The spiritual principle of acceptance can seem elusive to many people new to the program of recovery.
There are words, phrases, and slogans that are commonly used that you may be hearing for the first time. There may be things you have heard for years, but they just haven’t quite sunk in yet. First and foremost, 12-step programs are spiritual, not religious. What this means is that the person working the program can choose a higher power of their understanding. The higher power referenced in AA is not limited to the traditional God or any religious organization or institution. The spiritual principle of acceptance means that you have admitted defeat, you realize you are powerless over your disease or addiction, and that your life is unmanageable.
Acceptance is being true to yourself and admitting that you have no control over your drinking or using.
This is the basis for one of the AA slogans: To Thine Own Self Be True. The spiritual aspect comes into play because once we have admitted complete defeat and surrender, we must turn our will and our lives over to something bigger than ourselves. Many of us believed that drugs and alcohol were our solution, but these were merely symptoms of a spiritual malady. In short, this means we are spiritually sick.
The spiritual principle of acceptance is relinquishing control over to a higher power of your choosing and believing that when it runs the show for us, we are in much better hands.
When we accept that we are addicted and that left to our own devices our lives are unmanageable, then we can continue working the steps and furthering our well-being. This isn’t to say that life doesn’t keep happening, but we learn to match calamity with serenity. Many people wonder, how do I completely give my will and my life over to something I don’t understand? The only thing required is the slightest bit of willingness. We don’t have to understand why recovery programs work, just that they do work. When we immerse ourselves into the program, work the steps with a sponsor, find a connection with a higher power, and stay plugged into the fellowship, the spiritual principle of acceptance will be something we come to understand firsthand.