Serenity prayer

A is for Acceptance

Acceptance is a difficult concept to deal with, even if we’re not talking about alcoholism. None of us wants to be unacceptable, or excluded from a group, whether we’re small children, adolescents, or older adults. The synonyms for acceptance are many, among them approval and recognition.

I know a young woman who is gay. She has found a woman she loves, is very happy, and engaged to be married. Most people she knows are very happy for her happiness, but not all are as accepting. Some are even judgmental, saying she and her partner would always be welcome in their home, but they would never attend her wedding. This makes no sense to me, and seems more than a little hypocritical. If you accept the fact that someone is gay, you recognize it, you approve of the lifestyle she/he has chosen.

With my sister, it’s different, but somewhat the same. She’s been sober for a while now, and attended several family gatherings as a sober alcoholic. I don’t drink often, mostly at major holidays, like Thanksgiving and Christmas. In fact, my mom laughs at me, because I will see a drink recipe shown on The Chew or something, get all excited about it, buy all the ingredients, bring them home, and then the liquor sits in our cupboards, because I’ve immediately lost interest. :P)

Back to my sister. I never used to drink around her. I thought it was a sign of solidarity if I joined her in not drinking. Recently, I’ve realized it was actually codependency, and I was not allowing her a sense of self-esteem, and achievement all her own. She’s very capable, and strong in her own right. But I’m sure she feels that exclusion, that non-acceptance among non-alcoholics, even though she’s accepted by her recovering alcoholic friends. I still laugh when I remember going with her to an open talk AA meeting at Sacred Heart in downtown Detroit. I was so nervous I wouldn’t even smoke, even though I badly wanted a cigarette. One of her friends finally leaned over to me and said, “So, do you have any vices?”

“And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation — some fact of my life — unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment.” (Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 417)

God Comes First In The Serenity Prayer

“Every now and again take a good look at something not made with hands—a mountain, a star, the turn of a stream. There will come to you wisdom and patience and solace and, above all, the assurance that you are not alone in the world.” –Sidney Lovett

When I pray the serenity prayer, I place a special emphasis on the first word, “God.” Now, don’t stop reading at this point. See, what I love about the Al-Anon program and the CoDA (Codependency Anonymous) program is they allow for each to come the “God of his own understanding.”

I had a relationship with God before I ever started the program, but I soon realized it didn’t work for me. I grew up with an abusive, alcoholic father, so my very first concept of God was as a tyrant who sat up in heaven keeping score and who did not like me very much. It was exacerbated by my Catholic faith (I’m not saying Catholicism is a bad thing necessarily; it just did a weird number on me in many ways).

To keep this from being a long, drawn-out story, let me just say that it wasn’t until I came to Al-Anon that I realized I needed to rethink my concept of God. Yes, He’s sovereign, and all-knowing and all that is still true. But He’s personal, and I can speak with Him just as easily as I speak to my best friend, my ubersponsor. He wants to know the things that are important to me, the things that worry me, the things I feel bad about, and so forth.

But for me God is the most important part of the serenity prayer. Sometimes I forget that, and today I wanted to remind myself. Because . . . I’m so thankful I don’t have to do this alone.

I hope you are having a great Sunday! Peace out.

Wisdom -Where Does It Come From?

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That’s part of the inside of my car. The back seat is still pristine. My point is, I think a lot of times we get wiser from making mistakes.

Progress not perfection. I’ll clean it today.

Peace out.

Serenity

The original serenity prayer is stated as follows: “God, give us the grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things which should be changed, and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.” This serenity prayer was written by Reinhold Niebuhr.

Over time, Alcoholics Anonymous adopted the prayer as part of the Twelve Step program. The prayer was modified and is said as: “God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, courage to change the things we can, and wisdom to know the difference.” While the serenity prayer’s origin may be sketchy, the prayer has been used extensively in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) since 1942.

One of AA”s founders, Bill W., says the prayer was introduced to the program by Jack, an AA member in New York. According to “A.A. Comes of Age,” Bill W. writes how Jack found the prayer in A New York Tribune obituary. Soon after, the prayer was printed on small cards and carried everywhere by AA members.

The rest is history: the serenity prayer is known worldwide as a prayer of strength and hope for AA and Al-Anon, and other myriad Twelve step members. I know it has helped me many a time, to the point where I’m praying it without even being aware of it at first.

Peace out.

P is for Prayer

Prayer is important to me, but I don’t do it as much as I should. I pray for people who need prayer, and I pray prayers of thanksgiving when prayers are answered, but I don’t just meditate on God’s goodness, or spend time with Him. That’s uncomfortable for me. It’s something I need to work on.

The two most crucial “formal” prayers for me, are the Serenity prayer and the Our Father. Yesterday I mentioned the importance of the Serenity prayer in my life, and how often I pray it. I use it for simple things, like trying to accept the fact that my Kindle hangs up when I underlines something and doesn’t go back to the page directly, so I have to wait until it “unfreezes” and goes on to the next page.

There I sit, with my Kindle, praying that first line, and it all starts with God. God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change… because I know I can’t change Amazon’s Kindle. It’s the second Kindle I’ve owned, the first being the one I sent back because of the same problem. So I know it’s something I have to just accept. But I pray for serenity, because it’s not an easy thing.

I use it with more difficult things, as I try to accept that the alcoholic in my life might have brain damage as she recovers from this last bout of drinking. She’s going to be 63 years old, has been drinking more on than off, since the age of 16, and life is catching up. Her body is tired. I pray, on my knees, sometimes just the first three words. Because this is harder. God, grant me. 

Courage to change the things I can. I have come to understand that I have a sugar addiction, so I have started attending Overeaters Anonymous, trying to get a handle on that. Well, it’s a very recent understanding, mind you, so I have only attended one meeting. Sugar is in almost everything we eat, and it will be really tough, but it’s doable. Stevia is natural and a good substitute. It also doesn’t trigger a sugar binge; at least that’s what I’ve read and heard. Giving up my Peace Tea (Imported Ceylon flavor) is going to be most difficult, as it has (count ’em) 12 GRAMS of sugar per serving and 3 servings per 1 can. I drink about 3 cans a day. Yep, that’s a lot of sugar, and that’s only from tea. *shaking my head* God grant me courage…

Wisdom, I’ve heard tell from around the tables, comes at the expense of falling flat on your face and learning otherwise. LOL Yes, wisdom comes from making mistakes. That’s how we learn the difference between knowing the things we have to accept and the things we can change. It’s experience, an old teacher. 😉 Yes, I’ve had some wisdom. And I’m sure I’ll get more along the way.

Peace out.

 

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