Step One of Twelve Step Recovery programs goes “We admitted we were powerless over (fill in the addiction blank) and our lives had become unmanageable. I find this concept applies more broadly in my day-to-day existence than the often cited “people, places, and things.”
I rebelled against this understanding early in recovery. As a child of the 60s, I identified strongly with the social activism of the broadly conceived civil rights movements of the time. When first getting sober, I struggled with the idea of surrender to anything other than alcohol and drugs as a passive acceptance of that which I should reject by my high and mighty values.
But I have come to understand this concept differently today. About 10 years ago I remember that my knees and elbows seemed to ache quite a bit more. I thought that this was a part of the aging process and the results of working in heavy industry for all those years and I might as well get used to it. But then, I thought “I am not going there” and made a commitment to lose some weight and bike a good bit more to get past my overly sedentary lifestyle. I was not going to surrender, and I don’t have any joint aches today.
But then I think of folks who propose ideas about needing to learn to moderate their drinking, and that is just a road I have no interest in going down – and that list certainly goes on and on.
That comes down to accepting “the things I cannot change, to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” And I would add not just the wisdom to know the difference, but also the wisdom to know what really needs to be changed!
I thoroughly enjoy that through the experience, strength and hope of recovery, the knowing “when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em” becomes more readily apparent the more I travel along this road.