Monday, May 30, 2011

Disagreeable and Lonesome.

"The question is not what a man can scorn, or disparage, or find fault with, but what he can love, and value, and appreciate."
                                                            John Ruskin.

Many of us have had so many years of frustration with someone's drinking by the time we hit the rooms of Al-Anon, that it can be quite the project to begin "loving, valuing and appreciating" our alcoholics.

We may treat our partner with a scornful disdain, while complaining that they no longer give us the affection we need and want. Someone once asked me, after I'd been complaining about the way I was treated by my first husband, "How do you treat him? With respect?"

I fell silent, unable to reply in the affirmative. I had lost all respect for him, with my loss of trust in him. I was new enough to Al-Anon to still be quite skilled at dismissing anything which didn't fit my world view, but that was one of those questions that would not be dismissed, it kept arising in my internal dialogue.

When working my first Step Four, I had to admit that I treated my first husband with contempt, disdain, rudeness, and cruelty, while at the same time complaining of the way he treated me. We were horrible to each other, it was just that his nastiness was delivered at the top of his voice, and mine came in quiet cutting remarks dropped into silences.

I could not begin to grow until I was able to admit where I was at the moment. All of my blaming and demonising of him may have satisfied the more childish element of my character, but it gave me no peace, and negatively affected my self-respect.

I have become a person I can love and respect, through my slow (so slow!) willingness to see my own character defects as affecting my experience in the world. If I am disagreeable, I will most likely be lonesome, because who wants to be around a chronic complainer who is full of scorn for the things others treasure?

When my husband was graduating from college, I somehow ended up sitting in the audience beside a woman who leant over and tried to fill my ear with disparaging remarks about the college, the courses, the instructors, the students...she was the girlfriend of a man who'd been in one of my husband's courses, and who he'd tried to avoid, because this man and his girlfriend shared a worldview unremittingly negative.

Before Al-Anon, I considered happy people to be fools who either didn't understand the realities of human life, or lucky bastards who had somehow escaped what the rest of us had suffered. It was unimaginable to me that anyone could suffer, and come through that suffering with an ability to "love, value, and appreciate."

From Courage to Change, page 148:

"After so many disappointments, it seemed too painful to continue to hope. We shut our hearts and minds to our dreams, and stopped expecting to find happiness. We weren't happy, but at least we wouldn't be let down anymore."

We may start out using a negative attitude as a way to protect our inner selves from the blows of disappointment, but it can become habitual, and then we're in real trouble, because our inner dialogue stops offering us the positive side, and we forget that there is one.

The reading goes on:

"I will not let fear of disappointment prevent me from enjoying this day. I have a great capacity for happiness."

I have found this to be nothing but the pure truth. I do have a great capacity for happiness, and that's a glorious thing.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Blind Determination

 ... can lead us to a destination other than the one we've planned.  When we ignore the speed limit, the caution signs, the signs telling us precisely where we will end up if we take this offramp, we cannot then complain when we arrive, and discover to our dismay, that it isn't where we thought we wanted to go, after all. It's not nirvana, it's not perfection, it's not at all the way we thought it would be. It's somewhere else, and - we don't like it much.

I've always liked this warning:

"When people tell you who they are, pay attention."

I take this to mean that most people give us a fairly good description of themselves in their stories, attitudes, opinions, and also by what they find amusing. 

Romantic relationships seem to be one area of life, in which we can deny the realities of another person's character, while we work like the dickens to try to make the person fit our ideal of them. I don't know why denial operates so powerfully in this area, but I've done this myself, and I've seen it done. We build a container first - this can have roots in our childhoods - and then go looking for someone to force into it. Only problem being:

You can't change other people.

When the person finally musters the strength to break out of the cage in which we've tried to contain them, to reassert what is, after all, their true nature, we can feel betrayed, outraged, angry. But it's not that they've acted out of character, but that they've gone back to acting precisely in character. The character we tried to eradicate, as we attempted to make them fit our construct.

Looking back at my first marriage, I can see that my ex told me who he was quite plainly, and I ignored it. I tried to make him fit my ideal, and he tried to comply, until he couldn't stand it anymore, and went back to being himself. I carried a lot of resentment towards him for that, but in reality, what else could I expect?

