego.  I get worked up because I am not getting my way.  I get worked up because don’t you know who I am?  I get worked up because it makes me feel better about myself to put you down.  But when I see these things come down the pipe, I only have to put myself in someone else’s shoes and accept that this is how it was meant to go down.  As Eckhart Tolle puts it – accept every situation as if you chose it to be that way.

Mind blowing.

So therein lies the path for me these days – staying in contact with others. Being of service. Getting out of my own head.  Practising humility.  Accepting things as they are.  Add to that the sometimes difficult thing of doing the right next indicated thing (and I fail a lot in that, let me tell you!), and I am not for want in seeking validation.  I am not tied up in what do you think of me, or what do I need at this moment to be happy?  I just am.

It just is, you groovy folks.  So be it. Capisce?

Doesn’t mean I lay there like a sweaty stack of pancakes.  I do have stuff to do and I don’t always want to do it, and often I would rather take the softer and gentler route, but when I walk through that complacency, laziness and/or fear, I am growing.  I need to take actions.  But I leave the outcome to Him…I just do the leg work.

I’m here today on this one spin of the Earth, and I will do my best to do my best, and let tomorrow take care of itself tomorrow.

Wishing you all the best in your journeys.



39 Comments Add yours

  1. Paul says:

    Well said Paul.

    1. Thank Paul! I hope you have a wonderful weekend, kind sir!

  2. What a wonderful first Saturday morning read.

    Paul, I am so happy for you, and am glad to hear your absence in the blogosphere has been filled with peace and joy in the atmosphere. You are always missed, but it is wonderful to know you are doing so well.

    And, as you well know, that is my favorite passage in the BB, and one that holds special meaning for me. I shall take this as a sign that I need to meditate upon it again. Especially during the holiday season, with increased stress and expectation levels, this passage holds the key to enjoying each moment of each day.

    May today be as serene and comfortable as the last few have been for you, Paul!

    1. Thank you so much, Josie.

      Yes, I was thinking of you when I wrote that, as I know you have quoted that same passage yourself. I remember early on my sponsor and others pointing that passage and page to me over and over again (I guess it was a big hint? lol) I still need it, and every time I read it, I go “ah ha!” as if I had read it for the first time!

      Anyway, hope the stresses of the holiday season don’t get to you. I think it’s tough on most folks, but it’s as big as we make it, yes? I will have to heed my own advice too…ha ha.

      Hope you have a wonderful weekend, my friend 🙂


  3. jrj1701 says:

    Good post Paul, I do have to admit that some of those pics you chose are pushing the envelope on acceptance for me. Part of me was thinking this is horrible, yet my eyes couldn’t look away. Stupid eyes.

    1. Thanks JR! Sorry about the pics…I hope I am not straying into bad form…lol. I sometimes find joy in the ridiculous or absurd. Not out to offend, of course 🙂

      Hope you are having a wonderful weekend!


      1. jrj1701 says:

        You didn’t offend me Paul, it was that those pics brought out strange emotional reactions in me. They are hilarious, yet not something I would show to granny.

          1. jrj1701 says:

            Depends on where you work.

  4. You sound good 🙂

    Those pictures, however… yikes!

    1. Ha ha…you’re the second one to mention the pics. I usually pepper the posts with some absurd / silly / outlandish pics. Haven’t done that in a while, so it might be more pronounced than normal! Anyway, hope it didn’t offend!

      Hope you have a groovy weekend 🙂


      1. No offense, but they were funny/disturbing

  5. k2running says:

    What a great post today!! P. 416&17 in the BB is my absolute favorite text. Your words ring so true to me!
    Thank you for being a guide for me!
    Take care!

    1. Hi Katie! Thanks for the comments and for doing the things that YOU do! So glad that our paths have crossed 🙂


  6. lucy2610 says:

    So pleased to hear that Paul and I can’t wait for the time when I reach this place you talk of 🙂

    1. You will for sure, Lucy. From talking to other guys and gals, it comes and goes at different times. I am sure I won’t be so solid every single day, but pray that I can do the things that bring my back. You do a great service to others…that’s a big thing 🙂


  7. NotAPunkRocker says:

    These are the stories we need more of, in addition to others sharing their stages of recovery and struggles. The ones that remind us what it can be like and that it’s Ok to feel good. 🙂

    1. I think sometimes we hear a lot about the pitfalls and speed bumps on the road to recovery, but I thought it would be cool and different to just say some of the positive things that can happen too. I think we tend to not mention when things are going well, so we don’t hear it as much.

      Thanks for being here…as always my friend.


  8. mishedup says:

    wonderful Paul…
    i remember having to read those acceptance pages ove rand over…daily, in early sobriety. And i did not get it for a LONG time.
    “accept every situation as if you chose it to be that way”…whoa. simple, radical acceptance.
    i am learning how to do that in most cases and the freedom is immediate and wonderful.
    thanks for the great reminder!

    1. I had to read that passage over and over and over early on, as mentioned. I still get good stuff out of it, because my ego pushes that info out and fills the space with its own bravado and nonsense.

