The Do’s of Acceptance, Action and Courage and the Don’ts of the 4M’s

Taken from  and

Happiness is not something readymade. It comes from your own actions.

Tenzin Gyatso

The Do’s – Reflection on Acceptance, Action and Courage

Acceptance is not submission; it is acknowledgement of the facts of a situation. Then deciding what you’re going to do about it.

Kathleen Casey Theisen

Recovery offers us courage to make choices about the events of our lives. Passive compliance with whatever is occurring need no longer dominate our pattern of behavior.  Powerlessly watching our lives go by was common for many of us, and our feelings of powerlessness escalated the more idle we were.

Today, action is called for, thoughtful action in response to the situations begging for our attention.  Recovery’s greatest gift is the courage to take action, to make decisions that will benefit us as well as the people who are close to us. Courage is the byproduct of our spiritual progress, courage to accept what we cannot change, believing that all will be well, courage to change in ourselves what we do have control over.  

An exhilaration about life accompanies the taking of action. The spell that idleness casts over us is broken, and subsequent actions are even easier to take. Clearly, making a choice and acting on it is healthy. The program has given us the tools to do both.

Decisions will be called for today. I will be patient with myself, and thoughtful. I will listen closely to the guidance that comes from those around me.

The Don’ts – Reflection On The 4 M’s

I will not use the 4 M’s Manipulating, Managing, Mothering, Martyrdom as a way to deal with the things I cannot change or use these less healthy actions to change the things I can.  

So, what are the 4 M’s and have I every used them?   Let’s look at the 4 M’s and uncover some ways we may have responded in the past which led to our drinking. These behaviors may no longer serve the healthy life we are now creating.

The 4 M’s

Have you ever found yourself trying to do it all? Have you ever tried to fix someone else in your life, but not work on yourself?  Have you ever tried to force things to work out your way? Have you ever felt totally unappreciated for ‘All the Things’ you were doing at work, around the house, or for others?

If you answered yes to any of these, you may have been practicing one of the 4 M’s.

These are the four M’s; managing, mothering, martyrdom, and manipulating.


Do I try to manage and control my live and the lives of those around me?   Have I done this with my Drinking or Drug use?

How have I taken on responsibilities that were not mine?

Have I ever been called a control freak?


Have I ever mothered others by “cleaning up” their problems, by doing things for them that they could have done for themselves?

Have I ever felt that God wants or needs me to take care of others?


How have I played the martyr? What did I hope to gain?    Have I let the behavior of others, either real or imagined, give me the excuse to drink and drug?  Or worse yet, stay emotionally and mentally ill because of what they did to me or did not do for me? Have I used martyrdom for justification to drink? For example, “nobody understands me or what I have been through.”


How did I try to manipulate others?  Lie, cheat, or not tell the whole truth to get what I wanted. 

Have I “set up” a situation to workout in my favor?  Creating scenarios where I could drink or use. 

Below are some AA tools to help us rely less on these crutches and avoid losing our sobriety, emotional and physical.  

Replacing The Don’ts with the Do’s

AA Tools – 12 step tools that give us alternatives to the 4 M’s. 

Inventory – being aware and acknowledging my behavior with self and others. Check my motives before acting. 

Sponsorship – I will listen closely to the guidance that comes from those around me.

Slogans – Easy Does It – stop trying to fix everything and everyone that comes across my path, instead practice Live and Let Live and keep the focus on myself and my recovery. 

Spiritual Principles – Practice these principles in all our affairs.   

– Instead of Managing – Practice Acceptance and Faith

– Instead of Mothering – Practice Hope, Surrender and Loving Detachment

– Instead of Martyrdom, – Practice Forgiveness, Courage, Acceptance and Self-Care

– Instead of Manipulation – Practice Honesty, Humility, and Surrender

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