I have often felt when enunciating the Serenity Prayer that this second part of the prayer represents a perfect shift from the first line pertaining to serenity itself and acceptance of those things we cannot change. In two quick and simple phrases we have a true Yin Yang relationship formed between an inactive or passive state of acceptance and now, an active state of doing and the courage to change those things in life that are decidedly possible.
So, what direction do we embark upon at this decisive juncture in our life? Let's begin with this - if we are still drinking and using there is no way we are going to acquire any 'real' serenity in discovering those things in our life that we cannot change. Free or cogent decisions cannot be made. At most, we may have stumbled upon a very treacherous course of imbibing in a chemical or alcohol mix that allows us to feel temporarily calm or surreptitiously peaceful. But, please understand that this induced state of consciousness is never to be compared to true serenity. And, not to mention the aftermath, which will contain so much detrimental payback that we will continue to erode our true self, remaining entrapped by our addiction.
Secondly, the courage to change those things in one's life that are capable of being changed, will simply never arise from within. When we are addicted to a substance like alcohol, well, it goes without saying, and I know no one can dispute this fact -- courage is simply not present in our life. I mean really, how could it be? If alcoholism and drug addiction destroys the humanity within us, reduces us to a slave to our obsession, turns us into virtually an alien life form, well it clearly follows that courage will not be found anywhere within us.
Courage first begins when a person stops in their tracks and decides that it is time to change their life and learn to live again free of the abusive relationship we have formed with drugs and/or alcohol. And, I wish to emphasize this word abusive - because, our addiction is utterly abusive to us and to those around us. But, the moment we begin to turn away from our substance of choice and take those first steps on a pathway of recovery, a dim light appears on our inner horizon. That light is truly a saving light that contains a softly uttered comment to ourselves - be free, live free, let life in. Each moment that we choose to move one step at a time closer to that light takes courage. I have been astounded by the courage I have witnessed in those people who have decided to embark on the recovery path even when so much appears to have been lost and ruined in someone's life.
I not only applaud a person for taking those first steps into the light of recovery but I also wish to hug that person with my heartfelt words. And, as the adage says, as we make each step towards God or the light, there will be support given immediately back to you. And, with each consecutive stride we demonstrate courage and develop that courage. Courage is not the absence of fear but the conquest of it and fear can only be eliminated from a person's life with the continued practice of courage, one step and one day at a time.
And, it goes without saying that it also takes courage to have faith and hope that your life will become better, that the troubles that surround you now are surmountable and that the relationship with your true inner self can be repaired. Love yourself enough at these early stages of recovery so that you can heal the wounds that addiction has caused. And, please do not dismiss this word 'love' from your inner thoughts, let it come into you and spread its wings throughout your journey into recovery. Learn again or perhaps for the first time in your life what real love means - what it means to offer warmth and tenderness to yourself.
Life was meant to have love present and we cannot truly love anything on this earth until we find the meaning of love within ourselves and for ourselves. Our creation into existence is a gift not a punishment. Please do not let the ignorance that surrounds addiction and alcoholism to cloud our awareness to what life can be. Do not accept what may appear as a love-less, life-less world around you. Many people in this world with no substance abuse or alcoholism to speak of, can be just as prone to lacking love and empathy within. And, please, do not allow outward appearances to deceive you either. Love gives life and is a force truly beyond hate or evil. And, there is much love and empathy in this world today. Please, cease trying to fill the void within with an abusive substance. Cease punishing yourself and learn, through the practice of courage in recovery, to find the love we need to live freely and grow freely and once again begin to be the body, mind and soul that is our real human self. Discover true courage as you begin your steps in recovery. Find the serenity and courage within you and breath life into your being.