Every so often I receive emails from people who have struggled to cope with their own alcoholism or that of their loved ones. They tell me how they’ve found great support and consolation in the writings of ancient Stoic philosophers, such as The Meditations of Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius. The ones who have experience of the Twelve Step Program know that The Serenity Prayer, made famous by Alcoholics Anonymous, neatly encapsulates one of the most characteristic doctrines of Stoic philosophy.
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.
The Stoic philosopher Epictetus taught his students the same thing:
What, then, is to be done? To make the best of what is in our power, and take the rest as it naturally happens. — Discourses, 1.1
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