The Serenity Prayer, I can’t begin to count how many times I recited those now familiar words in meetings and in those quiet moments alone in mediation and reflection.
That prayer has gone beyond mere recitation and has become intertwined in my DNA and is understood at the deepest of levels. It is a cornerstone in twelve step programs and is entrenched in the first step. The word serenity itself…while we may not be able to rattle off the Merriam-Webster definition, we seem to know what it means for our soul and it is a place where we want to be in the most ideal sense.
What is serenity and what does it mean for us in regards to our journey in recovery? As I alluded to earlier, serenity may not be a concept that has a verbal concrete definition. The reason for that is that serenity goes beyond the pale of semantics. It can be viewed as a feeling of deep peace that is all-encompassing.
Serenity is what a recovering person is striving for because prior to writing that new chapter, our lives were enveloped in chaos. Think about it for a minute. Experiencing and living the addict life is walking a fine line. The plotting and planning that goes into obtaining the drug of choice is fraught with static. There is a war that goes on in one’s head and soul between what we know is wrong in an ethical and spiritual sense and what are desires, wants and needs are dictating. Those desires, wants and needs are being steered by forces who ultimately are looking to destroy us, despite how things may feel in that moment in time.
To wrap your mind around serenity, I think about it in using terms but with a twist. To me, serenity feels like when I first started drinking. Having those feelings of calm and happiness and being in the moment with my friends felt good to me. Having just a few pulls seemed to erase or negate the pain I had been feeling. However, what I was doing in reality was pushing those feelings of pain into a dark corner and I never dealt with that pain. Those feelings of control were illusory. Serenity is like that feeling of contentment I had when I drank but there is actual substance and roots to that contentment.
Serenity and Acceptance
There is an acceptance of the world around me “as is”. I realize there will be future trials and tribulations and I can use them as lessons and gain strength from overcoming those obstacles. I will never know “why” things may happen and I realize that what I can’t control or understand is something that I cannot hang on to because it will only cause more suffering that is undue and unnecessary. Ultimately, serenity is truly living life on life’s terms. I realized very early on that life and the world around me isn’t going to bend for me. Instead, I need to find my spot in this world, dig in, stay true to the roots of my recovery and work things to the best of my ability. In that way, my genuine intention and action can lay out the path for me.