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I have this friend who quit her job a little over a year ago now, I guess. Maybe 2 years actually. It may have been longer. She worked in corporate America, traveled a lot, put in a ton of hours, has two small kids and burned out. She didn’t want to do it anymore. She is fortunate to have a husband who can support the whole family and she resigned.

Since then she’s tried her hand at a few different things, taken a long vacation, and gotten to know herself and her family a little bit better. She’s mentored business women, helped women deliver babies, has become a political activist, went back to work part time for a short time and secretly blogs. She’s gotten reacquainted with her husband, and has spent many long, tiring, frustrating and rewarding days with her kids. She’s also getting to know herself. (I know she sounds an awful lot like me, but I assure you; I do not have a husband and have never delivered a baby.) She’s amazing. Like super mom/woman.

She’s now in the process of trying to figure out what’s next. What does she do? What does she want life to look like? How do all these things she CAN do fit together into something she WANTS to do? How can she help the most people?

Table that.

When I was reallllllllly early in sobriety I heard a guy say “I can’t think my way into serenity. I have to pray and ask for it to be delivered to me every day.” Obviously that statement that he probably doesn’t even remember stating has stayed with me. I spent 33 years trying to think my way into serenity. 33 years. Well, maybe 26. I guess up until age 6 or 7 all you “stress” about is whether you can get gum in the check-out line at the grocery store and whether or not your mom put the wrong cheese on your sandwich for lunch. Munster cheese on a pre-schooler’s sandwich can ruin a day.

For years I saw therapists, read self-help books, and practiced yoga. None of that brought me the peace I was looking for (spoiler alert: I had no idea what I was looking for), so I did a yoga teacher training and learned TONS about myself. I started teaching, even opened my own yoga studio, and you know what? I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t bring myself the peace and serenity I so longed for. I could talk the talk and teach people everything I knew so they could find peace, but I couldn’t make it happen for myself. Self-knowledge was not enough. But what was?

Eventually, after enough of that torture and some major bumps in the road that maybe I’ll write on paper (screen?) someday, I gave up drinking. People told me I needed to start praying, and I was like, “ummmmm…that doesn’t work. It works when my mom prays for me, but when I pray, nothing happens, so….” I had lost all faith in the fact that there is something out there bigger than me. My belief now is that it doesn’t matter what “it” is. I can talk to it. If people talk to their dead relatives and pets, I can talk to this power greater than me, right?

Here’s what I’ve learned. I can’t force my way into the right decisions, circumstances or outcomes. I think I can sometimes. It usually ends up with me being really frustrated and not getting what I want or thought I wanted, or with someone being pissed off at me, or with me being disappointed that my expectations that I didn’t even know I had weren’t met. Ew. I can’t think my way into serenity. I have to pray and ask for it to be delivered to me every day.

I’ve started (recently) saying this to ‘something bigger than me’. “Help me. And please help me to help someone today.” I say other stuff too depending on the day.

I’m in a situation right now that I have been full of fear about. I’ve been carrying resentments, self-pity and fear around like a rock on my back. A couple of days ago I asked something bigger to take it. Whether or not it’s the placebo effect, I feel better today. I tried to force outcomes regarding this situation for months to no avail. I can continue to do that and war with myself, that bigger thing, and other people; or I can not. I choose to not. I choose to say “Help. I know you’ve got this figured out. Help me not be an asshole about it. Help me to take the right steps.”

My friend and I have very different circumstances but we are the same. We want what we want when we want it, except we don’t know what we want or how to get it. I don’t know if she prays, but I hope she does. <3