We know so well this word serenity as it is in one of the most poignant sayings we come across in many recovery groups.  When I left the hospital three years ago while in early recovery, and entered into an Intensive Outpatient program my wife gave me a chain with a real dog-tag that had belonged to a soldier, inscribed on it was the wonderful Serenity Prayer. I wear this every day and I have said this prayer and concentrated on its wisdom hundreds of times since.

"God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change." One of the key words that strikes me inwardly every time I say, hear or read this line is the word serenity.  I have chosen a photograph of a beautiful white swan and that name 'swan' actually feels to me like a very close cousin of the word 'serenity.' A swan is so beautiful to watch as it floats gently across the water with such effortless peace and tranquility.

The word serenity in dictionaries is described with such synonyms as composure, calmness, peace, stillness, tranquility, quietness, patience. Wow.  Just think of this prayer's beginning. God, grant me the serenity.......  The prayer does not start off and say for instance, "God, grant me the ability, or grant me the means, or grant me a way to somehow accept those things in life I cannot change.  No, is says God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.  There is such a peacefulness and caring in the use of this word.  To me it describes perfectly what is meant by the word surrender.  Surrender in recovery is the opposite of giving up, it really means to stop fighting, stop struggling with aspects in life we cannot change.

Serenity, calmness, tranquility, swan, surrender - these are powerful words to utter inwardly to oneself - they are healing words, words of true comfort and so nourishing to the soul.  I wish that many people who do not suffer with any addiction issues would also practice saying the incredible Serenity Prayer.  The wisdom of the ancients would certainly embrace the meaning of this powerful invocation.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.  Or, as I have meditated upon quite often,  God, grant me the serenity to accept that I am an alcoholic. Or, God, give me peace to accept that I did not need alcohol or any substance to live life freely and happily.  Grant me the tranquility to accept that I cannot change the truth that I am such a better and healthier human being living sober.  

God, please grant me the serenity to accept that I cannot alter the fact that I am free as long as I never use or drink again. Grant me the realization, the serenity to accept that I certainly cannot change the fact that I am a human being.  And, being human I cannot change that I have flaws and weaknesses and lessons to learn. God, grant me the serenity to accept one of the most important things I cannot change and that is living sober and clean is infinitely better than what my life was before.  God, please bestow upon me the serenity to accept that life committed to unconditional recovery is the true and honest pathway to live.  

Next time, I will explore the next passage to this prayer, "Courage to change the things I can."  



Louis Thomas
01/14/2016 10:42am

There are so many addictions in life. This page will bring healing to anyone who reads it. Paul you are an inspiration to many.


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