Self-Acceptance and Self-Knowledge
God, grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change
Courage to change the things I can
And wisdom to know the difference.
This well-known prayer expresses some key guidelines to our philosophy of living. One group member explained it this way:
“For me, the things I cannot change are other people, places, and circumstances. The only things I can change are my attitudes, reactions and action toward the people, places and circumstances in my life.
“The wisdom to know the difference, well, that’s a hard one. I don’t always know what I can and cannot change until I try changing it. Wisdom comes by trial and error. The more experience I have, the more understanding, knowledge, and wisdom I have.”
Today I will accept that much of my wisdom can only come through my daily experiences. I need to expect to make some mistakes in my attitudes, actions, and judgment of what I can and cannot change. I will learn to be patient with myself and others as I gain more understanding from my mistakes.
Part of the Solution
Recently I was standing in the “quick” checkout line at the grocery store. There was lengthy delay with a customer’s check and I could hear grumbling from the people waiting behind me. Before Al-Anon, I would have reacted to this type of situation by shifting from one foot to the other, turning to give “knowing” glances to my fellow sufferers, and sighing impatiently. Of course I never would have complained vocally, which was consistent with how I dealt with unpleasant alcoholic situations in my life. I suffered in silence, allowing my body language to convey my displeasure.
Al-Anon principles have helped me see how I can be part of the problem, or part of the solution. I felt so serene waiting in that line, knowing I did not have the power to change what was happening. By accepting the situation I could stand in line quietly while peacefully scanning magazine covers. I knew the clerk was doing her very best to resolve the problem and she needed my consideration, not my contempt.
When the line finally moved, the customer behind me said loudly, “I hope no one else is going to write a check.” I turned, smiled warmly, and said, “I thought I would write three,” and of course everyone laughed, which broke the tension. I feel I can speak to others in this manner because I felt no animosity to any part of the other customers. I’ve learned in Al-Anon to love everyone in a very special way.
By Anonymous April, 2003
Reprinted with permission of The Forum
Al-Anon Family Groups Incorporated, Virginia Beach, VA
Today's Hope is an Al-Anon themed site and is not affiliated with Al-Anon's World Service Office. The daily sharings contain a reading from Al-Anon's Conference Approved publication The Forum, an inspirational quote/saying and a recovery based reading/meditation. The intent of Today's Hope is to share experience, strength and hope. Please take what you like and leave the rest.