Understanding Simple English Is a Willingness Problem

For being a recovering English major, I am embarrassed by how poorly I have understood simple sentences in my native tongue. Comprehension increased when my willingness to learn expanded.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change . . .

When I first heard this prayer in Al-Anon, I thought there wasn’t much I couldn’t change, really.

I would learn all this neat stuff from Al-Anon, and then I’d be able to make the family member I love stop drinking, right their sinking boat.  Then we could all live happily ever after – just like the closing credits in the Disney cartoon features I loved.

Cue Mighty Mouse – “Here I Come to Save the DAY!”

Blustering bravado on the outside, I had no words to describe the emotional engine   that propelled me: FEAR. (Failure, Expectations, Anger, Resentments) F.E.A.R., not faith, was my energy source, and to this day, when I get lazy about prayer and meditation, I am plugged into a unwise and dangerous power source.

Willfulness comes in many disguises, huh?

Mercifully, God put talented translators in my life who helped me parse such simple phrases in the Serenity Prayer and get a life!

Patiently – and purposely they have shown, and I became willing to learn, that what I can change is what’s on my side of the street. It’s my house that needs renovation; it’s my yard that needs tending! And it’s my trash that needs to go, so I can grow up!

In the beginning of AA,

“a number of eminent psychologists and doctors made an exhaustive study of a good-sized group of so called problem drinkers. . . . [t]hey came up with the conclusion . . . that many alcoholics under investigation were still childish, sensitive, and grandiose . . .” (The 12 & 12, pp. 122-123)

Yikes! I resembled that remark!

And so did my lack of comprehension that many of my “. . . adult dreams were truly childish.” And as to my grandiose behavior, well, it was nothing “ . . . but a high and legitimate ambition to win the battle of life.”

So, I fought many battles with the alcoholic in my life, and with alcohol, before understanding that being granted serenity, courage, and wisdom meant asking God for it, for it.

Thanks for reading – How about you, dear reader? How is your command of simple English?


Love in Christ,

Sober and Grateful

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Understanding Simple English Is a Willingness Problem

One thought on “Understanding Simple English Is a Willingness Problem

  • February 12, 2016 at 4:27 pm

    The prayers, slogans and literature didn’t start making sense to me until I got totally honest with myself. I started in Al-anon but it wasn’t until my sponsor suggested that I go to an open AA meeting that the light bulb turned on in my head. To thine own self be true! Yay! I’m a double winner and thanks to God’s grace I haven’t had a drink since April 16, 2013. I guess it boils down to honesty and the willingness to learn a new way of life.

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