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Acceptance isn’t a four letter word.  It’s 2 1/2 times worse.  The phrase it’s most commonly in, you’ve just got to accept it, almost exclusively refers to something bad.  No one looks at a sunrise or a bunch of puppies and says, “I’ve just got to accept this.”

I’m going to attempt a Month of Acceptance:  According to page 449 in the old text, “acceptance is the answer to all my problems today…  Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober; unless I accept life completely on life’s terms, I cannot be happy.”

Which makes sense, and I’m totally on board:  for years I switched out acceptance with tolerance.  It was much easier to “put up with something” than to accept it, because that way I could hang onto my anger.  Acceptance meant to let the other person win.  Tolerance meant to know that the other person was wrong, to resent them for it, but take the supposed high road by not calling them out.  At least, not to their face.

To tolerate was to go through life with gritted teeth.  This, that, or the other was responsible for my current unhappiness, and I just needed to hang on and ride it out.  I clung to the belief that once the situation changed or the location shifted or the person left the building, then I could relax and enjoy my life.  However, my diseased brain kept finding new things to cling to:  the traffic, the news, the weather, the local sports team, my neighbors, my coworkers, my family, my friends.  So many things to find problems with!  Problems that diverted my attention from myself and kept me irritated, unhappy and eventually, hopeless.

In short, I drank to tolerate my life.  The hypothesis being that once I was happy with myself and my surroundings, I wouldn’t need to escape.  But drinking only created more incidents from which I needed to run.  I became intolerant with myself.  I became sick and tired.

What makes life easier today is that I’m learning not to look.  No more searching for things to bitch and complain about.  It’s easy to become annoyed by everything, if that’s the route I choose to go.  But what I’m working on realizing is that most of it’s none of my business.  Most of it has nothing to do with me.

Today, I’m trying to drop the stuff that I had no need to pick up in the first place.

2 thoughts on “living in tolerance.

  1. I’ve been following the month on acceptance and thinking what it means to me. I believe the problem for me is in “the wisdom to know the difference” between things that need to be accepted and things I need to try to change. I don’t have that wisdom, or at least not often enough. Perhaps some things do need to be tolerated, other things, forgotten completely, and some others require me to do something. I have no formula for it, and of course I want one; an ‘x+y=z’ kinda thing.

    A few self questions I do try to remember are “am I taking this personally”, “should I be asking someone for advice or help”, “am I letting it eat at me”, “is it actually something I can change” … it helps most of the time, but, I can’t say it is always easy.

    Spring is here and I can see the plants starting to grow, and I think to myself, “I bet that hurts”.

  2. Those self questions are GOLD, my friend! I think I shall make a business card-size printout of them, have it laminated, and keep in my wallet for quick referencing. Even though the answers are almost certainly, “yes, yes, yes and maybe”, it serves as a wonderful reminder that there are solutions available, if I’m willing to look.

    Thanks for the wisdom!

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