A year or so ago my girlfriend gave me a bracelet that says, “it is what it is.” I rarely take it off. It’s a great reminder to accept whatever is showing up in my life. I don’t have to like what’s going on. I just must accept it for what it is, God’s will. I suffer whenever I am unable or unwilling to accept God’s will because, in essence, I am arguing with reality.

Acceptance for me is not resignation. It is not giving up or giving in. It is simply acknowledging that God placed the person, event or situation in my life to help me grow. The experience may not feel good. It may be tragic. It may scare the hell out of me, but somehow every experience is necessary for my spiritual growth. I can’t hope to benefit from any experience until I first accept it.

I am much better at accepting God’s will today than I was when I began my spiritual journey in Alcoholics Anonymous. Back then I had no choice but to resist any experience that didn’t jive with my insane belief system about how life should work and how other people should behave. I had no choice but to react in fear and resist any kind of change. The longer I resisted God's plan for me, the more painful my life became. Today I look at these painful experiences as gifts. I'm grateful for the pain because there is no way I could have traveled from where I was to where I am today without them.

Through the years, AA and the Twelve Steps melted away much of the self-centered fear that kept me a prisoner to ego-mind. Most of the fear that walked through the doors with me is gone. It has been replaced by a faith that works in all conditions. Today I have the faith that I’ll be shown the way through every painful experience and I’ll come out the other side a more peaceful, happier and contented person. Acceptance is the first step.