“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”
I can’t count how many times I’ve said this prayer from my first day of sobriety up until now. It’s gotten me through some tough days during my recovery. I never thought I’d ever use or say a prayer so much in life to give me strength. But it’s only given me strength because I actually listen to the words when I say it and say it with meaning. I close my eyes, bow my head (keeps me humble when bowing my head) and never say this pray half-assed. Like it says in the big book, “half measures avail us nothing”. I’ve tried to do this sober thing half way a few times and failed miserably! Sound familiar? Yeah, I thought so.
This prayer is one of the simple actions that needs to be done correctly and that you know you’re saying it 100% from your heart. It really comes down to what you want out of life. Either I could believe this prayer won’t do anything for me and just say the words. Or, I can believe that my higher power will hear me if I say the words with meaning behind them. Has my life changed because I do this? You’re damn right it has!
You may not have any hope or faith that your life can change right now. But take a step back and think about what you’re doing at this very moment? You’re reading something you’ve never read before that a fellow alcoholic has written for your benefit to get sober. Or you’re reading this to stay sober if you’re already in recovery. Either way I applaud you for the strength that has been given to you today by your higher power.
“Are you sober right now?” Be proud if you are! You might even be reading this under the influence, and that’s ok too. I really don’t care. What I care about is that you’re reading this for some good reason. You’re most likely trying to find a way to get sober and be relieved from your addiction.
“Do you believe your higher power is with you right now?”
I don’t know how I started reading stuff like this when I got sober myself. I thought crap like this was just a bunch of hot air. And I’m was no different than the next alcoholic thinking it was impossible to get sober. But I was also ready for it as well. I knew I never wanted to drink again so I guess I had to find something to feed my mind so I wouldn’t go crazy. I did it because I knew I had to do something different to get better and be relieved of my addiction one day at a time. I fuel my mind with positive thoughts as much as I can. Thoughts that (most importantly) build my faith that life can be good again. It might never be great, but I’ll take “good” all day long. It is way better than all the shitty days I had during the depths of my disease with alcoholism.
So what does the serenity prayer have to do with this post you ask?
“…courage to change the things I can…”
It’s not easy to be sober and be in recovery early on, and it’s not easy to change the things I know I can. I was in treatment when the nurses station said I had a call. My daughter was 6 years old at the time. She didn’t know where I was at the time. She didn’t realize how badly I was suffering after my divorce or with alcohol. I had (finally) hit my bottom with another run in with the law. I came to the phone and it was my daughter’s mother. She said that my daughter wants to talk to me. She’s been wondering where I’ve been and where I was. My heart just sank hearing these words. It was so damn hard on me to know my daughter was wondering where I was and that I couldn’t be there for her.
So there I was, trying to think about what I’m going to say to my daughter. How was I supposed to explain where I was? I mean, a person can say anything at that moment. It truly is a moment where a person could be weak, or could find the strength to say the right thing to comfort her. I needed the courage to find the right words to say. She got on the phone and said hi. I said hi back and told her I missed her.
She asked me, “Daddy, where are you?”
It was at that moment I know my higher power was with me and helped me respond to her. With a slight pause, I said, “Sweetheart, you know how you go to school right now to become a smarter and better person in life?” She said, yes. I explained to her that Daddy is at a similar school, but for dads. They teach dads how to become better dads than they ever have been before. I told her I go to classes where we have teachers, and they are really good teachers too. I told her that dad feels really good about coming to this school and that I’d see her soon. I told her I loved her with all my heart and that I don’t mean to be away from her. I reinforced that I’ll only be gone for a little while and that I’d see her soon. She understood.
I don’t know how I was able to come up with this explanation? My only thought is that there was something guiding me to be strong and to be able to say those words! I didn’t make up those words you see. They came from my heart. I meant every word I said and felt good about myself at the same time I was saying them.
Miracles were already starting in my recovery.
I thought to myself, “I know I can do this if I found the courage to say something like this to my daughter!” I meant it to myself that I wanted to live a sober life and I meant it that I was getting better, for myself and my daughter.
So I say to you today, “Have courage to do this thing!” I mean – to get sober and to live a happy life in recovery. You might think all this stuff is a bunch of bullshit. But why would I even take the time to write this post or even create this blog if it was all BS? This is for your benefit? I don’t think that’s BS. I think that is love. Unconditional love that is being given to you freely at this very moment.
Say the serenity prayer tonight. But just don’t say it. Say each and every word with meaning! Say it again and again until you “believe” you can find serenity, courage and the wisdom to know the difference to do the next right thing in life. And yes, you can live a happy and sober life! I’m one of the thousands who are doing it right now.
You are soon to be the next success!