Patient Blogs | Substance Abuse
Coming to Terms With My Condition
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Acceptance, in the recovery community, is more of a verb than a noun. At least for anyone serious about committing to truly changing their lives, it requires action. The word has been said at least once at every 12-step meeting I've ever been to, if only in the closing prayer.

When I was 6 years old, as my mother lay in a hospital bed that alcohol helped put her in, I accepted I couldn't change that, or her. Right then and there, I accepted her for who and what she was, even if she has yet to do so herself almost 30 years later.

All of which is to say, I saw from an early age what a lack of acceptance does to a person. Refusing to admit you have a problem doesn't make it any less life-altering or bad. It's akin to not testing for a deadly virus in hopes of bringing the infection rate down. Not being willing to accept the truth doesn't make it any less true.

So, when I said out loud I was an addict/alcoholic at age 27, I accepted it. In fact, from that point on, it could be said I've done my best to practice radical acceptance for the things I know for certain I cannot change. I've come to terms with all the things I can't do anything about.

Things like the genes passed down from both sides of my family that made me more likely than your average kid to pick up a drink or drug early in life. I also know I can't change the fact I picked up a drink before my 13th birthday and fell in love with any mind-altering beverage or substance almost instantly. There's nothing I can do about that today.

So, when we talk about coming to terms with my condition, I already have. I have radically accepted who and what I am. For me, the difficult part has not been coming to terms with or accepting my condition, but expecting others to understand or accept it along with me.

Basically, what I'm saying is it isn't ME who has to come to terms with my condition, but everyone around me who still hasn't seemed to, instead.

After you watch no less than three-quarters of the people you grew up with literally kill themselves with drugs or throw their lives away drinking, you learn to accept addiction/alcoholism as a disease. And in due time, you learn to come to terms with the fact that not everyone does or will.

One of the definitions Webster’s gives for acceptance is, "the action or process of receiving something as adequate." I've come to terms with my addiction, and it took me a really long time to understand that it doesn't make me any less adequate. Now if I could only learn to genuinely accept the fact that not everyone feels that way, and that it’s a condition you have to go through yourself to truly understand, I'd be golden.



Photo Credit: AscentXmedia / iStock via Getty Images Plus

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Brian Brewington

Brian Brewington

Diagnosed since 2014

Brian Brewington has been on the journey of addiction recovery since 2014 and was diagnosed with a major depressive disorder in 2019. A 34-year-old writer and freelancer from Philadelphia, his work has been featured in KEF Audio Magazine, and he runs the Journal of Journeys publication on, where his writing first became popular. Brewington still sees a therapist and attends 12-step program meetings regularly. You can read more from him here.

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