July 24, 2015
“…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…I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.” -Big Book, p. 449
Our topic this past Friday was acceptance. We had several great readings on acceptance; the best one is referenced above.
I had a handout that included the piece from the Big Book on one side and a poem by 13th century Sufi mystic Rumi called “The Guest House” on the other. This poem was discussed at length in small groups and the patients really seemed to be able to relate it to their own lives. One patient said, “The Rumi prayer is like what we learn at AA and on Spiritual Fridays.”
We often forget that we must accept ourselves before we can accept anything or anyone else. And we can’t heal something if we don’t acknowledge and accept its existence in us. What I resist in me, persists in me!
One patient said, “I accept that I’m an addict, but accepting myself and who I really am is hard because being an addict is all I can see in me. I can’t accept that there is anything else.”
I played a beautiful song by Matisyahu called “Silence”, which embodies a message of surrender and commitment to a Higher Power. It begins with a beautiful offering, a prayer in Hebrew. (Rabbi Kessler translated for the patients)
We asked in small groups, “What do you need to accept?”
Answers included: The amends I owe, my family just as they are, being alone, my new life, sadness, anger, fear, my past, the fact that people can help me, and help
Some of the other questions we posed in small groups were:
- How can spirituality help you accept the things you cannot change?
- Have you accepted yourself and your addiction?
- How are acceptance and giving up different?
- Do you believe that acceptance is the answer to all of your problems today? Explain.
Here are the “If” Questions for this week:
Q: If you could have been nicer to one person in the past, who would it have been?
A: “My sister. I blamed her for a lot of things and I was really unkind to her in my addiction.
Q: If you could have a sudden surge of faith in one thing in life, what would it be?
Q: If you could make one nice thing happen for a friend, what would you choose and for who?
A: I would let my friend, who is in the hospital, return as though nothing happened.
Blessings to you all.
Reverend Laurie Durgan