The Things I Cannot Change

“Acceptance,” he said “seems like a great topic for today.” Insert the inner eye rolling and deep annoyed sighing from your’s truly. My response is primarily due to the fact the every freaking meeting I go to lately someone wants to talk about acceptance. I’m not sure why. I mean I couldn’t accept life so I drank to make it more acceptable. Moving on! And yet everybody has a list of things they have trouble accepting and they of course want to share about them. In short, I’m having a hard time accepting acceptance.


Listen, I can accept a lot of things. I can accept that I’m an alcoholic and addict in recovery. I can accept that I won’t ever be a 6’2 olive-skinned matinée idol. I can accept a political system that I don’t agree with. I can accept that I am HIV+. I can (begrudgingly) accept that I am 40-years-old. I can accept that everything that’s happened up to this point has had a purpose and has played a part in shaping my life today. But other people? Well that’s when my ninja-like acceptance powers falter. In the serenity prayer, we pray for to accept the things we cannot change. Most of the time, I take the ‘things’ in question to mean the assholes who won’t do exactly what I want them to. They’d be so much happier if they just lived their lives in like I think they should. People,right ahead of volcanic rocks and our collective obsession with redneck reality television shows, are certainly things I cannot change. I was told not long ago that Sagittarius is the most controlling sign on the planet and considered to be bossy and unreasonable in the worse case scenarios. I wish I could say “That’s a boldface lie!” but judging by myself and my crazy controlling ass, its pretty much true.  From the way you mash potatoes to the people you date, I can almost guarantee that you are doing it all wrong and that I have a better way. Obviously this is not a pretty quality in a person so naturally this topic of acceptance keeps surfacing for a reason.

Accepting and loving people for who they are instead of beating the crap out of them for who they can never be is the real secret ninja power here. Being married helps me get better at it though. Working as a playwright in a world where dialogue gets tossed out, scenes get rewritten and actors vanish also helps me improve my acceptance skills. Editors who cut my best jokes, a cat who pukes on my steps, buses that show up late and even meetings where they talk about topics I’m sick of, are all great opportunities to practice this acceptance stuff. I find accepting the things and people and vomiting cats I cannot change gets easier when I love and accept myself too. When I stop and feel grateful for the life I have all the other stuff that isn’t going my way doesn’t seem like that big of a deal. But seriously.  Can we talk about something else for a change?

9 thoughts on “The Things I Cannot Change

  1. Yes! The fine line between being loving and controlling is probably six-lane highway wide. Being helpful is my ‘code’ for being controlling. Great timing Sean!

  2. Acceptance is the key to all my problems. So the Big Book says. If you break up acceptance into 24 hour pieces, knowing you only have today, usually makes things more bearable. We are powerless over people, places and things. As soon as you accept that phrase, you only have YOU left. I can’t change people, I can only change myself. the longer you are sober, the better view or perspective you will have on others. Repetition is the key to success. Sometimes we need to hear things more than once, from a myriad of folks before we internalize it for ourselves. Be gentle with yourself. It is progress rather than perfection my friend. One day at a time. Don’t over complicate things by engaging your brain when it isn’t necessary. Don’t drink, go to meetings, and say your prayers, It will all come out in the wash.


  3. I hate the word “Acceptance”, especially the way it is used in the serenity prayer. It should read “Accept that there’s nothing I can do to change some things”. But you are right in that how you feel and treat yourself goes a long way in how you deal with the crap in the world. The greatest power in the world is the power to walk away from some complete asshole with everyone knowing they never got under your skin.

    • Exactly Marc. It’s in those situations I can tell despite moments of craziness, I have changed and my operating system is a lot more functional than it was five batshit years ago.

    • LOL! I’m sure much like being married to a director. Admittedly, it is nice to have someone to keep me in check, even if I don’t appreciate it at the time. ❤ you and can't wait to get your book! xo- s.

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