      I like what you said about immediate freedom – very true!

      Thanks for the comments…always glad to see you 🙂

  9. paulmc_jft says:

    Thanks for sharing! Finding a new way to live life odaat is SO amazing! I remember 1st time I really belly laughed in recovery! I thought I might b having seizure convulsions; my body was spontaneously laughing & my reaction caused me to “crackup”even more!!! When I can get outta the way, my life is MUCH MORE HARMONIOUS & often like falling off a log EASY. If WE didn’t get better? then what would B the point!

    1. Thanks for this Paul – always nice to see you in a non-Twitter forum 🙂

      My first laughs were also in the rooms. True belly laughs. Laughing at things “normal” folks would find horrifying. Oh the fellowship can be wickedly funny at times!

      As you said, it’s all better when I get out of the way 🙂

      Thanks for all you do, kind sir 🙂


  10. jeffstroud says:

    Well damn Paul you did it again! Just what I needed today. I did pass my little moment that I was having earlier… I felt out of control, I felt like a need to be doing something about my situation. I had done the footwork and Universe said, “Hold on there buddy! Where you going so fast?” So I let go. “Acceptance is the key” some of best passages in the BB are those paragraphs. Get out of your own damn way, reach out, be present.

    All I got for now!

    1. Thank you Jeff for this. I am glad it hit at the right moment. Amazing how we all work to do His plan. Love it. Getting out of my own way? That’s probably the biggest challenge I carry!

      Glad all is well, my friend!


  11. This post is fortuitous in timing. I was just discussing acceptance and that exact passage from the Big Book with my sponsor.
    I am a work in progress with acceptance. It is hard work but nice to know that it will reap benefits.
    Great post, as always my friend. 😁

    1. Isn’t that one of the best passages? I am surprised I haven’t gotten it memorized by the amount of times I have read it.

      Glad to meet another work-in-progress along this journey 🙂

      Hope you have a great week!


  12. DB says:

    Loved it, So tranquil, flowing and positive.This was very uplifiting.
    Loved the Nuns.

    1. Thanks DB! Love the nuns one too…lol.

  13. girlseule says:

    Wonderful post, no sense getting all upset about things you can’t change. Just accept and go with the flow.

    1. Thanks GS for this! I apologize for the delay in getting back to you – it’s been rather mad busy for me! But I am so grateful for you being here 🙂

      Paul…going with the flow 🙂

  14. furtheron says:

    I have to be honest – I hear that reading a lot and baulk at it – this is me not the writing or the point of most of it but when it seems to implied that God’s hand is dictating what is happening I bristle… an atheist like me has real issues with all that stuff you know. I do get the point and normally repeat in my head the serenity prayer (using the word God as I understand it) to re-ground myself and focus on my change and accepting that I have to accept that other accept that reading totally on face value… so it always teaches me the lesson it is hoping to

    1. hey Graham – I hear what you say. I am learning that many folks have different views on the steps and the idea of a HP and what that represents. I have been in contact with some atheists and agnostics as of late and it’s been kind cool to hear their views on things. So I get what you are saying. I guess it’s that whole idea that we can’t change things and that we are some sort of whim of something up there moving us around like chess pieces. I sometimes have thoughts like that – that I don’t trust in my HP, but for me (and me alone), I know that when I do trust in the process, I am often better for it. I am easily acquiescent by nature, so perhaps this lines up with my personality…lol.

      Anyway, thanks for the counterpoint, Graham. The good thing is that they tell us that the room is wide and roomy…lots of space for all of us 😉

      Hope you had a wonderful weekend!


  15. stacilys says:

    Heyyyyyyy my Canadian friend. WooHoo! Soooooo glad to see you’re doing so well. Getting out, meeting people, accepting yourself, accepting others. Even accepting these odd balls above (hehehe. I always enjoy your photos, and the little things you write underneath).
    “As Eckhart Tolle puts it – accept every situation as if you chose it to be that way.”
    –That’s great advice. I’m doing a bit of an artsy Bible study right now on praise and worship, and the power of it. The first verse says, “give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” It’s as if doing that is saying, “I trust that you are working all things for good, whether I feel it or not.”
    Keep on being well, my friend. I hope the cold isn’t dampening the warmth in your heart and life right now.
    Hugs and blessings.
    🙂 ❤

    1. Thanks Staci! The cold isn’t too bad here…yet!

      I like what you quoted there and the interpretation of it. Universal thoughts, in the end yes?

      I hope you are doing well!!


  16. I can’t believe that I almost missed this!
    Love, LOVE my poet Paul. xo

    1. Ha ha…oldie eh? (the post, not you!)

      thanks for being here as always, my friend.

  17. once you accept a problem is yours you can begin to deal with it. Well said!

    1. Absolutely! We are told that all our problems are of our own making. And while I can’t control what other people do and say, I certainly can respond in my own manner. Not always easy, my friend.

      Thank you for the read and comment. Made my day!


  18. austina5716 says:

    This was a great read! Thank you so much. I wrote a similar blog about addiction and if it is a disease or a choice? I’d love to get your opinion on it!

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