"What's a "quiet mind" and how do I get one?"
For me, it's a mind that isn't full of stress, resentment, frustration, impatience, plans, worries, stress.
How do I achieve a quiet mind? Through a little exercise called "thought-stopping." I try to be aware of what I'm thinking, and when I start down a negative path inside my head, I say to myself, "No, I'm not going to go there today" and deliberately begin to think of something which pleases me - this varies with each person. I might find gardening a pleasant thought - you may find it stressful. Think of whatever works for you.
This is a learned skill, and the more you practise, the better at it you will become. I've reached a wonderful place in my recovery now, where I can remind myself with two words: "God's love."
"How do I accept what I find unacceptable - the alcoholic's drinking?"
I understand that I have no control over what the alcoholic does. No control. Not some control, a bit of control, a bit of influence, some effect - none. When I was living with active drinking, and the alcoholic would pop that first beer of the day, I'd start up inside my head with all the angry, frustrated judgemental thoughts. I had to learn to be aware of what I was thinking, and not allow myself to think those things, because the more thinking I did, the worse I felt. I could barely begin to understand detachment at that stage, but I believed my sponsor had it, and she was firm in her belief that I could acquire it through working the first 3 Steps, so I chose to start out by trying to believe her.
"What if I don't want to accept?"
You don't if you choose not to, but if you don't accept, nothing much will change. I didn't want to accept, but I did want to feel better. I was promised that working the program would help me to feel better, so I decided to do it. It worked. Once I realised that, I didn't have any more difficulty in motivating myself to continue. If you can't believe for yourself that this will work, can you believe that it has worked for the other long-timers in Al-Anon, and start from there?
"Why do I have to work the Steps?"
Well, you don't - it's entirely your choice how far you get into this program, and how deep your recovery runs. Some people never do work the Steps, they just go to meetings - and they don't get all of the peace, serenity and joy available to them, they get just enough to manage. I wanted more than just to manage. I know that's maddening to read or hear, but it's the truth for me.
"Are you in a different place than you were 5 years ago?"
Yes, hugely different. And if I keep this up, and stay alive, I'll be in a hugely different place again, in another 5 years. But for now, I live one day at a time, and marvel at my gratitude and serenity, some days. I pray to achieve that every day, and I believe I can, if I'm accepting, and keep letting go.