Willpower is not the key to the way of life we are seeking. Surrender is.
“I have spent much of my life trying to make people be, do, or feel something they aren’t, don’t want to do, and choose not to feel. I have made them, and myself, crazy in that process,” said one recovering woman.
I spent my childhood trying to make an alcoholic father who didn’t love himself be a normal person who loved me. I then married an alcoholic and spent a decade trying to make him stop drinking.
I have spent years trying to make emotionally unavailable people be emotionally present for me. I have spent even more years trying to make family members, who are content feeling miserable, happy.
What I’m saying is this: I’ve spent much of my life desperately and vainly trying to do the impossible and feeling like a failure when I couldn’t. It’s been like planting corn and trying to make the seeds grow peas. Won’t work!
By surrendering to powerlessness, I gain the presence of mind to stop wasting my time and energy trying to change and control that which I cannot change and control. It gives me permission to stop trying to do the impossible and focus on what is possible: being who I am, loving myself, feeling what I feel, and doing what I want to do with my life.
In recovery, we learn to stop fighting lions, simply because we cannot win. We also learn that the more we are focused on controlling and changing others, the more unmanageable our life becomes. The more we focus on living our own life, the more we have a life to live, and the more manageable our life will become.
Today, I will accept powerlessness where I have no power to change things, and I’ll allow my life to become manageable.