In Al-Anon, I have learned that when I accept and admit to my powerlessness, I am allowing my Higher Power the room to make changes for me. I don't have to like those changes right off the bat - they may cause me intense pain, the end of a relationship, grief and sorrow.

My part, is to pay attention when someone tells me who they are, so I'm not lost in a fantasy of how it might be/could be, if I were able to successfully manipulate this person into being and doing what I want.  When I find myself engaged in that activity, I know I've lost my focus, and I'm heading to a place I've visited in the past, and from which I couldn't wait to get away - denial. I don't want to go there.

How do I avoid it? Pay attention. Read the road signs - if they tell me I'm headed toward Disaster -  population too many to count; don't ignore that and start insisting that I'm driving in the direction of My Heart's Desire After Some Major Demolition and Rebuilding.

I can't change other people. If they tell me who they are, and I'm not comfortable with that -  let go, move on. My part in this is to face reality, act honorably, and don't try to change anyone but myself.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Pride Comes Before A Fall.

I was talking to an Al-Anon friend yesterday, about the elderly gentleman who had been so utterly convinced that he knew exactly when "The Rapture" was coming. She made me laugh when she said, "How's that for a life lesson on "Don't project! and "Stay in the moment!"

I replied that he didn't seem to be a person who learned from his mistakes, since this is his third failed prediction about the end of the world. My friend had seen him interviewed a couple of days before the date he'd picked, and the interviewer had asked, "What if it doesn't happen?"
"Oh, it will happen."
"But what if it doesn't?"
"It will happen."
But what if it doesn't, what then?"
"It WILL happen!"

She said she'd remarked to her husband at the time, "Imagine having that guy in your family, and trying to get him to compromise on something." Her husband had looked over at her, and said lovingly, "You were sort of like that, before Al-Anon."  She'd threatened him with a small pillow, and been about to make some smartass response, but stopping to think about it, she had to admit  - it was true. She'd always been predicting some dire outcome to her husband's drinking, in an effort to control him. Not only that, but she had the same stubbornness of thinking that the elderly gentleman had seemed to demonstrate.

We had the giggles by this time, but she got me thinking, and ... I was sort of like that, myself. I had decided opinions, was very rigid in my thinking, and when I wasn't regretting the past, I was looking to the future. The present was just something to "get through" as best I could. I was unable to allow for other people's ideas or points of view, I was controlling, I was always looking outside myself for happiness.

I was more concerned for my pride than for my spirit.

In Al-Anon, I have learned to accept that one certainty in my life, however long it may be, is that I'm going to make mistakes. I'm so grateful to this program for having taught me to find the humour in that fact: to be able to have a way of viewing it, which allows for have laughing fits with my program friends and my sponsor, when we discuss my human frailties.

My pride no longer trips me up, because it no longer matters what other people think of me. What matters is what I think of me. As long as I am honestly working my program, I can feel serenity and content, and let all the rest of it go, turn it over. I can live in this moment, and that's enough.

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Wisdom of Old-Timers.

I'd forgotten, when writing yesterday's post, about an old-timer I knew from an open AA meeting, in a place we once lived. He was one of those gruff old guys who put on the facade to try to hide a very soft heart; when he was a young man, men were supposed to be tough all the time.

He had a phrase he used, for those people who were really involved in AA, in sponsorship, and meetings, and for one reason or another, decided to pull out, pull away, and stop showing up. It was a shorthand way to describe the very real danger they were in, when they decided to go it alone, without the support of AA, and other alcoholics, to maintain their sobriety.

In his almost 50 years in AA, he'd seen many  people who'd stopped attending meetings, drank again, and never managed to make it back. There was no judgement in his eyes when he spoke of this, only a resigned sadness for the human ability to deny reality, and sometimes, his eyes would well up, as he talked of someone lost again to the disease of alcoholism.

He'd been to countless funerals, for those who once sat beside him in meetings, and the pain showed when he spoke of this. But somehow, he never lost his ability to believe in sponsorship, and he had an unquenchable belief that "it works if you work it.

I wouldn't have thought I'd ever have forgotten his term, because it gave me the shivers, and still does now.

He called them "dead man walking."

Sunday, May 22, 2011


"A friend, sober for 15 years, very active in AA, has suddenly decided that he's "not getting anything out of it anymore," and has stopped going to meetings. I'm really worried that he's going to drink again, and throw away all that he's got going for him. How can I help him?"

