In our previous article we talked about why developing self acceptance is important for recovery. Now, let’s talk about what we can do to cultivate self-acceptance for recovery. How can we learn to better accept ourselves? As we set out on the path to self-acceptance we must be aware: accepting yourself does not mean condoning everything you do, and learning to accept yourself does not entail learning to be helpless. Let’s take a closer look at these misunderstandings to avoid, and then see some active steps we can take to cultivate self-acceptance for recovery.
Accepting Is Not Condoning
You can accept yourself in this moment today without reducing your conviction to work to change yourself for a better tomorrow. Self-acceptance is not the same as pretending that everything is o.k. More accurately, it is accepting things as they truly are, quite possibly not o.k., without beating yourself up over it, but without deny anything at the same time.
Accepting means recognize the true situation – today you have an addiction that you want to overcome. Condoning is quite different. If you condone your behavior, you are saying, I have an addiction and I refuse to acknowledge it is a problem. You are here now reading this. You know, in your heart, that you do not want to condone. Accept where you are and resolve to leave your trap behind. Apply a mixture of 0% blame, shame and guilt and 100% clarity, understanding, and compassion for yourself.
Accepting Is Not Learned Helplessness
Learned helplessness is a habitual attitude of feeling resigned to fate and powerless to change your life. Addicts often become demoralized and devalue and underestimate themselves, believing that they must accept their miserable situation and stay in it because they are too weak to change, and perhaps undeserving of a better life. YOU deserve a better life. YOU are strong enough to change. There is hope. Millions of people in your situation have decided to get out and succeeded. You can do it too!
Now let’s look at seven ways you can cultivate self-acceptance for recovery.
Engage The Critical Pessimist
If you listen, you can probably hear a voice in your head that is a really bad influence. That critical pessimistic side that says “you can’t” and “you’re not good enough” and “you don’t deserve any better than this.” But you can, and you are, and you do! So say so. Answer back. YES I CAN! In doing so, you turn away from learned helplessness and condoning and move towards healthy self-acceptance. Self-acceptance does not mean believing you are a loser. You may be losing today, but you can win tomorrow if you begin to lay the groundwork today.
Recovery is done one day a time. You are not a loser, but you are not a god either. Everyone struggles in recovery. Everyone makes mistakes. You will too. If your expectations are too high, that can be demoralizing. Accept your abilities, set your goals accordingly, and resolve to get up and keep moving forward if you stumble.
Realize That You Don’t Have To Understand Why
Some things in life are painful. You may look back on your life and ask ‘why did I have to suffer like that.” Sometimes there is a useful answer to that question. Other times, you cannot think of any explanation, and the search for an answer leads to a sense of bitterness at the injustice of the world. Do not torment yourself asking “why?” If it is not helping, drop it, or perhaps revisit the question with the guidance of a therapist or recovery expert.
Practice Mindfulness Meditation
Mindfulness meditation will teach you to be present in the moment and help you calmly accept what is. It also teaches you to hear yourself think and let your thoughts go. When you are plagued by doubt and fear, you can remember that the future is not here now and realize where you are and just accept that as it is. You can decide not to answer those thoughts, just watch them and let them pass, and return your focus to your breath.
Develop Beginner’s Mind
The concept of beginner’s mind comes from Zen Buddhism, which instructs us to forget what we believe we know. Try to drop your preconceptions and assumptions. Facing the world and yourself in this open way will allow you to see things more clearly.
Learn Humility And Accept That Your Control Is Limited
If you expect to always be right, or believe you think you should always get things your way, you are not really preparing yourself to accept yourself and your situation. Remember beginner’s mind and be prepared to be wrong and be o.k. with that.
The Serenity Prayer
Remember, acceptance is not condoning. Perhaps the Serenity Prayer says it best: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. “
Self-Acceptance Is A Key Part Of Our Recovery Program
At Seasons Bali, we guide addicts to recovery by teaching them about the the physical, psychological, emotional, social and spiritual effects of addiction. Self acceptance is a core component of our recovery program. You can read more about self acceptance here. Addicts recovering at Seasons Bali learn through balanced, structured activity to address their wellness as a whole person and achieve lasting recovery using tools such as individual and group counseling, yoga, exercise, and meditation. Learn more about our Rehab Program in Bali for recovering from addiction and make a plan.
Take A Step Towards Recovery Today
Take the first step on the road to better life. You can do it! If you or someone you care about has a problem with drugs or alcohol, call one of our experts today on (toll free Australia) 1800 288 348 or +61 398045757 or email us at [email protected] and we will call you.