There is an easy way for me to tell whether or not I'm accepting life on life's terms. All I have to do is ask myself if I am happy, joyous and free in this moment. If I can honestly answer "yes" then I must be accepting life exactly as it is. Am I happy, joyous and free right now? Yes, but it's early. My day is just beginning. My wife is still asleep; I haven't read the news; my neighbors are being nice and quiet. It's a good day, but I've only been awake for fifteen minutes.
On most days my life is like wading through a swamp filled with alligators. It's rare that I can get through a whole day without getting bitten by a variety of problems. I've got a repertoire of physical aches and pains waiting to flair up. Stock market reports and bank statements portend financial ruin. I struggle to make sense of news reports of wars, poverty, death and disease. I see a stain on our new carpeting.
Every one of the people I meet today has the ability to create a problem for me. They make demands; they don't treat me with the courtesy and respect I deserve; they fail to meet my expectations; they don't give me what I want when I want it. My wife has achieved expert status at creating problems for me. But it's not just my wife, It's the people on the streets; the drunks in the meetings; the servers in the restaurants; the drivers on the roads. Everybody really.
My reaction to the problems in my life is to complain, criticize and judge. I am more than happy to share my lamentations of the state of the world today--how everything is going to hell. I often cannot resist pointing out where you are mistaken, what things in your life need your attention, and how you might do things better. My attack dogs find evidence of your guilt and lay it obediently at my feet. I'll judge you as wrong, wrong, wrong. Is it any wonder why I spent so much of my life angry, fearful and anxious?
What I am learning is that there are no problems with life. Challenges yes, but not problems. Life is simply what happens. What happens is never the problem, it's always my fearful reaction to what happens that creates the problem. As the dynamic action of the 12-Steps dissolves the fear, guilt and anger that ruled my life, I am better able to live life on life's terms, to accept life as it is.
Thank God Life doesn't always follow my script. If I had my way, I would've found a new high-paying job instead of getting sober when I did. I might have missed the whole thing.