Alcoholics Anonymous members have made the Serenity prayer part of recovery.
It asserts five basic elements of the recovery program.
- A belief in something other than ego-self
- Serenity – one of the goals of recovery
- Acceptance of …, e.g., loss of control
- Courage to make changes
- Wisdom of recovery that is gained from other members, Spirituality, meditation and literature
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.
Whether we belong to this church or that, whether we are humanists, agnostics, or atheists, most of us have found these words a wonderful guide in getting sober, staying sober, and enjoying our sobriety. Whether we see the Serenity Prayer as an actual prayer or just as a fervent wish, it offers a simple prescription for a healthy emotional life.
We’ve put one thing right at the head of the list among the things we cannot change: our alcoholism. No matter what we do, we know that tomorrow we won’t suddenly be non-alcoholic any more than we’ll be ten years younger or six inches taller.
We couldn’t change our alcoholism. But we didn’t say meekly, All right, I’m an alcoholic. Guess I’ll just have to drink myself to death. There was something we could change. We didn’t have to be drunk alcoholics. We could become sober alcoholics. Yes, that did take courage. And we needed a flash of wisdom to see that it was possible, that we could change ourselves. (Living Sober, pp 22)
AA Saying: When I came to AA I found I wanted what the older sober members had
Defining Characteristics of Serenity
- The ability to detach from desires and/or emotion and feelings.
- The ability to be in touch with an inner haven of peace and security.
- A sense of connectedness with the universe.
- A trust in the wisdom of the universe.
- The habit of actively pursuing all reasonable avenues for solving problems.
- An ability to accept situations that cannot be changed.
- A way to give unconditionally of one’s self.
- Forgiveness of self and others.
- The ability to let go of the past and the future and to live in the present.
- A sense of perspective as to the importance of one’s self and life events.
It may be useful to identify possible indications that a person might be a candidate for interventions relating to serenity. In all likelihood, people may not mention concerns about serenity but rather a sense of emptiness, meaninglessness, depression, yearning for fulfilment, etc. All of these concerns have the acknowledgment of a void, the absence of serenity.