Posts Tagged "acceptance"

K.I.S.S.: Keep It Simple Sweetie

_DSC0862One of my early recovery mentors was a diminutive woman named Shirley Rapp who lived and breathed the 12 steps.

Shirley, who died a few years ago, wrapped her recovery around me when I was new and scared. She’d say, “Now honey, you’re gonna be alright. All you have to do right now is stay sober and God will take care of everything else. Just keep it simple, sweetie.”

An acronym of love

I don’t think KISS–originally known as Keep It Simple, Stupid–is talked about much anymore. I never liked that version of the acronym anyway. Shirley’s version–Keep It Simple, Sweetie, is much gentler and more loving.

When you’re new to recovery, keeping things simple is a really, really good idea (not a bad plan for long-term recovery either!) but attaching a derogatory term like stupid only emphasizes a recovering person’s low self-image and esteem.

Instead, using sweetie eliminates the negative connotation. It’s softer and helps me take it easy on myself.

Most recently, Keep It Simple, Sweetie has opened my eyes to the beautiful surroundings of working the 12 steps all over again with a woman who reminds me a little bit of Shirley.

Step One: Powerlessness and Unmanageability

Working through the steps with a couple of decades of sobriety is an interesting proposition. For instance, I didn’t really understand that honesty is involved in becoming aware of my lack of power and seeing how my life is unmanageable.

Digging into what honesty means is daunting. Think about this one: Dishonesty includes the delusion of control.

Being honest implies telling the truth which is fairly easy until you begin to consider all the lies we tell ourselves, like: we’re happy when we’re not, we’re satisfied when we’re not or we’re okay when we’re not.

So, are you completely honest today?

Acceptance is the key

The trick is to do this work with no judgment. Any thought I have like, I should know this already with 24 years in recovery needs to exit the head space.

Instead, I keep it simple, sweetie. Go easy, be loving, be gentle. Listen to the words of Melody Beattie as you say then aloud:

We do not move forward by resisting what is undesirable in our life today. We move forward, we grow, we change by acceptance.

And these words:

Overcome not by force. Overcome by surrender.

Just as I never really thought about Step One including honesty, I also didn’t realize that it included acceptance.

I’ve always just plowed through the first step as it’s written: I am powerless over alcohol and my life is unmanageable.

There’s a fairly famous story in the book Alcoholics Anonymous called “Acceptance Was the Answer” (fka “Doctor, Alcoholic, Addict”) in which the author describes finally getting to the core understanding of how it is possible to stay sober.

Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober; unless I accept my 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.

Indeed, acceptance is the necessary response to  all my problems–real or perceived–today.

Now that’s what I call keeping it simple, sweetie.

Photo courtesy of scottsann

19 Selfless Qualities of Self-Love


All you need is love . . . love . . . love is all you need. 

Is it true that love IS all you need? For the sake of this post, let’s say the answer is yes. The All-Holy day of celebrating love, after six weeks of in-store Valentine’s Day advertising, finally arrives this weekend.

But this isn’t a post about Valentine’s Day.  God knows the universe is being bombarded with 45-bazillion posts about V-Day.

This post is about one of my favorite topics: self-love–the very stuff our mamas used to say was self-ish.

I don’t know about your upbringing, but I was often accused of being self-absorbed, wallowing in self-pity and engaging in too much self-analysis.

All of which led to self-abuse with alcohol and drove me away from self-love.

What’s (self) love got to do with it?

As far as I can determine, we humans are the only species capable of loving ourselves. We possess this incredible, unique gift that other creatures–like the Wallabies and the Jackrabbits, for example—would dearly love to have, and yet we’re groomed from infancy to feel guilty when we show self-love.

Ironic, isn’t it?

To be clear, the self-love I’m championing is not arrogance, egotism, pride or narcissism. In fact:

Self-love has very little to do with how you feel about your outer self. It’s about accepting all of yourself. ~ Tyra Banks

In theory, those four words–accepting all of yourself–seem relatively uncomplicated, doesn’t it? But for those of us who spent several decades searching for self-acceptance, those seven syllables are more likely to cause trips to the grocery store for pints of Ben & Jerry’s.

At least we’re not going for pints of liquor.

As promised, qualities of self-love

Self-love has lots of first-string qualities you’ll want playing on your home team. They are, in no particular order, all hyphenated words starting with self:

Confidence      Discipline      Support      Regard      Assurance      Care        Employment      Worth      Taught      Interest      Esteem      Exam      Help     Protect      Acceptance      Assertive      Promotion      Appointed      Respect

Imagine how much healthier our world would be if we all elevated these qualities of self, which each stem from self-love, to a higher level. Can you imagine?

The bottom line is you simply have to put yourself first. Oh sure, we chuckle when we hear air travel personnel instructing us to put our own oxygen mask on before assisting others, but isn’t that the truth? If you want to be present to anyone else, you must first be your own present.

Tweet: If you want to be present to anyone else, you must first be your own present. @bheretoday #selflove

Give yourself the gift of self-love. Sit with each of the 19 qualities shown in the box above. Meditate with them. Breathe them in, just as you would breathe from the oxygen mask.

You are worth each and every one of them.

Learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all. ~ Whitney Houston

Photo courtesy of markgraf