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Practicing Acceptance in Recovery: An Ongoing Process

Life on Life’s Terms: The Value of Practicing Acceptance

Practicing acceptance in recovery is not just a principle—it is the heart of getting and staying clean and sober. Whether we are newly sober or have many years of sobriety, the truth is life can sometimes be difficult to navigate. The best way to face life on life’s terms is to learn to practice acceptance. Let’s talk about how to do that!

Acceptance is the Answer

A famous story from the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, called “Acceptance is the Answer,” discusses the value of acceptance. Here’s the famous quote:

“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.”

The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, Fourth Edition, Page 417

This quote embodies the spirit of radical surrender. It can be profoundly challenging to believe that everything is as it should be, especially when our values are tested, or injustices occur. This idea was a tough pill to swallow in my early sobriety and remains a challenge today. However, I’ve come to see that each of life’s lessons, no matter how harsh, carries a hidden gift. By practicing acceptance and embracing the tranquility it brings, we learn patience and await the unveiling of these silver linings.

Harnessing the Power of Steps Two and Three in Recovery

Recovery unfolds in many stages, and each step in the 12 step program offers a unique contribution to this transformative journey. Steps two and three are particularly pivotal for practicing acceptance in recovery.

Step Two: Finding Hope and Sanity Through a Higher Power

The second step of the Alcoholics Anonymous 12-Step program invites us to open our hearts to the possibility that a power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity. This step isn’t just about belief; it’s about setting the foundation for a new kind of hope. It teaches us that no matter how chaotic life seems, there is a source of strength that can bring us back to a state of mental clarity and emotional peace. Whenever we are struggling against the happenings of life, we can ask our higher power to restore our sanity, help us accept our situations, and enjoy peace. 

Step Three: Embracing Surrender to Move Forward

Step Three is a call to surrender—a gentle but powerful invitation to let go of our stubborn wills and entrust our lives to the care of a power greater than ourselves. This step is not about weakness; it’s about recognizing where our true strength lies. It is about making a decision to turn our will over and trust that the outcomes will be for our ultimate good, even if they are not immediately understandable or comfortable. Embracing this step means embracing the flow of life, accepting each moment as it comes, and trusting that we are being guided in the right direction.

Other Tools for Practicing Acceptance in Recovery


The journey of recovery is one in which we should not walk alone. The roles of sponsors, meetings, and our shared experiences within them are invaluable.


Our sponsors have lived life on life’s terms and walked the path of sobriety before us. They know how to navigate the rough patches and dark corners. They provide insight, support, and understanding that enrich our practice of acceptance, teaching us how to navigate the complexities of life while maintaining our sobriety.

The Collective Strength of Meetings

Meetings are where our individual journey meets the collective wisdom of those who are also on the path of recovery. Here, we share, we listen, and we grow. The stories of others not only inspire us but also offer practical lessons on how acceptance can be woven into our daily lives. Through this collective sharing, we find the strength to accept the things we cannot change and the courage to change the things we can.

Are You Ready to Get Sober? Our Supportive Recovery Residence Can Help

If you are battling addiction, remember you are not alone. Breakthrough Recovery Outreach offers a sanctuary for healing, equipped with a range of programs designed to support every step of your recovery. Whether through face-to-face counseling, online sessions, or the day-to-day camaraderie of community living, we provide a safe and nurturing environment to help individuals of all ages overcome substance abuse. Contact us today so we can help you or a loved one break free from addiction.

Final Thoughts on Acceptance

The practice of acceptance in recovery is a dynamic and ongoing process. It is a powerful tool that, when combined with the structured support of the 12 steps, sponsorship, and a supportive community, can lead to profound peace and enduring sobriety. Remember, every challenge carries with it the seed of an equivalent or more significant benefit. In our community, in our meetings, and our hearts, acceptance is the key that unlocks these seeds, allowing us to grow into the fullness of our recovery.