Serenity Prayer and Recovery

Posted on Updated on

People fall into substance abuse and other addictive behaviors for different reasons. However, many addiction motives would boil down to one thing: the inability to cope with life. Addiction has become people’s means to escape from problems, disappointments, and insecurities. As they try to escape life by resorting to substances and other means (alcohol, drugs, pornography, video games, gambling, etc.), their life takes on a different turn and they end up being overcome by addiction. The escape becomes their life and before they know it, there is no turning back.

And this is why the infamous Serenity Prayer has become a powerful tool in recovery.

Serenity Prayer

The Original Serenity Prayer

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.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
As it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
If I surrender to His Will;
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life
And supremely happy with Him
Forever and ever in the next.

Amen.

The Serenity Prayer was created in 1937 by a theologian named Karl Paul Reinhold Niebhur, but many including Niebhur himself, believe that the prayer has been around for centuries. Contemporary times have adopted the prayer into recovery.

The great thing about this prayer is, though non-believers would cringe at the words “prayer” and “God”, the words can offer them insights that go beyond religion. The serenity prayer offers universal lessons that can be applied in life, especially in recovery.

So What Does It Mean?

The Serenity Prayer asks for three things: Serenity, Courage, and Wisdom. It asks for Serenity to be applied at certain situations, and the same for Courage. Lastly, the prayer asks for Wisdom to discern when to use Serenity and when to use Courage.

Imagine walking on a road with two lanes. One lane is for Courage, and one lane is for Serenity. You have to have Wisdom to know when you have to go on one lane and when you should go on another.

The problem is, we all have our prejudices, denials, as well as inclinations for self-righteousness and self-deception. These make it hard for us to tell the two kinds of situations apart. For example, if you are resigned to a situation that you can in fact change, it’s not serenity but complacency. Consequently, if you want to change something that is really just how things are, it’s not courage but foolishness.

ME-YOU Principle

One exercise that you can do to apply the Serenity Prayer in your life is this: You cannot change other people, that is how they are and you have to accept that (serenity). If there is one thing you can change, it’s you (courage). Do not waste your energy to change other people and instead use that energy to change yourself and make yourself be better. When you are focused on making yourself be better, you will have less time and less energy worrying about other people.


If you are in recovery and are needing support and guidance about when to be serene and when to be courageous, give us a text or call:

+63 915 645 2703 / +63 917 509 8826

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s