Anyone who's been around 12-Step programs, and alcoholics, for any length of time, will have heard about something like this, many times over. Perhaps the alcoholic has reached a point of wanting to prove to themselves that they can "handle it alone," even though all of their personal experience has proven time and again that they cannot. The Big Book of AA speaks to this, in the passages describing the alcoholic's inability to remember the terrible results of their drinking.

Or maybe they've been in a relationship with someone who frequents the same groups; when the romance ends, not wanting to have to see the person, they stop going to the meetings.

I've seen alcoholics who have had sobriety and a good life, drink again for no reason that anyone, including themselves once they sober up, can readily explain. It happens, and it's out of our hands.

You mentioned in your email, that he'd told you his own sponsees were telling him they thought he was doing the wrong thing, and it only had the effect of making him more stubborn in his defense of his choice. An alcoholic friend of mine, once commented ruefully that she was at her most intransigent, when she was fully aware that she was heading for disaster.

It can be agonising to watch someone making what may seem to us, to be insane choices, and say nothing. When we care for another human being, we want to help. But when we start trying to steer, or control, an alcoholic, we are setting ourselves up for failure, resentment and anger.

We all have to learn our own lessons, in our own time.

Some of us can forget those lessons when life has been good for a long while, and the only way to reinforce them, is to "go back out" and relearn them.  The terrifying truth about addiction, is the very real possibility that the person may not make it back to sobriety. People die when they go back out.

So we listen to the rationalisations, and watch the behavior choices, and we cringe in fear and trembling, for the denial demonstrated, and the willingness to lose all the ground so painfully gained. I wish I had something helpful to offer, but I really don't. Look after yourself, and try to detach from your friend's choices - you have no control over what he decides to do.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Seen Through A Glass, Darkly.

When I decide I know how another person is thinking, or what they mean when they say something, I am setting myself up for trouble.

From Courage to Change, page 140:

"And how did others appear to me? Happy and self-confident - they seemed to have all the answers. But because of the front that I put on, people thought I was easy-going and happy, too. If they could be mistaken about how I really felt, couldn't I have a few wrong ideas about their feelings?"

When I was new to program, my negative attitude colored my perception of what other people said/thought/felt/meant. I was always on guard against sarcasm, or snarkiness, or what have you. I saw it everywhere, and was easily offended and upset. People couldn't be trusted, they were always trying to "get at me" and they might be smiling and friendly, but I was convinced I knew what was really going on inside their heads.

I have, with the aid of Al-Anon, pretty much let that brand of insanity go. If someone offers me a cheerful response, I accept it at face value. I don't go searching behind the words for the "true" meaning.

It's amazing how my own changed attitude, has rendered life and the world so much less threatening, so much more accepting - warmer. When I was defensive and threatened, I couldn't understand that how I viewed the world, and the people in it, affected my feelings of safety and personal comfort.

What I love about program, is that we are each allowed to use whatever works for us. When I was new, the slogans sounded like trite, annoying little sayings that couldn't possibly help me.

I didn't understand that my attitude was of paramount importance.

Just as people in double blind studies can derive positive effect from a pill if they believe they are getting the real thing, not the placebo, how I view the tools of Al-Anon will affect how well they work for me. If I dismiss the slogans as useless little cliches, they can't help me. If I choose to see them as little snippets of distilled wisdom, I can use that wisdom in my daily life;

It's always easier to scoff than to believe - belief takes effort, and hard work. How badly do I want recovery?

It works if we work it. If I choose to sneer and dismiss, I won't be deriving much help from the program.

Monday, May 16, 2011

I Want It Now! Or Sooner.

One aspect of running a business which I've always found interesting, are those who call and want us to start "immediately." It's the nature of this business that the only people who can start "right away," are the ones to whom you wouldn't want to trust the contract.

A lot of life is about waiting, and what do I do while I wait? Fume and pace, or find another way to occupy my time? It's my choice.

If I remark to my husband that something seems to be taking an awfully long time, his stock reply is a question: "Perhaps your Higher Power is teaching you patience?"

The first thousand times he asked that, I felt a mild annoyance with him. Over the years, it has become one of those little private jokes between two people - he doesn't have say it aloud anymore, he can just turn to me, raise one eyebrow, and I'll start to laugh.

