A Flat Tire

The Serenity Prayer and The Three Cs—I did not cause it, I cannot control it and I cannot cure it—are important parts of my recovery. When I first heard them at a meeting, I felt that a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders. The Three Cs reminded me that, when the alcoholics in my life told me that I was the cause of their drinking, I did not have to pick up the blame, clean up their mess or lie for them. This was my first introduction to the world of choices.

The second part of the Serenity Prayer—to “change the things I can”—however, reminds me that sometimes things happen that I didn’t cause, but I still need to deal with them. I recently had a flat tire. Luckily it went flat in my driveway, but I was still upset. I had not caused it, but it had to be fixed. The three Cs do not give me license to throw up my hands or ignore something when I must take some action. Along with the Serenity Prayer, I gain perspective on what is and what is not my responsibility.

By Elaine, Rhode Island

The Forum, March 2018


  1. Ella July 2018 at 12:33 pm

    My son is 31 years and my roommate. He has deep emotional problems since his father left when he was 5 years old. He never got over that. His brother abused him when he was a teen. I took him in 5 years ago and had no idea how deep he was already into alcohol…Now it is so bad that I spend weekends in my room isolating myself. I love him so much but I realize that I cannot help him unless he wants help. He is in deep denial and blames everyone. I am trying to move out soon…it breaks my heart…I need help because I cannot deal with it to see my son so so sick.

  2. Nicole July 2018 at 1:34 pm

    There is hope, my husband has been sober for 7 and a half years. I will tell you it wasn’t easy, even after he put the bottle down there were emotional struggles he had to work through. However now that my husband is doing well, it hit me like a ton of bricks in the heart when I come to realize that my son is an alcoholic and addict. Which means I must start this process again with him. I did it without Al-Anon the first time and I’ll do it with Al-Anon this time!

  3. Kimber W. July 2018 at 11:57 pm

    My son is 23, depressed and is an alcoholic. He says he is “self medicating”. He says he has had a rough life. He says we (his parents) had him, and owe him, above anything else. His life was not that hard at home. It wasn’t perfect, we weren’t rich, but he was not neglected. He has two older sisters (few years apart). They both tell me their childhood was fine. (I’ve apologized to both of them, because he says we ruined his life) They both say it’s him, not me.

    I had a hard life (trying to relate to him that sometimes life IS hard), I grew up with an alcoholic step-father that would physically and mentally abuse me. I ran away at 14. When I was 25, my 4 yr old son was murdered. I have chronic intractable migraines. I KNOW LIFE IS ROUGH.

    But especially after losing one son, I’m absolutely terrified of losing another. I’ve taken him to counseling, tried to get him in with psychiatrists, tried to talk him into rehab. He sometimes speaks of being suicidal.


    I’m going to start going to Al-Anon Monday praying for direction. I really, really need help in how to help him.I CAN’T HANDLE LOSING ANOTHER CHILD. LORD, I PRAY ALL-ANON CAN HELP ME!

  4. Terrie D. June 2018 at 3:16 pm

    I live in a small town and have been to one meeting. My daughter is a drug addict. Can I post here. For me the type of addiction does not have different consequences, that the pain I feel is the same, the frustration, the guilt, the depression and the anger.

  5. Gina June 2018 at 6:33 pm

    Praying for all of us to make the right decisions for our lives.

  6. Chris June 2018 at 10:58 pm

    I don’t know what to do I’m terrified.

  7. Candy W. May 2018 at 12:00 am

    My 26 year old daughter is an alcoholic. She has 3 beautiful little girls she puts at risk. I worry constantly for all of them. She has been in and out of the hospital many times over the past few years for pancreatitis and liver problems. She refuses to admit she has a problem. I don’t know where to turn.

  8. Cindy May 2018 at 9:29 pm

    My son is 23 and an alcoholic for 2 years. He has been in and out of several treatment programs and was in sober living for 100 days. We have spent thousands of dollars. He just relapsed. It is so hurtful. We did not think we would be spending our middle age still taking care of our children. Yes still trying to keep a career and take care of aging parents. I am so sad and disillusioned. We feel alone.

  9. Anna May 2018 at 2:18 pm

    I’m just learning and starting this journey on Al-Anon. I am so scared. It is painful to know that your child is an alcoholic and that she is blaming you for her illness. it is one of the most painful things i have had to face in my life.

  10. Suzanne May 2018 at 7:59 pm

    My son and husband are alcoholics. My son got his 2 drinking violation. I am upset, angry and feel betrayed.

  11. Rose H. May 2018 at 2:40 am

    My sister shared finally what she’s known about my 26 year old daughter for awhile now but was afraid to tell me, that she smokes pot every day in addition to the drinking which we already feared. I’m an adult child of an alcoholic and never thought I would find myself struggling with an alcoholic again let alone my daughter. I’m planning to attend my first Al-Anon meeting this week. I’m so sad right now.

  12. Judy May 2018 at 12:22 am

    I’m the mother of a 49 year old son who received his third DUI in February and his fourth DUI in April on Friday the thirteenth. I’m at a loss for how to make him realize how much he’s hurting himself. I don’t know what tough subjects I need to address with him and which ones to avoid.

