by | Jul 11, 2018

12-Step Principles 

Step One: Acceptance

In our journey through life, we all encounter moments when we need to mend the fabric of our existence. For me, alcohol wasn’t the root issue; it was merely a symptom. The true challenge lay within – a spiritual bankruptcy that needed addressing. It’s not just those battling addiction who require upliftment; everyone benefits from support at some point.

The divine inspiration of the 12 steps channeled through Bill W. and Dr. Bob provides a transformative path when followed sequentially. Each step aligns with a fundamental principle crucial to its effectiveness.

At the forefront is the principle of acceptance. Acknowledge your powerlessness over people, places, things, and situations. Embrace the idea that everything unfolds for a purpose, and true happiness lies in relinquishing expectations and the need to understand every twist of fate.

Consider these common scenarios in life:

  • Have you been betrayed by a spouse or significant other?
  • Are you misunderstood for something you did or said?
  • Have you lost someone close to you that you loved?
  • Were you ever unfairly terminated or fired from a job?
  • Have you gone through a bitter break-up or divorce?
  • Have you been falsely accused of something you didn’t do?

These experiences are part of life’s tapestry; while you may encounter one or more, acceptance is the key. You don’t have to like the situation, but accepting it paves the way for a smoother journey.

Take the loss of a loved one, for instance. Constantly dwelling on the unfulfilled future and seeking answers to unanswerable questions disrupts your peace. The real challenge is accepting change, not the loss itself.

Remember, You cannot change anything but yourself.

Acceptance is the first gift bestowed upon those committed to healing. It marks the beginning of your life’s transformative journey.

As a poignant reminder, here is the Acceptance Prayer from the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous (p. 417):



And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today.
When I am disturbed,
It is because I find some person, place, thing, 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.”

Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th Edition p. 417 

Are you having trouble accepting things in your life?

Schedule a complimentary Discovery call now to learn the steps to accepting whatever comes your way.


** Updated February 21, 2024

Debbie Gill - author and coach

Debbie gill

The heart and soul behind Go Within Spiritual Coaching.