I ran across this statement today. It struck me because I have come to understand that doing even just one thing differently is what led to another change and another change...in me. For years and years, I thought. And felt. And then acted. I thought I could think my way into a solution for my marriage of 29 years to my husband, who was an alcoholic. Thinking always did it for me before...when I ran across a problem, I would research the possible solutions, choose one, and act. Most of the time it worked. Not this time. I kept on and on doing what had always worked for me before...and failing. The more I failed, the more frustrated and upset and exhausted and scared I became. Was I always going to live this way? I tried to, but I was desperately unhappy in the marriage. We had three in our marriage: me, him and alcohol. The day I nearly literally crawled into Al-Anon was a very good day because I was at a rock bottom. I say "a rock bottom" because it turned out not to be "the rock bottom" for me. You see, I am a very slow learner when it comes to letting go of something. I first had to let go of the idea that I could do something about this situation---and that was some tough letting go to do. Then I had to listen with an open mind. So I did...kind of. I took what I liked and I left the rest. I wasn't ready for the full measure of Al-Anon, but I kept going for the next 18 months until he and I divorced, a very acrimonious divorce. I was still trying to control things and I wanted him to hurt like I had been hurt. It was ugly and bitter and something I am not proud of, looking back today, of how I behaved. I have made amends for that. Then some time went by, and my precious youngest child was in the grip of drug addiction. I knew right where to go, and I went straight to Al-Anon. This time, I was ready. I was ready to admit that I am powerless and that my best ideas were a failure. My own thinking got me into the doors of Al-Anon, admitting powerlessness. Again, another very good day in the life of me. It didn't feel that way at the time, it felt awful, but looking back, I had just opened the door to a full, happy life...which was to come for me with a lot of hard work. The past five years have been the very worst and the very best. It's a paradox. It started with my "spiritual awakening", realizing I can't control things and I am powerless over people, places and things. This is a realization, and it is fundamental. It is also very painful and scary. It had always been this way, but I lived in an illusion that I was strong and powerful and could make just about anything happen. The next step was learning what this meant in my everyday life and in my relationships. I read so much...many books...to fill my mind with new thinking. I was ready and I eagerly soaked all of it up. As I changed my thinking...my body worked to catch up. I was exhausted. I grieved. I cried. I couldn't function well. I had to lie down every single day for a 2 hour nap. Then I would get up and try again. I was alone, divorced, needing to make a living (thank Goodness, or I would likely have never gotten out of bed), and trying to figure out this new way of living. My youngest son was homeless or in jail and addicted to drugs. He wouldn't stop and things just kept getting worse. As the transformation of me continued, he only got worse. I stumbled and I felt, and I got back up to keep on because i had already been convinced that my best ideas would not work with him. I knew that through my own experience. I don't think I would have believed it otherwise. I kept going to Al-Anon meetings. Sometimes I would go every single day. There was such power in the powerlessness. For the first time in my life, I started feeling good inside. The anxiety I used to feel about being right and not being enough and wondering if people liked me or not and needing to accomplish...it all started to fade. Not immediately disappear, but fade. And in its place was a new feeling of peace and contentment and certainty. But my son's life was still in the toilet. I was changing a lot, but his situation was still the same. I began to be able to separate myself more from him. I wasn't angry, and I still loved him desperately, as a mother loves her son. I prayed for him and I hoped for him and I worried for him. I so wanted him to change. But I started to realize that perhaps I was a deterrent to the change I so wanted for him. In fact, I started to believe that, in fact, I was the worst possible person "for him." And he was the worst possible person "for me." In terms of spending time together and me being the one who was going to lead him to a better life. My little precious boy, who loved his momma so much, and me him...we were too joined. We had to let each other go, to be the person we were meant to be. I kept working the Al-Anon program. I got a sponsor and I did what she told me to do. Even if I didn't understand it, I did it anyway. (Now I'm not much of a person who does something unless I want to do it...so this was new behavior for me...I was being obedient.). The point is this: we have to do something different. We can't keep on doing the same things and expecting a different result. We can't change them, but we can change us. And change in ourselves is a process. It's a journey, and it's not about flipping a switch and doing everything differently starting one particular day. We are messy, we human beings. We go back and forth. Our thinking...and then our behavior...have to get in sync. We can't expect our feelings to be where our thinking and our behavior are...and we have to learn to live with feelings that are very, very uncomfortable. For people like me, who have lived their whole entire life largely guided by feelings---this is a huge, tremendous task. I don't like feeling bad, and I still don't like feeling bad. My old M.O. was to DO SOMETHING to make the bad feelings go away. Today, I work hard to feel my feelings instead...and not act on them...to let them flow through me and sit with them and get to know them...and let time go by...and do nothing about them....until much later, if ever. That is what they mean in Al-Anon when they say: Feelings aren't facts. This was a whole new thought for me, and at first I dismissed it completely out of hand...immediately. I offer this story up to you as one example of a person who finally changed, and is still changing. I am now almost 60 years old, and for the past several years, I have been a much happier, more contented person, more mature person...than ever before in my whole life. This just happened to occur at the same time my own precious son was in the grip of the 40-foot-tall monster I call addiction. And I couldn't save him. I had to lose to win. I had to lose who I was to find out who I can be. Please know...I mess up a lot. I am far from "getting it all the time." I can go right back to my old behaviors. I make lots of mistakes with all of my relationships. But today, I can say this with certainty: I am on a path for a great way to live, for myself. No matter what any other person in my life does or does not do. I have a new level of acceptance and peace and forgiveness for myself and for other people. And I am so grateful for this, this awful/wonderful experience. In the end, I had to turn the bright light of change onto MYSELF. That is where the true answers were all the time.