Knowing that I have to power to control my addictions is great. I knew I had the power for the twenty-five years that I simply could not control my addictions. But I knew that I could, if I wanted to. I just didn’t want to. So, maybe, just maybe the key to contented sobriety has more to do with wanting it than it has to do with not being able to control it? After all, if I really wanted it, I would not have willingly given control to the booze, and could have simply stayed sober and saved a lot of people a lot of pain. What kind of monster would allow the people he loves to suffer?
An addicted one!
I lacked the courage to change that which I could, and did not possess the serenity to accept what I could not, so I did what an good alcoholic would do: I decided that it was all nonsense, threw wisdom out the window and kept on drinking. I spend a lot of time with people like me; people who struggle with addiction. Nearly every one of us had to come to grips with our powerlessness over that which addicted us. For some, it was a relief; knowing that the game was fixed and always had been made it easier to accept. For others, admitting powerlessness was akin to death. We value our freedom far too much to have it hindered by anything we cannot control. We fought our powerlessness with everything we had, only to fail again and again. Only after it became abundantly clear that by allowing the possibility that we are powerless into our minds we might find some relief did we do so.
Addiction is only one of the many things I am powerless over. Admitting this does not make me weak, I do not waste time fighting an inevitable fact. All of us are powerless. Not one of us alive today will be here a hundred or so years from now. I will not be here forever, and that is okay. It is remarkable how “accepting things we cannot change” makes “changing things we cannot accept” possible. We may be powerless over many things, but not all. Knowing the difference makes the difference between success and failure. Alcohol may have power over me when it enters my bloodstream, but if it is not allowed access it has no power. That power diverts right back to where it belongs.
“God, (of my choosing) grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference.”