My Journey to Self-Acceptance
By Joanna Ahern, Alumni Care Coordinator, Hanley Center at Origins
Acceptance is a topic that is discussed a lot in the rooms. In sobriety, there is a need to accept others and certain situations as they are rather than I want them to be. Yet the idea of acceptance for oneself is often neglected or forgotten.
Throughout my recovery, I have learned to trust God and stop trying to change or arrange certain people and situations to best suit me and my “needs.”
However, when it comes to myself, I am my own worst enemy. There was this constant internal nagging to do better and a need to try harder. Even when I could honestly say I tried my best, it wasn’t good enough. For a long time in my sobriety, I felt this overwhelming need to compensate in all facets of my life. I tried to rectify all of my personal relationships for years I was consumed with my drinking and drugging. If I didn’t get straight A’s in school, I was a failure. At work, I needed to be the best and crucified myself for even the slightest mistake. With sponsees, I needed to be the poster child of what a recovered woman should look like. I consistently compromised my own needs and chose other individuals’ wellbeing over my own. I was in this delusion that someone was keeping track of if I had scored enough “brownie points” to rectify the damage I have done in the past.
I kept beating myself up and felt perpetually broken.
I had written many 4th steps at this point in my sobriety, and I had this resentment against myself, but I never amended my self-deprecating behavior. I had stayed sober and made amends to all these other people, but I neglected the simple act of self-forgiveness. “We must be hard on ourselves but always considerate of others,” was a line I had taken to the extreme, and I had to put down the bat. I had to accept the parts of my past life before I was sober that I was ashamed of. I had to come to the realization that I no longer needed to devalue myself in order to value others.
Acceptance of who I was in the past allowed me to step into who I am currently and who I wanted to be, a loving child of God.
In ancient Japan, there was a unique form of art called Kintsugi, which involved fixing broken pottery with a special lacquer dusted with powdered gold, silver, or platinum. It takes a beautiful piece of broken art, and rather than throwing it away, it fills it with gold that glitters in the light. The idea of allowing God and 12-Step to fill the fractured pieces of me is the key to accepting who I am. God has given me the tools in order to mend and mold me into an even more beautiful human than I was before. I am no longer broken, and understanding this is what allows me to accept my past and accept that self-love is the key to my future.
Hanley Center is a well-known care provider offering a range of treatment programs targeting the recovery from substance use, mental health issues, and beyond. Our primary mission is to provide a clear path to a life of healing and restoration. We offer renowned clinical care for addiction and have the compassion and professional expertise to guide you toward lasting sobriety. For information on our programs, call us today: 844-501-4673.
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