It turns out that I’m quite good at accepting the things that are easy to release. Instead of yelling at others in traffic, I accept that me controlling how everyone drives will, at best, save me five minutes. So just ease off the accelerator – that’s a little miracle in and of itself, isn’t it? Low-level acceptance to be sure, but something that seemed impossible only a few years back is now in the 70% letting-go range, if such things can be quantified.
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.”
The key is not to go hunting for something that will put me in a rage. The whole idea of searching out things to dwell on and judge is a twisted dead-end road at best. And completely unnecessary: most often my rage comes to me, the feeling first, followed by the outward-looking and the judgment and the blaming and the resentment. I’m upset, therefore something or somebody is wrong.
What’s wrong? That’s easy: my alcoholism is bored. It’s looking to feel something intensely, and its go-to move is to ratchet up my irritability. It loves to play in the minutia that is my perceived serenity. How well is this program working if I think I am acting cool and calm, yet I’m coming off as hostile and defensive? It’s a simple mental box trap that I am forever kicking the stick out from under, enclosing my thoughts in cardboard darkness. And like any animal, I start to freak out. I worry about time, and how far back this little emotional blowup will set me, and when will the umpire be calling the game due to the slaughter rule?
But this is all on me, and how long I choose to marinate in my own stinking thinking juices. Switching gears and getting my mind right while in the middle of a project or social situation remains one of my biggest hurdles. I can acknowledge when I’m in a self-made funk; it’s the accepting and letting go part that’s the problem. I cling to the pity-pot thought that it’s happening again. So I accept my repeated failure and punish myself through shutting down and sulking. I’m accepting that this is, as always, all my fault.
This line of reasoning is so effective because it mainlines self-loathing justification right into my unwillingness. It’s using the most powerful tool I’ve got, acceptance, against me; perverting it into a public shaming that I wrongly think is required to achieve serenity, mixing up humility with humiliation.
Today: understand that my mind is constantly getting caught inside a Chinese finger trap. And although I’m still voluntarily sticking my fingers in on a fairly regular basis, I pray for the willingness not to react with instant fear, pulling for an escape that never comes through force.