Embracing Acceptance: A Key Ingredient for Healing in Recovery

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Highs. Lows. Challenges. Setbacks. Victories. One thing is for sure—recovery is never linear.

One day, you may be feeling on top of the world, ready to tackle anything. The next day, you may feel like nothing in your life matters anymore. At the core of this transformative journey lies the most fundamental concept in recovery: acceptance.

Carl Jung, a Swiss psychologist, once said this:

“We cannot change anything unless we accept it.”

These wise words mean that actual change and transformation only come once we acknowledge and accept our reality exactly as it is. Denial or resistance to the truth holds us back by hindering our progress in addressing our lives.

Embracing acceptance isn’t merely an option; it’s an essential part of life for those seeking true healing in their recovery journey.  It’s about acknowledging what is and what isn’t. It’s about exploring the profound paradox that, in some ways, surrendering is the key to moving forward.

Acceptance of Reality

Acceptance in the context of addiction recovery encompasses many parts. There are different types of acceptance. The first part is accepting the reality of your situation exactly as it is without judgement.

Here’s what this means: Acknowledging the presence of addiction in your life. Digging deep and taking personal responsibility for past actions and truly understanding the need for change.

Here’s what this does not mean: Thinking that you are a failure and/or beating yourself up for all your past failures. In fact, this type of thinking does more harm than anything.

Accepting the reality of your situation also means recognizing how your addiction has impacted others. This requires honesty, humility, and the willingness to confront uncomfortable truths. While facing reality can be daunting, it is also liberating, opening the door to healing.

Acceptance of Imperfection

You have certainly heard the phrase, It’s not about perfection—it’s about progress. Addiction recovery is neither linear, nor is it free from mistakes or setbacks. Embracing acceptance in recovery means accepting that the process is not perfect. This means letting go of unrealistic expectations of perfection and recognizing that relapse or slip-ups are a natural part of the process.

This type of acceptance involves showing yourself plenty of compassion and understanding. This type of acceptance does not involve self-criticism or shame. Instead, accepting imperfection means seeing your reality as an opportunity for growth and learning. 

By accepting imperfection, you can become resilient, an essential quality for long-term success.

Acceptance of Limitations

Another type of acceptance in addiction recovery is to see the limitations of control over certain aspects of life. This means letting go of the illusion of control and surrendering to the unpredictability of life. This means to accept that there are going to be things beyond your power to change, like other people’s behaviour or external circumstances.

Accepting limitations does not mean taking the “oh well, I actually have no control over anything in my life” stance. Because you do. You can control your thoughts, actions, and reactions, and that’s plenty to keep up with.

By understanding what you can control and what is out of your control, you can find peace in the present moments and focus your energy on your own thoughts and actions.

Acceptance of Self


Perhaps the most profound form of acceptance in addiction recovery is self-acceptance. 

Self-acceptance can be tricky for those in addiction recovery since many grapple with feelings of shame and guilt. However, self-acceptance means letting go of all these negative emotions and learning to treat yourself as you would treat someone you love: with kindness, compassion, and understanding.

Self-acceptance means recognizing that your addiction does not define you and that you are worthy of love and respect, both from yourself and others.

The recovery journey will be rocky—that is for sure. It will also be very worth it. With self-acceptance, you will not resist or fight these challenges. Instead, you will adopt a mindset of flexibility and adaptability.

You will understand that certain parts of life are actually beyond your control, but the most important part is under your control, and that is how you think and how you respond to obstacles.

What Does Acceptance Look Like in Daily Life?

You may be thinking, yeah, acceptance sounds like some philosophical idea, but what does it look like on a day-to-day basis?

The good news? You can start practising acceptance today. Over time, your mindset will shift,  and accepting things exactly as they are will become more natural.

Here are some ways to start that mindset shift:

Embracing reality

Acceptance in daily life means accepting reality as it is, not as you wish it would be. Accepting reality requires courage to accept the truth. Rather than avoiding or denying the reality of your situation, you will face challenges head-on with honesty and humility.

Embracing reality allows you to move forward with purpose. You will take ownership of your recovery path and lay the foundation for long-term transformation.

Letting go of control

We often try to control every aspect of our lives, fearing that letting go will lead to chaos or failure. In fact, the opposite is true. True acceptance means surrendering to the follow of life and trusting that things will unfold exactly as they are meant to.

This means knowing that you cannot control outcomes, other people’s behaviour, or external circumstances. You can control your own thoughts, actions, and reactions.

Practising mindfulness

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Mindfulness is a powerful tool for practising acceptance. By bringing your awareness to the present moment, you can observe your thoughts and feelings without judgement or attachment. Mindfulness works by allowing us to experience life as it unfolds, without worrying about the past or future.

Through regular mindfulness practice, you will develop greater clarity, resilience, and inner peace—an unbeatable combination in addiction recovery.

Encouraging self-compassion

Self-compassion is another key aspect of acceptance in daily life. It really comes down to this: Think of how you would treat a good friend and then treat yourself like that. You would likely treat your friend with kindness, understanding, and forgiveness. You would not berate your friend for their shortcomings. You would accept your friend exactly as they are.

So now, ask yourself: am I treating myself with that same type of compassion?

If the answer is no, you have some work to do. Self-compassion allows us to acknowledge our humanity and all its imperfections, without diminishing our self-worth.

Seeing support when needed

Please understand that you are not meant to navigate this journey alone, which is why we say seek support when needed instead of if needed. You will need support from others, whether it’s through attending support meetings, therapy sessions, or reaching out to friends and family.

By sharing your struggles with others, you can find strength and hope to move forward on this recovery journey.

What is the Bottom Line?

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The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous sums up acceptance so well:

“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. Nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in God’s world by mistake. Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober; unless I accept life completely on life’s terms, I cannot be happy.” (AA Big Book, Fourth Edition, p. 417)

By embracing what is, letting go, being mindful, practising compassion, and seeking support when needed, you can take steps to achieve that key ingredient in recovery: acceptance. Acceptance takes work, no doubt, but the results are a greater peace, freedom, and wholeness. The work pays off! 

How can Centres for Health and Healing help?

Here at Centres for Health and Healing, we know the importance of acceptance, which is why we practise acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)  with our clients.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, Centres for Health and Healing can help. Our dedicated team of professionals is committed to providing customised support for your unique needs.

From detoxification services to individual and group therapy sessions, we offer a full range of care to address the physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects of addiction recovery. You don’t have to walk this journey alone. We are here for you, every step of the way.

Reach out to Centres for Health and Healing today to learn more about how we can help you.

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