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Terry Mah, MA, CPC, ASAT, AMAT, CCC, AAMFT Clinical Fellow, RMFT Nationally

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The Serenity Prayer

Posted on 14 November, 2014 at 18:40

The Serenity Prayer is frequently used in 12 Step addiction recovery groups for good reason.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot control.

The courage to change the things I can and

The wisdom to know the difference.

Many times when addictions are involved, the focus becomes what the addict ought to do. Loved one's are legitimately concerned for the well being of the addict as their behaviours can progressively endanger their careers, relationships, and health.

What the Serenity Prayer does is reminds us of what we can or cannot control in our lives and to seek out wisdom to differentiate the elements in our lives that can be controlled. Telling or commanding someone to do something is like pushing a rope. Its gets frustrating because human choice is like that rope which is not designed to be told what to do. Maybe the question is not what the addict ought to do but what am I doing to enable the addict to continue using their drug of choice or addictive behaviour? Do I try to protect the addict from the natural consequences of the their addictive behaviour? Do I try to manage and take responsibility for the addict's emotions? Do I provide financial support for the addict to continue their addictive behaviours? The focus on many of these questions are not about the addict, rather they are about my own personal choices and responses to the addict's behaviour. The elements that can be changed are our personal thoughts, beliefs, feelings, choices, and responses.

There can be a great deal of fear of having to accept the things that cannot be changed but courage can be found as we begin to recognize the boundaries and limits of our abilities and to act within those abilities in spite of our fears.

Categories: Addictions and Recovery Information, Mental Health and Wellbeing

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