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.