Acceptance is the Answer to all my Problems

After John 3:16, it may be one of the most quoted passages in literature. It’s from Page 449 (first 3 editions, pg. 417 in the 4th edition) of Alcoholics Anonymous or The Big Book as it is widely known:

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 in my attitudes.

ACCEPTANCE is the answer… (In the AA “Big Book” and the Bible)
by Rabbi Dr. Lynn Kesselman

Many of my patients have been touched by these words but tell me that they don’t really understand them. Here is the Five Gates Program explanation based on the same idea. Our Anxieties and eventually our Depressions and Addictions all flow as the direct and indirect consequences of our belief that our Reality does not match up to our expectations. The Principle argument we have with Reality is not only our dissatisfactions with things outside ourselves but ourselves. Most people bury their dissatisfactions with themselves on an unconscious level (Don’t be mislead by their words) because they prefer to blame the problems to things outside of themselves but dissatisfaction is never about anything outside yourself. The world goes on with or without our approval and to achieve the serenity that comes with Real Acceptance we must accept the things that we cannot change (including certain things about ourselves) now, are PERFECT for NOW! If we don’t accept this we are refusing to accept Reality which is sometimes stated as “Life on Life’s Terms” which we hear all the time at AA. The very well known AA Serenity Prayer is a deep reaching illustration of what we must do to achieve ACCEPTANCE.

God, Grant me the ability to Accept what I cannot change
The courage to change the things that I can change, and
The Wisdom to know the difference

In the Five Gates Program of Recovery we discuss the most difficult aspect of this kind of acceptance. A person knows whole well that there is no reason to stop drinking as they have full physical control over their Drinking Arm. But until certain important changes* happen within them they cannot stop themselves from drinking. They may know objectively that they can hold their mouth shut and not get into the face of everyone they don’t approve of with abusive words, but they still take the bait every time and get themselves into needless confrontations they later regret; the list goes on. They are of course puzzled by why they can’t seem to help themselves do what’s good for them, often blaming the problem things outside of themselves. We call this DENIAL. They don’t want to see the problem lies within them because if they accepted this TRUTH they would be forced to accept that they and not the World is the source of their problems. What is missing in them is ACCEPTANCE of the TRUTH. There must be a change in them to give them more courage (hope) and allow them to change the things they can change. The Fifth Gate of the Five Gates Program of Recovery accomplishes this change towards Acceptance as one of its Principle Goals and Benefits.

* Important Changes; for some people it is the FEAR of consequences of their continuing their self-destructive behavior will give them what we call White Knuckle Recovery, which means they become frightened enough to not do what they have been doing but does not give them recovery from the causes. This kind of person is typically highly judgmental of other people, places and things and always unhappy. The important changes we refer to is accomplished by helping people recover from the real causes of their Compulsive Self-Destructive Behavior; that real cause is their underlined FEARS that have not been resolved for long enough that they have turned into Depression and other Children and Grand Children of their Un-Resolved FEARS. The real answer is the kind of Acceptance that dissolves their Anxieties (FEARS) and because of the Inverted Pyramid Effect along with losing the Anxiety we automatically lose the Depression and all the decedents of our FEARS. This is our Five Gates term for the amazing Chain Reaction that sweeps away with it their Depression and Symptoms by helping them understand that the FEARS that have been deeply buried inside of them were and are the product of their not understanding their lives.
by Lynn Kesselman

Definition of the Five Gates Program:

The Five Gates Program is a form of Cognitive or Person Centered Psychotherapy. It is unique for its Fifth Gates which operates through a powerful healing principle Dr. Kesselman has labeled The Inverted Pyramid Effect, which is the remarkable healing engine by which people in reviewing sequentially the events in their lives and finding a logical explanations for each of their psychological pains specially Anxieties and Depressions, are able to experience the triggering of Clearing healing all of the later consequences and confusions associated with the psychological difficulties that has caused them to want to take the Five Gates Program.