Receiving Gifts

Personally, I have always found accepting gifts, financial and otherwise, to be extremely uncomfortable. As a compulsive debtor and spender, I loved being the beneficent giver. In fact, it was a drug for me and I literally would feel high from it.

But receiving gifts, especially in recovery, brings up all kinds of emotions for me, such as my desire to give back equally and my unworthiness to receive the gift.

In my post on Children, Parents, and Money, I discuss issues surrounding accepting financial support from one’s parents as an adult. There are often strings attached and the price for the gift may be too high.

However, there are many other cases where a gift is given without any conditions. These may be financial, material, or time. I have learned a lot in recovery about how to graciously accept such gifts and why doing so is an important recovery skill.

  • Accepting a gift, lovingly and unconditionally given, is also a present to the giver, and provides him or her an opportunity to express generosity.
  • Accepting gifts graciously is part of our allowing prosperity to enter our lives, which is one of the DA Promises (#4): “We will begin to live a prosperous life, unencumbered by fear, worry, resentment or debt.”
  • Instead of thinking about how to repay the giver equivalently, focus on the concept of “paying it forward.” Do what you are able, when the opportunity presents itself, to be generous to someone else in some way, either with money, time, or another method.

    Have you seen the commercial where one kind act has a domino effect? I can’t remember the exact incidents, but for instance, the office worker walks into the lunchroom, sees a spill and cleans it up. A worker eating lunch watches him do so. After work, that person sees an older woman needing help crossing the street and assists her, and it goes on and on. Kind acts truly do promote an attitude of becoming aware of opportunities to be generous (i.e., do service in DA jargon).

  • We do not live in a one-way world. We are allowed to receive good as well as do good. We are worthy beings.

So, the next time you are offered a kindness or gift unconditionally, instead of allowing ego to make you feel badly, consider using it as an opportunity to practice acceptance and receive abundance, which is a core spiritual concept of DA.

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