Accepting the things we cannot change

My son made dinner for the family one day last week, which included a tuna salad.  After the family had eaten, he discovered there was just enough tuna left to have some for his lunch the next day.  He was thrilled!  And then…he walked away.

The sight he beheld upon returning to the kitchen was that of two happy cats finishing the leftovers.  Oh, my, was he ever angry!

From Courage to Change, page 74, March 14:

One beautiful day, a man sat down under a tree, not noticing it was full of pigeons.  Shortly, the pigeons did what pigeons do best.  The man shouted at the pigeons as he stormed away, resenting the pigeons as well as the offending material.  But then he realized that the pigeons were merely doing what pigeons do, just because they’re pigeons and not because he was there.  The man learned to check the trees for pigeons before sitting down.

Active alcoholics are people who drink.  They don’t drink because orf you or me, but because they are alcoholics.  No matter what I do, I will not change this fact, not with guilt, shouting, begging, distracting, hiding money or bottles or keys, lying, threatening, or reasoning.  I didn’t cause alcoholism.  I can’t control it.  And I can’t cure it.  I can continue to struggle and lose.  Or I can accept that I am powerless over alcohol and alcoholism, and let Al-Anon help me to redirect the energy I’ve spent on fighting this disease into recovering from its effects.

Today’s Reminder

It’s not easy to watch someone I love continue to drink, but I can do nothing to stop them.  If I see how unmanageable my life has become, I can admit that I am powerless over this disease.  Then I can really begin to make my life better.

“It stands to reason that a change in us will be a force for good that will help the entire family.”  ~How Can I Help My Children?

Accepting the things we cannot change.

I do not currently have an active alcoholic in my day-to-day life.  Nevertheless, this lesson applies.  Cats will do what cats do.  Pigeons will do what pigeons do.  My 12, 9, and 4 year olds will do what boys of 12, 9, and 4 do.  The love of my life will do what men do.  My boss will absolutely do what bosses do.  My students will, without a doubt, do what students do.  The only things over which I have any control are my own actions and reactions.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change (things that are not me), the courage to change the things I can (me), and the wisdom to know the difference.


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