It's evolved from a reply which provoked irritation, to a comforting reminder that life is working out as it is meant to, and I don't need to be champing at the bit, I can find something else to do while I wait. I often find that when I look back afterwards, I realise that if I'd gotten my desire at the moment I'd desired it, I'd have missed out on something which could only have happened if I was able to demonstrate patience, by waiting without complaint.

I don't know about patience being a virtue, but it does contribute to my serenity.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Time Flies Whether You're Having Fun Or Struggling - This Too Shall Pass.

I haven't posted here in a week, an insane week of a trip to the larger city a few hours away, then home and engulfed by dealing with the business stuff which had piled up unbelievably in only a couple of days. Success is wonderful, but it certainly seems to require an enormous outlay of time.

Lots of folks here moaning about the weather - we're having a very wet spring. I'm so used to this sort of climate that it doesn't even register. I long ago realised I either accepted the rain, or go quietly mad. We don't get the torrential downpours for days on end, that I endured when I was living in rainforest. A light rain is as nothing, compared to those soakers. It may rain here, but it stops. The sun shines about twice as often as it did in the last place we lived, and for that, I am deeply grateful.

My garden is leaping ahead with all the rain - that's fun, to see the huge amount of growth just in the few days I was out of town.

I'm feeling peaceful, accepting, grateful, and serene. I love this state of mind - serenity. When I was new to Al-Anon, I knew the meaning of the word, but I had no real understanding, because I'd never achieved it. Truthfully? I wasn't sure I believed it was possible. That makes me smile to recall. I was pessimisstic and negative; I've changed greatly over the years.

From the ODAT, page 135:

"Acceptance appears to be a state of mind in which the individual accepts, rather than rejects or resists; he is able to take things in, to go along with, to cooperate and be receptive."
                               (Dr. Harry M. Tiebout)

When I accept, take things in, go along, cooperate and am receptive, life flows smoothly, and I open myself to joy and serenity. When I let go of wanting someone else to be different, and allow them to live their own life, I then have the space and time (which was previously filled with resentment and obsessing) to achieve that which may have seemed impossible - serenity of mind and spirit.

Just as I cannot fix the other, so can no-one fix me; I have to be willing to do the hard work of program on my own. If I'm not ready, I won't do it. In the beginning, I needed to take it on faith when my sponsor and oldtimers in the program told me that "it worked if you work it." After I'd accumulated a few examples of this reality, I then could remind myself.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Personal Space - Don't Stand So Close To Me!

When we lived in a small town, one of our neighbours was very invasive of personal space. On one occasion, my husband and I were standing looking out a front window, and saw her talking to a mutual friend. She'd step into his personal space, and he'd respond by backing up a step, to restore his "comfort zone." That would last all of 30 seconds, before she'd again take a step closer. In this way did she slowly back him down the street, while we watched and laughed. She was also a person who had to touch whomever she was speaking to, little pats on the arm, pokes, once she even tucked my hair behind my ear.

I'd mustered up my courage, finally, to say to her, as gently as possible, "Please don't stand so close to me, I find it disconcerting, and can't concentrate on what you are saying."

She was terrifically offended, and stomped off home. I went indoors and called my sponsor. After much discussion, I decided I'd been as polite as humanly possible, it was reasonable for me to ask her to stop invading my personal space, and let it go. I didn't feel close enough to her, to be willing to reveal my history of childhood abuse, and its effect upon my need for a larger-than-usual personal space. I also felt it was irrelevent, because she violated the "normal" distances.
The next time I ran into her, she pointedly stood a good ten feet back from me while we talked. I choose not to comment upon this, and over time, as her offense faded, she seemed to reach a place of acceptance, and even began to make the odd joke about personal space, to which I would warmly respond.

At a recent meeting, I had an interesting experience. A newcomer pulled up a chair to sit beside me, and try as I might, I couldn't bear the proximity. I had to casually move my chair back a bit, to get some "breathing room." He promptly moved his chair closer to mine. I moved again, and again he moved closer. I moved a third time, and this time, he stayed put. Driving home, I was trying to figure out if I'd have been that uncomfortable if he'd been female, and I decided I most likely would have.

