Saturday, December 11, 2010


I was having a rough time a few weeks ago, and a sticky-note appeared in my office, scrawled in my co-worker signature chicken-scratch:


Later that day my co-worker provided the explanation.

H-A-L-T the acronym for Hungry, Lonely, Angry, and Tired is commonly cited in recovery programs and in 12 step meetings. These are emotional states to be wary of, and avoid, where possible, as they lead often to poor decision-making. "When I start to act irrationally or get in a bad frame of mind I stop(halt) to ask myselfe if I'm experiencing any one of these: Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. And, if so, what can I do about it?" The numbers reference pages in the "Big Book": a reading on acceptance and a reading on forgiveness.

While the reading on forgiveness is a good reading, I particularly relate to and appreciate the one on acceptance.

(The page numbers vary by volume, but the words are the same).

"Acceptance was the Answer":

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 [emphasis added]. 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 an in my my attitudes.

...I'm better off if I don't give advice, don't figure I know what's best, and just accept life on life's terms, as it is today -- especially my own life, as it actually is....

...When I focus on what's good today, I have a good day, and when I focus on what's bad, I have a bad day. If I focus on a problem, the problem increases; if I focus on the answer, the answer increases....

...Perhaps the best thing of all for me is to remember that my serenity is inversely proportional to my expectations. The higher my expectations of Max and other people are, the lower is my serenity. I can watch my serenity level rise when I discard my expectations.

...For my serenity is directly proportional to my level of acceptance. When I remember this, I can see I've never had it so good.

Since reading "Acceptance was the Answer" I have had a few moments here and there when I've been able to really embrace life on life's terms. At these times I'll say, "I am exactly where I need to be at this moment."

My tendency, of course, is to want immediate gratification and to refuse to accept what's in front of me at this moment. I am trying to learn to be patient. It is hard work, and I'm not good at it yet. Lately, I read this chapter almost every day.

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