Addictive disease, be it cocaine, heroin, alcohol, gambling, or other addiction, has a powerful grip on those suffering from it. Therefore, recovery from addiction must harness powerful measures to combat the power of addiction. Recovery tools can be lifesaving measures for recovering individuals. The Serenity Prayer is one such powerful recovery tool:
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can, and
The wisdom to know the difference.
In my view, the Serenity Prayer, properly interpreted and used, can not only be a tool for addiction recovery but also a tool for ongoing mental health. Here is the way I interpret the Serenity Prayer and try to use it on a daily basis:
Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, OTHER PEOPLE AND MANY EVENTS IN MY LIFE,
Grant me the courage to change the things I can, ME AND HOW I REACT TO PEOPLE AND EVENTS IN MY LIFE,
and the wisdom to know the difference.
A recovering individual will face frustration and ultimately relapse by focusing on changing other people and many events in life and should focus on what he/she can change, namely, how he/she reacts to people and life. We always have the ability to address our own thinking (cognitions) and emotional and behavioral reactions to people and events. The folks in Al-Anon have a short phrase that encapsulates some of this: mind your own business. The wisdom comes from daily attempts, with success and failure, to apply the Serenity Prayer tool, from doing so without use of alcohol or other drugs, and from seeking the strength from God, or other source of spiritual strength, to persevere in the task.
As always, comments are invited. Jan Edward Williams, www.alcoholdrugsos.com, 07/27/2015.