A is for Acceptance

Acceptance is a difficult concept to deal with, even if we’re not talking about alcoholism. None of us wants to be unacceptable, or excluded from a group, whether we’re small children, adolescents, or older adults. The synonyms for acceptance are many, among them approval and recognition.

I know a young woman who is gay. She has found a woman she loves, is very happy, and engaged to be married. Most people she knows are very happy for her happiness, but not all are as accepting. Some are even judgmental, saying she and her partner would always be welcome in their home, but they would never attend her wedding. This makes no sense to me, and seems more than a little hypocritical. If you accept the fact that someone is gay, you recognize it, you approve of the lifestyle she/he has chosen.

With my sister, it’s different, but somewhat the same. She’s been sober for a while now, and attended several family gatherings as a sober alcoholic. I don’t drink often, mostly at major holidays, like Thanksgiving and Christmas. In fact, my mom laughs at me, because I will see a drink recipe shown on The Chew or something, get all excited about it, buy all the ingredients, bring them home, and then the liquor sits in our cupboards, because I’ve immediately lost interest. :P)

Back to my sister. I never used to drink around her. I thought it was a sign of solidarity if I joined her in not drinking. Recently, I’ve realized it was actually codependency, and I was not allowing her a sense of self-esteem, and achievement all her own. She’s very capable, and strong in her own right. But I’m sure she feels that exclusion, that non-acceptance among non-alcoholics, even though she’s accepted by her recovering alcoholic friends. I still laugh when I remember going with her to an open talk AA meeting at Sacred Heart in downtown Detroit. I was so nervous I wouldn’t even smoke, even though I badly wanted a cigarette. One of her friends finally leaned over to me and said, “So, do you have any vices?”

“And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation — some fact of my life — unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment.” (Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 417)

14 Comments

  1. Even if we don’t completely accept the actions of others, we should make it a point to treat them decently and respectfully. The Golden Rule is always the best standard to which to adhere.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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    1. I couldn’t agree more. I can completely love and respect someone even if I don’t completely accept something they do or have done, just as I hope they’d do the same for me!

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  2. Interesting take on alcoholism, I’ve never thought of it like not trusting the other person. Maybe it’s a phase-thing, as in at first it helps but after a while it offends.
    Thanks for making me think on this!

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    1. I’m so glad this post made you think a bit. My idea about it—what I finally learned—is that I have to take care of myself and my needs/wants, just as the alcoholic has to take care of him/herself and their needs/wants. Make sense?

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  3. I also wrote about acceptance today. 🙂

    That’s funny about your sister. Once, my parents said that they didn’t like that I was keeping wine in the fridge (we were sharing a place) and since I accepted that it bothered them, I just moved it out of the fridge. How important is it, amirite?

    As a member of Al-Anon, I’m very interested in reading your posts and your theme. I’m so glad you’re doing this.

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    1. Exactly so. How important is it? It depends on your level of comfort, and if it didn’t bother you that much to move your wine out of the fridge, that’s way cool. Good for you for knowing your boundaries! (Going to read your post about acceptance)

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    1. Thanks Cheryl! That is exactly what I thought almost all my life, too. And I know just what you’re talking about. People who are sweet and kind to your face but you know are talking about you behind your back. It’s like “fake” acceptance, and I intensely dislike it! lol

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  4. Well written and I couldn’t agree more. My father is an alcoholic and has been sober for over five years now. At first, I didn’t know how to act around him. I didn’t drink when we went out. I hid my liquor bottles when I invited him over. I never even talked drinking around him. Then, slowly, I figured it out. He was okay. He accepted that there is a part of the world he can’t safely take part in and I accepted that he is not a delicate flower and I can be normal around him. Fun fact, though, it took him a long time to accept that I am a lesbian and that my relationship with my girlfriend is not some phase. Great post!

    Lisa @ Zen and Pi
    Visiting from the A to Z Challenge 🙂

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    1. Wow, what an amazing job on both your parts. Tell me, though, did it take him longer to accept the fact you are a lesbian than for you to accept he is not a delicate flower? Inquiring minds want to know!! 😊

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