© by Robin M. Gilliam
Welcome back! Yee Ha – We made it through Thanksgiving!
As I mentioned in my first holiday blog –Recovery Survival Guide and Toolkit for the Holidays, I am blogging throughout November – December to share tools I have used over the past 25+ years to recover over the holidays. The first tool was AWARENESS. The second tool is ACCEPTANCE:
ACCEPTANCE is like a breath of fresh air – a surrender to things that I am powerless over. Step one really helps with this tool!
The word “powerless” used to scare and piss me off. What do you mean I am powerless? I am a powerful, tough woman who has accomplished many things. But, I have learned through recovery that being powerless means not being in control. The more I try to control something, like my using/drinking the bigger it gets, the more out of control I get, and the more unmanageable my life becomes—with death knocking loudly at the door or behaviors unbecoming a recovering person.
Being powerless also means that I have no control over how other people behave, places, politics, or things that I did in the past. Accepting people, places and things exactly as they are relieves me of that horrible feeling of the floor falling out from under my feet.
The hardest thing that I have had to accept is that I do not have kids. That is a long-story for another blog, but just know that I grieved over that for a long time. But by accepting that now at 54 helps me to know that I am no better or worse then anyone else. Does it make me sad? Yes! Very sad, especially during the holidays – that is the trigger. But being sad is not going to kill me and I don’t have to let my disease of addiction use it to pull me back into getting high or drinking.
Acceptance is an important tool in our recovery. It leads to serenity, which is peace and quiet in our heads. I believe that addiction cannot thrive in a quiet mind. That is why I love the serenity prayer so much and say it many times throughout the day:
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
Use journaling to keep addiction at bay and our recovery strong. Carry your journal with you or use your phone Note App to get these triggers out of your head. Write down triggers you are aware of and journal about how you are working to accept your powerlessness over them. These two tools – awareness and acceptance will help us to keep our recovery strong!
Robin M. Gilliam is an artist and author in long-term recovery since February 6, 1991. Read her powerful recovery novel, Gift of Desperation, to meet Claire and journey with her out of addiction and into recovery. Robin uses the healing power of art and the spiritual principles of the 12 steps to maintain her recovery and teaches these tools and techniques through her workshops. She is also a keynote speaker where she shares her journey to recovery and how others can do it too.