"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."
13 years ago I came face to face with the reality and importance of that prayer. I was facing a divorce, raising a son on my own, and tried my best to hold my world together the best I could. In my own strength, my best, of course, just wasn't going to cut it. My auto-pilot of drifting numbly through life got turned off and the reality of the world that I thought I knew came crashing down. It was harsh to say the least. I spent the next couple of years struggle with depression and alcohol issues, and but for the grace of God, would I survive it all.
Part of that recovery led me to many AA meetings where I met some of the most wonderful people in my life. We would close each meeting with that prayer, but I wouldn't really come to believe it, or embrace it, until many years later when my life experiences would teach me its true importance.
I know there are probably many of you that secretly deal with addictions on a daily basis. I'm not just talking about drugs and alcohol either. I am talking about addictions to anything, like FB, soap operas, sex, or your neighbor's spouse, that are so strong they take us out of reality and leave us in a world that doesn't really exist. Sometimes, at least for me, it was easier staying in that world, the one of fantasy or denial, because the reality of my true world was just something I wasn't ready for. Then I began to really think about this prayer and use it, daily, often over and over, to get me through some really difficult moments.
Being a mom made this prayer one I would need many times. Watching my son grow into a young man had many highlites and some lows, but I am proud of who he is. That doesn't mean I agree with all of his choices. In those instances I use this prayer to talk to God so that I understand where I stop and my son begins.
I also understand that for many who deal with addictions the concept of believing in God is difficult. I, as sure as I am breathing, believe that there is a higher power, whom I choose to call God. With that said, I also respect each person's right to make their own choice in the matter, I can't change them. What I can do is share how that one prayer, such a simple little thing,has kept me sane through many dark periods in my life. When my doctors couldn't figure out what was wrong, I prayed it. When my body failed me repeatedly, I prayed it. When I felt that call to go down the road of living in denial, I prayed it. And, when I felt like the whole world was falling in on my head I prayed it then, too.
For some of us, it's not easy understanding what it means to be strong and courageous on a daily basis. I for one have more days where I feel lost than found, but that prayer is one that is part of me, and I believe God placed it in my life as a protection, against myself, and against other people's issues I try so hard to make my own.
So, for today, in this moment, I share my Serenity Angel with you. Not to toot my own horn about a new painting, but to help maybe just one person realize those life altering decisions that have to be made on a daily basis can be done successfully if by only saying and embracing this simple prayer. You do not walk alone. You do not encounter emotions that others have not shared. You do not live a moment without God being with you as well. May this angel and the Serenity prayer bring hope to you, and me, who will always struggle with addictions, but hopefully rise above them.