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Raising Sprits with the 3 A’s
Recently at a 12 Step meeting someone mentioned the 3 A’s. These were new to me and brought more light and understanding to my life.

The three A’s are: Awareness, Acceptance and Action.

These work for all my problems. I have seen many clients stuck in awareness and not wanting to accept reality. With acceptance, action becomes possible.

In order to solve a problem or a block in life we have to become aware there is a problem. Awareness can be blinded by denial. For years my awareness had dimmed by listening to words of assurance from a good friend that he was drug free. A drug arrest made living in this non- reality impossible. Unfortunately awareness is not always what we want to see or know. Life does not give us a choice sometimes.

My client Betty (not her real name) comes to mind. Her husband left over a year ago and the divorce becomes final soon. She got startled into awareness by his leaving although he had told her for over a year he wanted to leave. She has remained stuck hoping for him to return. Her personal and business life are stagnant too. If she could move to acceptance, then she could take action and move forward.

Acceptance changes our prospective. It is like we can see clearly now. My job was to show Betty future possibilities that were waiting for her when she stops looking over her shoulder at the past. It is almost impossible to walk forward looking over your shoulder. We all have the power to change or lives. Hopefully Betty will move to acceptance soon. Our session ended with a list of proactive steps to take. Life is a choice. By moving into acceptance with a situation you can move forward to take action.

I sometimes see a client sitting on a fence between awareness and acceptance. I remind them sitting on a fence is most uncomfortable especially if it they have been sitting there for a long period of time. It is very energy draining to balance awareness and acceptance of that awareness.

Action is moving energy. We all feel so much better when we take some action on a problem. The energy changes from slow, dragging, hardly able to accomplish much in a day, to invigorating and exciting full of action. Possibilities come in to view and we can feel our whole being lifted up in excitement and anticipation. Sometimes all that is asked of us is to take a few steps forward to show the universe we are aware and have accepted the problem and are now willing to have it resolved. This is the surrender part because we don’t have to know how it is going to be resolved. We do not want to limit the outcome to what we can see. No it is much better to be open to the power of the Universe, which may happen in a very different way from what we thought possible. It is always better and bigger than what we dreamed. We just focus on the end result as if it has already happened. We put our energy forward to seeing a resolution without knowing what the resolution looks like. Peace of mind is everything and is possible after action has been taken. I sometimes tell clients that our job is to put the mail in all the boxes and then wait to see what is delivered to us.

The 3 A’s have been very clear to me lately. Do all the action things you can see to do and then wait for the response without being attached to that response. Just have faith it will work out for the best. Sometimes just clearing off my desk or cleaning a closet helps move the energy.

I have chosen to do volunteer work with a prison facility. I go to a 12 Step meeting there. Awareness hits hard here. Often not until they are locked up does the reality hit that they have a problem-not everyone else is responsible for their being here-they did it to themselves. These wonderful ladies have taught me so much. It is rewarding to hear them share their stories of how prison woke them up. Some even say that prison is the best thing that has happened to them. It has been the first time some have been sober in many years. So they become acutely aware they have an addiction problem. Some never get to the acceptance part. They are living to get out and repeat the addiction again. Wise ones move on to acceptance of their addiction. It is not easy to admit they cause their own problems or that their actions put them in jail. It is tough accepting that sobriety is the only way to get their lives back. The structured life of lock up leads to soul searching and finally acceptance by more than a few. The 12 Step program really helps, as do our meetings when they get to express themselves. Some take the courageous step to have a sponsor take them through the 12 steps.

The last part is action. That is the part that is essential for recovery. The ladies have to make changes. Some get a sponsor and work the steps. Some find a closer relationship with God. Others form close connections to those around them and together they help one another learn to live one day at a time in serenity.

Last week at a meeting 2 people shared as they were being released in a few days. One was very honest about going back to the life of addiction and mentioned we would probably see her again. The other has been working the program, plans to see her sponsor after she leaves and wants to be a real mother to her kids now. She has definite plans about what she was changing when she got home. It will take hard work. She is going to change her friends and her ways to have fun without addiction. I saw a lot of hope and possibility around her. We will probably not ever see her again. Jail can be a big wake up call. It leaves a lasting impression and offers a chance to move forward.

Interestingly enough I taught a workshop on “Unlocking Prison Doors” a few years ago. It focused on how we created our own prisons in this world. Addiction creates a definite prison for the whole family if we choose to stay in it. It is possible to get out with your sanity and serenity.

I want to leave you with the Serenity Prayer that has been so useful in my life and the lives of many others.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can;
And the wisdom to know the difference.

My wish for you is to live in serenity one day at a time. It is possible with use of the 3A’s-Awareness, Acceptance and Action. With awareness you recognize the problem, with acceptance you can give up trying to fix others and with action it is possible to move forward to a life of peace and joy. Peace of mind is everything-and it will set you free.

Paula Vaughan is medium, spiritual counselor and a member of Edgar Cayce’s Panel of Professional Psychics. She can be reached at 303-447-0250 or by email at Visit her website at She lives in Boulder, CO.
2007-01-06 18:01:29
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