The Acceptance Prayer

In the book, Alcoholics Anonymous, page 449, there is a “prayer” in the middle of the page, first new paragraph.  It reads:

“…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.  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 my attitudes.”

I pray that “prayer” every morning. It is actually just a description of how one person sees the world and their role in it.

I believe in what this prayer says…namely that I need to focus on how I react to the world, not so much on the state of the world or what others do in it.

I don’t believe this prayer says “Do nothing and accept anything the world or what others say or do to you or others.” Instead, it says look at what you do, how you react to the world when you react to the world.

There is also a theological stance in this prayer….that nothing happens by mistake, events are meant to occur.  I am not a theologian and I recognize my limitations in understanding the implications of this view of life.  But I do believe taking this view puts the person in a position to ask the question, “Why is this happening to me right now and how do I want to respond to it.”

I believe there is a definite connection between our struggles in living life and how we view the world around us.  Further, I believe we can always see a way that the “author” of the life events you are facing, be it God, “Nature” or “The Universe” is challenging us through such events, and what actions/reactions we could take to such life events.  Such challenges challenge us to grow, mature, become more responsible.

Think about this the next time you have a flat tire, your daughter brings home an “F”, your son gets a speeding ticket or your spouse does that thing that you have asked them not to do 157 times before.  Ask yourself what challenge might this situation be presenting you with to grow and if so, what would be the reaction you are being challenged to make that would require you to grow.


More later.