I've learned in Al-Anon, that I'm entitled to my need for a bit more room. This need is well-documented in the literature and studies on child abuse. It's a fact of my life, and I accept it, in the same way I accept that I'm most likely going to go to my grave with an exaggerated startle response - leaping into the air and screaming when someone startles me. (My husband has learned to start talking long before he reaches me, in an effort to avoid this - when he forgets, I jump and scream, and if he's preoccupied, my doing so will make him jump and exclaim - and then we have a giggling fit together.)

I didn't cause it, I can't control it, and I can't cure it, so what's my choice, then?

Acceptance. It doesn't have the power to bother me it once did, because in working the Steps, I've achieved forgiveness of the mistakes of the past. It is what it is, and that's okay.

I know that I'm most likely never going to be completely comfortable with people who invade my personal space, whether by standing too close to me, or by wanting more than I can give on an emotional level. If I want to be comfortable, it's up to me to see to my comfort. If that means taking the chance of a minor confrontation, well, How Important Is It? When someone I don't know well hugs me for too long a time, or too tightly, I can find ways to avoid having to be hugged, say something, or let it go.  I dealt with my childhood by isolating and pushing people away - for some, clinging and demanding is how they functioned. Neither way is healthy, neither way is "right" or "wrong."
I work to be accepting of them, myself, and life.

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Pleasure of Laughter.

Last night we went to a show by Derek Edwards  - he was hysterical. I laughed so hard my face and stomach hurt by the time the show was over, and we giggled all the way home in the car. I'm still remembering bits today, and laughing. Derek writes "observational humour" -  the funny side of everyday life.

I like to laugh, and I like to make other people laugh. It can be hard for fellow Al-Anon members to imagine the person I describe myself to be before the wonders of 12-Step changed me: furious, resentful, sullen. I can have a hard time remembering that I was that person, but when I do look back, I am swept with a gratitude so powerful it brings a lump to my throat, and the sting of tears to my eyes.

I am who I am today, able to enjoy life, and spread joy in life, only because of this program of recovery and growth. I was fortunate to be sufficiently desperate when I came into Al-Anon, to be willing to work the Steps. I didn't always like it, and I was easily offended, stubborn, and a prickly sort of person, but some desire for change kept me plodding forward, towards a goal I didn't fully understand, but knew I wanted.

Most of us have had the rather strange experience as newcomers, of sitting in meetings, hearing the entire group erupt in laughter over a member's description of happenings in their life, and we've wondered, "What's funny about that?"

We begin to see the humour, when we are able to detach a bit from our own feelings. When I take myself too seriously, I'm less able to learn from my mistakes, because I'm too embarassed by them.

From the ODAT, page 164:

"I'll cultivate a knack for recognising and enjoying humorous moments."

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Controlling - Or Not.

"Go to meetings, and work the Steps." A friend recounted a conversation in which he was offering variations on that sentence repeatedly, and not being heard. He asked what should he do then? I replied, "Stop issuing directives."

I was thinking about that this morning, and as always seems to be the way, found that very topic being addressed in a blog post by Syd today. (For newcomers: seems like whatever is on your mind as a matter of some urgency, or whatever you've been thinking about a lot that week, will be the topic of a meeting you attend, or a daily reading - it happens often enough to feel eerie at first, but then you will get used to it, laugh, and realise you can feel your Higher Power working in this synchronicity.)

When we know what to do, and choose not to do it, that is our business. It's not up to anyone else to show us the error of our ways, or us to them. When we detach in love, we can feel for the struggle, and not get caught up in trying to fix.

When I detach, I can keep respect for the person, even when I'm impatient with the behavior.  It's not my job to tell anyone how to run their life, and when I get too involved, and begin to feel annoyed because this person isn't taking the advice I'm offering, I am no longer offering "experience strength and hope," I am interfering.

I've learned to step far enough back to be out of the maelstrom, while being close enough to be a comfort, merely for my willingness to give some of my time, to sit with someone while they fight their own fight. I know there is no perfect sentence to enlighten, so I don't worry about saying the right thing. I pray to be a conduit for their Higher Power to use to get across whatever message is required, and I let the rest go.

