Embracing Acceptance: The Power of USA, UOA, and ULA in Your Recovery Journey
Recovery isn't just about stopping harmful behaviors; it's also about building a mindset that supports happiness and resilience. That's where Unconditional Self-Acceptance (USA), Unconditional Other-Acceptance (UOA), and Unconditional Life-Acceptance (ULA) come in. These three pillars of acceptance in SMART Recovery help you build a strong emotional foundation by teaching you how to fully accept yourself, others, and life's challenges.
Understanding USA, UOA, and ULA
- Unconditional Self-Acceptance (USA)
Is about loving and accepting yourself completely, no matter what. It means understanding that you are valuable just because you exist, not because of what you do or don't do.
- Unconditional Other-Acceptance (UOA)
Involves applying the same kind of total acceptance to other people. It's recognizing that everyone, just like you, is doing their best and deserves acceptance, even if they sometimes make mistakes or do things you don't like.
- Unconditional Life-Acceptance (ULA)
Is about accepting life in all its complexity. It means understanding that life is a mix of good and bad, easy and hard, and it's all part of the journey.
Why Acceptance Is So Important
- Learning to Love Yourself with USA
Everyone makes mistakes, but sometimes, we can be really hard on ourselves because of them. USA teaches you to love yourself — all of yourself — even the parts you're working on changing. When you accept yourself unconditionally, you create a safe space to grow, change, and heal.
- Building Better Relationships with UOA
Just like we make mistakes, so does everyone else. UOA helps you understand this, making it easier to forgive others and accept them as they are. This doesn't mean you have to accept bad behavior. Instead, it's about seeing the whole person and understanding that we're all human.
- Embracing Life's Ups and Downs with ULA
Life can be a roller coaster. There are ups and downs, and sometimes, things don't go the way we want. ULA is about knowing that this is okay — it's just how life works. By accepting life's challenges, we become stronger and more resilient, ready to face whatever comes next.
Putting Acceptance into Practice
Understanding USA, UOA, and ULA is great, but the real power comes when you put them into practice. Here's how:
For USA: Whenever you're hard on yourself, pause. Remind yourself of your value and that you deserve love and respect just as you are.
For UOA: When someone else's actions bother you, take a moment to think about the person as a whole. Remember that everyone has their struggles and deserves understanding.
For ULA: In tough times, instead of asking "Why me?", consider saying "Why not me?" Challenges are a part of life, and you're strong enough to handle them.
Conclusion: The Strength in Acceptance
Recovery is a journey, and every journey has its challenges. With USA, UOA, and ULA, you're not just surviving these challenges; you're thriving through them. By learning to unconditionally accept yourself, others, and life, you're building a strong, resilient mindset that's ready for anything. Remember, acceptance doesn't mean giving up. It means having the courage to face reality with an open heart and a ready spirit, prepared to make the most of whatever comes your way.
The ABC Model is a good way of understanding how we can help change our feelings and behaviour by challenging our thinking.
When to Use This Tool
The ABC Model is a good way of understanding how we can help change our feelings and behaviour by challenging our thinking. It helps us uncover beliefs that are not helping us /contributing to the behaviour we are trying to change.
This exercise may be done in the group setting but can also be very useful for participants to look at between meetings.
How To Use This Tool
When working with urges: To analyze a lapse/relapse or to develop coping statements for an anticipated lapse/relapse.
In the event of a lapse, the question to ask is not “What made me do that”, but rather, “How did I talk myself into it?” It is not the urge (A) that causes the lapse (C). It is our beliefs (B); our irrational self-talk.
With emotional upset:
The ABC Model can also be used to work with emotional upset or frustrations that may occur at any point in the recovery journey. The ABCs allow us to discover our unhelpful beliefs which contribute to emotional upsets. Disputing helps us eliminate our irrational thinking so we can both feel better and do better. In SMART Recovery we teach that we feel the way we think; it’s not unpleasant events that disturb us, it’s the way we think of them. By changing our thinking, we change how we feel.
Identifying and Disputing Unhelpful Thinking.
Disputing is a process of challenging the way we think about situations. It’s about trying to look at thoughts more accurately. Disputing unhelpful thinking can help us make more informed decisions about thoughts instead of just acting on them. Balanced thinking leads to effective new beliefs.