Accepting a Substance Use Disorder: The Power of Practicing Acceptance

What is Acceptance?

Acceptance involves opening your mind and heart to the realities of life and the ways in which your life choices have impacted you. Instead of fighting against the realities of your life, learning to accept them for what they are and use them to grow as a person and move forward in life will help move you forward in your recovery.

Acceptance is a big part of becoming growing emotionally and spiritually and can serve as a huge motivator in recovery.

Acceptance isn’t about actively fighting your life’s circumstances but instead allowing the ups and downs of life to come your way and cope with them accordingly.

You can also think of acceptance as a way to forgive yourself for the problems that have resulted from your substance use disorder. Rather than agonizing over the mistakes you made, the people you hurt, or any failures that you feel were caused by your disorder, you can forgive yourself for these outcomes and heal from within.

Why Learn Acceptance? 

When your life has been impacted by a substance use disorder, it can be easy to beat yourself up or feel guilt or shame.

However, these misplaced emotions will only keep you from progressing in your recovery and the life-long process of beating your substance use disorder. Instead, focus on turning those emotions into personal acceptance.

By accepting who you are, the nature of your substance use disorder, and the ways in which you can overcome it, you are giving yourself the power and the confidence to defeat any temptations or setbacks that may come your way during recovery.

How Can Acceptance Help You Heal? 

Acceptance gives you an honest assessment of the reality of your current situation and helps heal the emotional and spiritual wounds that you have suffered.

Any pain you feel is just as real as the problems of your substance use disorder. Acceptance doesn’t minimize these problems, but rather helps you understand that they are there and that they can be conquered.

Acceptance can help in the following ways:

  • Honestly evaluate your life
  • Deal with feelings of guilt, anger, and/or
  • Learn and grow from your mistakes
  • Apply learned lessons to future situations
  • Increase your feelings of empathy
  • Open your heart to personal forgiveness

Acceptance Makes You Stronger

Looking at a substance use disorder through clear eyes can help you identify any personal weaknesses that may have contributed to your substance use disorder, as well as the strengths that can help you beat it.

Everyone has personal strengths that can be used to improve their life and the faster these are accepted and recognized, the faster you can build upon the self-esteem and courage needed in recovery.

What Can Hold You Back From Acceptance? 

When learning acceptance, there may be times when you get off-track. This is especially true if you’re fighting a debilitating condition like a substance use disorder.

The following problems often follow people who are recovering from a substance use disorder and make it more difficult for them to achieve acceptance:

  • A substance relapse
  • Guilt from hurting friends or family members
  • Clinical depression, anxiety, or diagnosis of another psychiatric disorder
  • Problems with employment or school
  • Exposure to negative situations or individuals who are still engaging in substance use
  • Difficulty adjusting to the community outside of rehab or incarceration

To recover from these problems with acceptance, make an effort to understand what happened and why, and identify what you can do differently moving forward to avoid this outcome, and get back on track. Acceptance is calm and forgiving and it will stand by your side as you reset.

Learning Acceptance

Anyone can obtain the acceptance they need to change their life and beat their addiction. All it takes is an honest mind and a little hard work.

Follow these practices to help master the skills necessary to gain personal acceptance:

Mindfulness meditation

This practice is designed to make you more “present” in your daily life and feel more at peace and obtain a relaxed state of mind. Check out the courses under “Time Out” in the app for more on mindfulness and meditation.

Practice humility

Humility is the understanding that you have limitations and may need additional help from time to time. Accepting this part of your life can give you a stronger sense of your strengths and help you in getting the help needed to recover.

Understand your shortcomings

Understand that we ALL make mistakes and that making mistakes is a part of life for everyone. But like all mistakes, there is a solution. Accepting that you have made a mistake and taking charge of healing and learning from it will push you far forward in your recovery.

Learning acceptance is all about learning the personal grace to master your substance use disorder and gain the clarity and focus needed for a successful recovery.

The best part is that you can master acceptance in your own unique way and don’t need to follow a strict formula or plan. Gaining acceptance in your own path is an extremely important and gratifying part of your recovery journey.