Becoming truly aware and admitting to a problem can be a huge hurdle for many addicts to overcome. Even when you do, finding a willingness to do something about it can be a long process. People can say they have an addiction to food, or sex, or shopping, or drugs, but to truly believe it is a different thing. Coming to terms with an addiction no matter what it is, is scary.
NO ONE wants to admit they are powerless over something especially since addicts are usually control freaks. Admitting is the first step in recovery… but do we always truly accept it when we admit it?
What is Accepting, Really?
Admitting is to confess to be true, but sometimes, confessing our problem is a lot easier than wholeheartedly accepting it. Sure, when we are out drinking, we can laugh and call ourselves alcoholics. But ACCEPTING this fact brings about a whole new thought process.
I consider my final humble acceptance to have been the turning point in my life. I knew that I had accepted being an addict when I made the decision that my only option was to actually do something about it. For years, I openly confessed to being an alcoholic and an addict. I mean, the writing was on the wall. It was clear as day. I was always high or intoxicated, which meant I was always sick, I always had marks on my arms, I barely slept, ate or cleaned myself. No matter what I was doing, I could have been in church and the only thing I could think of was when I would be able to use again.
How to Continue Accepting Daily
If some days you find that you are romanticizing using, don’t forget:
- How bad it was
- How sick you were
- How much pain you caused others
- How much pain you caused yourself
I knew I was an addict and I said it for years, “I am an addict.” It was often used as a copout. I would get in trouble for something and would say, “Well I am just an addict, what do you expect?”
I played off of the stigma of addiction, and since my family and friends were all normal, I could use it as a crutch that gave me sympathy rather than anger. I also used it as an excuse to be wishy-washy and jump from treatment center to treatment center. I had no problem saying my name and claiming to be an addict or alcoholic in meetings, but I never really accepted it.
I would have a couple weeks or months clean and would think that I was cured. As I would go through the motions and admit to an addiction, in the back of my mind, I always knew that I was going to try using again. I thought that all I needed to do was change my situation. I would take sabbaticals by going to detox, treatment, changing my groups of friends. I believed for a long time that I could find a way to make it work.
It never did. Continuously relapsing caused me more and more pain. My runs became shorter and more brutal. I had worse consequences every time.
I was so against accepting the disease because that meant I would have to do something about it. Now that I have worked a program, it is obvious to me that when I first started getting sober, I just hadn’t yet hit my final bottom. I hadn’t reached complete defeat. Once we get to that point, acceptance is a breeze. When we have exhausted all of our options, tried every method, and ruined, it seemed everything that we touched, we usually finally become ready to accept the fact that it is just never going to work for us.
After I started to listen to what people were saying in the meetings, I took suggestions and got a sponsor. The first step was admitting I was powerless, and, although I had barely worked the steps multiple times before, this time, the admission was brought forward by the acceptance. All the times before, I claimed to admit to my problem, but it was usually just so I could save face. Accepting my addiction for real was when I didn’t want to save face, but truly wanted to save myself.
Here are some of the things I did to REMAIN accepting of my disease:
- Continued to practice willingness
- Continued to stay open minded to the program
- Surrendered to my Higher Power every morning
- Stayed in contact with healthy sober people
- Continued to stay in the middle
The funny thing about getting sober is that once we finally are able to admit and accept our disease, and start taking the steps… everything starts to just get better. I sometimes have to laugh at how well things turn out. And even when things don’t turn out how I want them to, a few months later I can clearly see that the outcome turned out to be much better the way it happened. I think that this is my Higher Power actively working in my life. That’s something I never thought I would say before I got sober, but every day, if I continue to whisper to my HP exactly who and what I am, and ask for help, I really, really know that I am going to be alright.
Getting Help at Wayside House
If you are a woman struggling with addiction and mental health issues, Wayside House can help. We offer a women-only program and provide a safe, supportive environment to recover in. We have outstanding treatments and therapies that are often only found in more expensive programs. We offer inpatient rehab with various therapies, relapse prevention education, outpatient, and aftercare, as well as services for medical professionals and veterans. Contact Wayside House at 800-655-0817 to learn more.