Good topic Larc, I gave this some thought and I guess one of the most obvious things might be that denial is the opposite of acceptance, and the other 3 steps is essentially the process. I suppose this doesn't necessarily have to be about death or the prospect of death, but in a way we are dying from moment to moment, not to mention that questioning our former belief system would negate the teaching of everlasting life for many. In any case, I suppose we can say it is a matter of dealing with some kind of loss..
As for the 3 processing steps in the middle - anger, negotiation and depression - I don't believe it is necessarily a sequence. I should note that I am also a person who doesn't keep track of the past in a linear fashion, I remember things but don't remember when it happend, and if you asked me about the order of events regarding my past I would probably only be accurate to 1-2 years. Nevertheless, I still think that for others it may also happen in parallel. For example, one may be experiencing depression throughout the stage of anger or negotiation, or both. I know this is true for myself, because for a long time I was processing this stuff but not on a conscious level, and the depression was always there.
Now as for the question of how to come to acceptance, I think it can in fact be easier than we think. Certainly, there can be no promises as far as time frame is concerned, but perhaps it is a matter of how we understand time.. (I should probably read Stephen's other thread first, but I can always reply to that one too ;) ) I believe the practice of meditation can really help. I recently did a 4 week Vipassana (insight) meditation retreat, and I have to say that I literally feel like a new person. The practice centers around the present moment, your experience right now - the thoughts that are in your mind, the body sensations you feel, etc. I'm no expert, but I think basically when you are not thinking of the past or the future, it allows you to concentrate on the matter at hand, and that does not necessarily have to be some external task to be performed. We live in the present moment, the person that experienced the trauma in the past is a different person, even if only to a small degree. The person we want to heal is also in the present, and it seems to me that often when we focus our mind on the present rather than the past, that itself takes a big load off our shoulders.
Of course, there's still the matter of processing all this stuff that we've been taught for so many years. I don't think the details of this process has to happen on a conscious level. There are times in my own life when I'm not even formally meditating, but perhaps just sitting quietly in a contemplative state, and insights just pops up in my head, out of the blue. Of course, everyone is different, and if you have issues on a conscious level you'd likely want to resolve it consciously too. I myself just had that heavy feeling in my heart through the years before I came to accept the fact that I am no longer a JW.
I couldn't comment on how one might consciously process the specific issues associated with leaving the organization as there are many and is no doubt different with everyone. I do have one observation that I think may be helpful though, and that is how we reframe our memories. I recall from my psych classes that memory isn't exactly a reliable thing, that often times it may not be very accurate depending on how we recall things. But I think the important thing is the fact that we CAN reframe it. We can choose to associate other emotions with the same memory. One way that I look at my JW history is seeing it as a learning experience. I find comfort in knowing that I'm wiser now and will not fall into the same trap again. While we may miss our friends and family who are still in the organization, I think another way to look at that is to recognize the value of those ties, but on an individual level we must realize how confused they are, too. Perhaps the lesson there is to appreciate the social and familial relationships we do have, but accept them for who they are and what they stand for.
It seems to me acceptance is really important in everyday life. We may live with someone who is absent minded, perhaps they leave their belongings around the house. Instead of just asking or expecting them to change, it would probably be wise to recognize that atleast for right now, that is just the way they are. Now that's a small thing that a lot people would no doubt put up with. But other things like the teachings and practices of the WTS are much bigger, and it is certainly unreasonable to think that they will change just because you ask them to, when you can't even get your kid to pick up their clothes. We must accept things as they are, because that is the truth of the matter. The other side of it is to recognize the truth about ourselves. If we're honest in both regards our course of action should be perfectly clear.