I was emailing recently with a close friend who is also in the program and I mentioned the Serenity Prayer as a way to look at her dilemma (the serenity to accept what she can't change and the courage to change what she can). She wrote back that it's the wisdom to know the difference that is often her dilemma. But somehow that didn't ring true for me. She's a wise woman who most likely does know the difference.
So what is missing? It takes more than courage to change the things we can. It also takes willingness. Maybe courage implies willingness but maybe they are different. I think of courage as a big burst of something that allows us to do what we don't think we can. We find it in our hearts to shift something. But willingness is the long haul, the choosing over and over and over to be sober, to eat sanely, to not call the abusive lover anymore, to turn off the computer at 6 pm and stay off.
Don't get me wrong. I've no intention of rewriting the Serenity Prayer. It's a lovely and valuable part of the 12 step programs and other religious and spiritual philosophies. But I usually need more than courage to change the things I can. I need willingness too.