  13. Laura Ann May 2018 at 11:58 am

    Just joined, my 28 year old son is an alcoholic. He had stopped drinking on his own but started again about a year ago. He needs money for a car, what do I do? He doesn’t live with me anymore as of a year ago.

  14. J April 2018 at 11:33 pm

    I am peering in from the other side. I love my family and I am shameful for the anguish i cause. Albeit i haven’t done anything bad but the disappointment is awful. I wish they would attend these meetings.

  15. Ann April 2018 at 9:24 am

    My extended family has a culture around drinking and it makes it hard to see when it has truly become a problem. I have felt guilty that my son – now in his mid-20s was exposed to this and would have seen drinking as OK. And I drink. So I can see the issues around the “causing.” And when he lost his job recently for events at least related to alcoholism, I wanted to jump right in. Hard not to want to control and cure. Thanks for the message. I don’t know that my son has gotten his wake up call but I have and appreciate this message.

  16. Giuliana April 2018 at 2:22 pm

    I am going to my first meeting today. I am scared.

  17. Trisha N. April 2018 at 10:12 pm

    I just read the 3 C’s. I need to remember this. My husband quit drinking on his own nearly 3 weeks ago. This may be harder to deal with than him drinking as he has no outlet at the moment. Lord give me patience and strength as he begins his outpatient treatment.

  18. Irma April 2018 at 10:14 pm

    My husband is a binge drinker. We have 2 kids and I’m afraid one of this days something bad is going to happen. I’m afraid for his health, for my daughters emotional health and my own. When he drinks I just hide and cry. I try to avoid him so we don’t have to argue in front of my kids. I want to leave him but I lost my job and can’t afford to leave.

  19. Heather P. April 2018 at 9:43 am

    My Brother got very sick when his was just 17 years old. It took them 4 years to diagnose Ulcerative Colitis and another 3 years of surgeries, constant visits to the doctor, experimenting with which drugs worked, didn’t, or worked and caused erratic and deadly side affects before they were able to get it into remission. That’s SEVEN YEARS of living in pain, fear, traumatic and emotionally damaging moments, one after another. SEVEN YEARS of people treating him differently. Treating him like his disease WAS HIM. He had friends leave, lovers leave, my mother handed him a silver spoon, my dad tried to toughen him up; all the while he was turning to alcohol. Alcoholism is killing my brother faster than Ulcerative Colitis ever would and there is nothing i can do FOR him except makes sure he knows i love him no matter what. It is a long a bumpy road but nothing could stop me from loving my brother. Always have and always will <3

  20. Marie April 2018 at 9:40 pm

    My 42-year-old son is an alcoholic. He has been in and out of rehab. He has lost his job, home, wife and kids.
    He has been living with us for the past year, but lately he drinking has increased. I’m scared and don’t want him on the streets. I need help….

  21. pam April 2018 at 10:04 am

    I’m just starting to really see things the way I didn’t really want to see them, now it’s time for me to learn my son is 40 and alcoholic.

  22. Geri R. April 2018 at 4:57 pm

    My son is 30 yrs. He’s had 3 public/disorderlies, has been hospitalized 3 times twice on a ventilator, and 1 DUI that i give thanks no one was hurt.
    My son gets enraged whenever the word alcoholism is mentioned. I don’t know what I can do for him at this point, but I love the 3 little words. It is like a sunny sky after a storm.

  23. Patricia March 2018 at 5:26 am

    Both my husband and 30+ son are alcoholics. My husband drinks beer every day and his health is at risk. My son is single and spends all his income on binge drinking. I’m tired of being blamed and I am an enabler.

  24. Barbara March 2018 at 4:33 pm

    We just found out that our 45 year old son is an alcoholic and prescription drug addict. I have so many emotions with two of them being disappointment and anger. I feel like someone died. Our world as we have known it is no longer. I’m angry he put his wife and child through bad times. I’m angry that he fooled all of us. I love him and want to help. I don’t know what to do. How do we all get through this?

  25. Suzannw March 2018 at 9:09 am

    I feel like I am the mistress in this relationship and the addition is the wife. Standing on the outside of a boxing ring watching my love my heart get beat up but still getting up for more…not getting through not able to walk away…frustrated at my inability to get though to him…crying at the thought of him dying.

  26. Lupe G. March 2018 at 6:20 pm

    Watching my husband kill himself. Doctors warned him they are concerned about him getting cirrhosis he’s already done damage to his pancreas and heart.

  27. Jori March 2018 at 8:14 pm

    Just starting. Scared as hell

  28. Victoria W. March 2018 at 11:58 pm

    I want to know how I can help my son realize that he needs to admit he is an alcoholic and get help ie enter a rehab program before it is too late. I fear for his health and his life.

  29. Talanda J. March 2018 at 8:39 pm

    Love this! Exactly what I need right now

  30. M March 2018 at 11:47 am

    The 3 C’s. I need to remember this daily. Thank you.

  31. Joseph S. March 2018 at 12:33 pm

    Love this. What a great analogy.

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