If I feel impatience rising in my chest, I stop to consider if perhaps what's happening is that I've had enough for now, and I need to get off the phone, or make my exit. I used to think that I had to sit with someone for as long as they wanted me to, until I heard a long-time member say that she gave what she could, and then she explained that her tank was empty, and she needed to go fill up now, and did they have their phone list handy?

I cringed - that sounded so cold and hard. But I've learned that this will be transmitted either in words, or non-verbally, this message of having had "enough for now" and that I'm being more loving to acknowledge and state the fact. We all know how that feels, and can relate.

For me, direct is best. I give what I can, and then I say that I need to go now, and they can call me again soon, if they like. It's not up to me to "save" anyone, and I couldn't if I tried. I don't know the best choice for them, I can't say what they need,
all I have to offer is a little of my time, and the wisdom of this wonderful program.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

"Can You Do Me A Favour?"

I received a phone call from someone who was calling to ask a favour for a third person.

The caller is a person of whom I'm fond, so I refused as gently as possible, and then asked: "How did you get roped into doing this?"

She sighed what sounded to me like a sigh of enormous relief, and replied, "Oh, I'm so glad you're direct; I feel so awkward doing this!  I'm not quite sure how I was talked into it, to be honest. I think they figured I might be able to persuade you to do what they could not."

We talked a bit about how not being able to say no to "Can you do me a favour?" has gotten us into sticky and uncomfortable situations over the years. I described one of my own memorable struggles along these same lines, and we laughed together. We then agreed that when she returned from her trip out of town, she'd call me, and we'd go out for coffee together.

I am so grateful to Al-Anon, because it has taught me how to have empathy and compassion for others. Before program, that phone call would have had a negative impact upon our friendship; I'd have judged her harshly for making it.

With what I've learned in 12-Step, I could detach from the behavior, the phone call, and continue to enjoy the person. I can accept that we all make these kinds of errors in judgement, and most of the time, there's nothing behind it but our own inability to stand our ground in the face of pressure and pleas. I can let go of thinking that I know how she (or the person she was calling for) "should" behave, and instead, reach out for what we have in common - our shared humanity, and our daily journey in the world around us. I can make an effort to take any and all chances I'm offered, to spread laughter and joy.

When I was new to Al-Anon, a sentiment like the one contained in my last sentence would have had me rolling my eyes and snorting contempt. I didn't believe that was possible, so I saw any mention of it as pretentious, cloying nonsense.

Nowadays, I believe whole-heartedly in the power of love, and I enjoy being this person; it's much more fun.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Growing At My Own Pace.

There have been times in my recovery when I've been wide open to change and growth - excited as I began to understand what might be possible for me. I have felt empowered, delighted with life, and bursting with joy and serenity.

There have also been those periods in which I have felt stalled, or as though I'm moving so slowly, that the electricity might as well be turned off at the mains. I've become caught up in trying to find some way to gauge my progress. If I watched the horizon, I couldn't tell, staring at my feet didn't help, so I'd fix a sort of halfway-to-noplace stare on something beside me, and spend ages trying to decide if I was moving past it, or if that was just an optical illusion caused by lengthening shadows.

I've been growing at my own pace.

That infitesimal rate of change, might be a result of my needing to stay where I'm safe for just a little while longer, while something is worked out in the part of myself not accessible to my conscious mind.

More often, I was trying to find some way to dodge Step 3:
"Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him."

I've felt frustration which maddened me, but been so mired in self-will, and that single-minded, mulish determination to have my own way, that I have been willing to stay miserable for a little bit longer, in the vain hope that in this instance, I can force my will and my solutions. I want things to be a certain way, so I'm going to make that happen. The trouble with that, being: self-will is a drunk driver, unable to steer smoothly through the chaos of the street, to a safe arrival in the home driveway. Self-will smashes blindly into someone else's life, creating pain and damage, and blunders on, unaware. Self-will says, "I want this; you will give it to me."

Right. That's likely.

In all of my efforts to get my way with any alcoholic, I have failed spectacularly. I have so many examples of when it didn't work, it boggles the mind that I could have carried on in the belief that I could satisfy my own will, if I simply exerted greater effort in that direction. I listened to an AA speaker  last night, and he said that the definition of insanity is not "doing the same thing expecting a different result," it's doing the same thing, knowing exactly what will happen, and doing it anyway.

I pray for the wisdom to accept, and the willingness to turn over my life and my will to the God of my understanding.