Thursday, 1 September 2011

A bit of algebra

Do you remember algebra from school? I was ok at the early stages ( x +2 = 5) but when it got to double brackets that you tackle as a smiley face.....well, I’m just glad I only needed to remember that for exams!
Anyway, I was at an Al-Anon support meeting tonight and the speaker told us of something she’d read that had helped her, and it began with a simple bit of algebra:
a + b = c
In this equation a is yourself, b is someone or something that is immovable, and c is the end result, the situation you’re unhappy about. Now you want to change c, since you’re unhappy about it but, try as you might, you can’t change b. So what can you do? Change a of course! Change yourself! Change your attitude to b!
In the context of Al-Anon, b is the alcoholic friend or relative and c is the unhappy family life or friendship that results. You cannot change b, only b can do that, but you can change a (yourself), and this will ultimately change c.  For example, if someone keeps trying to provoke an argument you can choose to do something about it: refuse to rise to the bait, keep calm, walk out of the room, go for a walk etc. By doing this you have changed the end result!

It reminds me of two well known prayers:
Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can, 
and wisdom to know the difference.


  1. How very,very true.Wise words indeed xxx

  2. I never liked doing those algebraic equations with all those funny brackets. I made many errors with those things! :)

    At any rate, good food for thought on the A+B=C equation. It's something that I'm going to have to keep in mind for the future.

  3. I've never been to any AA meetings but every snippet that has come my way from that source has been helpful for life generally and very good sense. Really interesting blog post - thanks, friend!