How to tap into Serenity in Recovery

Serenity in Recovery

“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.”

These are the first lines of what’s known as the Serenity Prayer, which is well-known to many recovering alcoholics. It is often recited in the rooms of 12-step programs, and it reminds us of the main goal of recovery-to achieve a serene state, no matter what is going on around us. To be able, at any time, to tap into serenity in recovery.

Before becoming a member of Alcoholics Anonymous, my life was absolute chaos. Every day was consumed with getting, buying, and using drugs and alcohol. The smallest bump in the road or comment by a friend or family member would send me into a tailspin. I was irritable, bad-tempered, and angry towards everyone around me. I hurt people around me and I didn’t even care.

I almost lost it all; my friends, my family, and most importantly my life. My body was dying, and if I didn’t get help, I was going to overdose or commit suicide. I went to treatment, and I was given a chance to see what life had to offer.

This didn’t mean, however, that I was able to tap into serenity in recovery as soon as I put down drugs and alcohol. In fact, at first, the chaos got worse. Every emotion that I had been numbing with drugs and alcohol came surging back, all at once. Without my chemical escape, I was brutally aware of all the terrible things I had done in my addiction and all the harm I had caused. Thoughts of drinking and using pervaded my every waking moment. Even when I was asleep, I’d be bombarded with dreams of drugs and alcohol.  I had to learn how to tap into serenity in recovery, and it took time.

Part of how to tap into serenity in recovery comes from exactly what the prayer states, understanding and accepting that some things cannot and will never change. Also, from having the courage to change the things I can, which I came to realize was actually one thing: myself. I have no power over people, places and things. I am responsible for taking the action, not the outcome of the action. I can’t control how people behave, but I can control how I react to that behavior and in some cases whether I choose to spend any more time around that person.

This I achieved from working twelve steps with a sponsor, taking life one day at a time, and practicing steps ten, eleven, and twelve every day. I don’t do these things perfectly, and sometimes I find it difficult to tap into serenity in recovery. However, today I know how to fix it. I know which action to take to get myself back into serenity in recovery. My life today is peaceful and I live with a sense of calmness which I never thought I could have.

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