Back in the day the passage in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous that was on page 449 having to do with acceptance was often quoted in meetings. Today in the Fourth Edition of the big Book it can be found on page 417. It goes like this, “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 could not be happy. 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.”
Acceptance is not resignation. Sometimes acceptance requires action, such as looking for a job. One needs to accept that they need to take the action to find a job. Resignation is basically throwing in the towel and saying just forget it. This type of person does not look for a job or take any other action towards their needs. They have unreasonable expectations that by some miracle the perfect job will just fall in their lap. It has been said that unreasonable expectations will get you drunk. Unless they learn to live life on life’s terms, they will not be happy.
It takes time in the program to learn to live life on life’s terms. Some things in our lives may be truly unacceptable on the surface. But if we apply the adage that nothing happens in God’s world by mistake, this can help us to come to accept the unacceptable. After all we want to stay sober and if we have to have some adversity in our lives, so be it. Life is not free from troubles and difficulties. But by working the 12 Steps we can find the tools needed to navigate anything that crops up in our life. We may be faced with certain hardships but drinking certainly would not fix them or make them go away. In fact, drinking would only make matters worse. For example, we would not only not have a job, but we would also be too drunk to look for one or go on an interview. So, you see how drinking affects the footwork we need to do to complete whatever task is in front of us. There is also a saying in AA that says “expectations will get you drunk. Do the footwork and stay out of the results.” If we can adopt this attitude, we will find that we are better equipped to do whatever is necessary in our lives. But just remember that acceptance is the key to lasting happiness,