Alcohol Treatment & The Serenity Prayer

I never used to pray before I was a patient of an alcohol treatment facility. The pain and fear that grasps ahold of the body during withdrawals is as good a reason as any for a man to get down on his knees. I quiver at the thought; I never want to experience that again. That sort of agonizing powerlessness is something that no one should have to experience. As a patient at an alcohol treatment facility, I was taught many valuable lessons, but the one that I won\'t soon forget is the power of prayer – one prayer in particular. The Serenity Prayer is so aptly named; I can understand why Alcoholics Anonymous adopted it:

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.

As I\'m sure you can guess, I\'ve never been a very religious person. Sure, I was raised with religion and ritual, but my family never attended church together as often as the Catholic Church may have wished we did. As a young child, most religion is intimidating, and if you were like me, a public school kid stuck going to class an extra two hours every Sunday to learn about God, you weren\'t too fond of the idea of building a relationship with the higher powers that be. But I\'ve learned, as a result of my alcohol treatment, that not all prayer has to be religious. There is a simply spiritual interpretation of prayer too. I mostly pray to remain calm these days. The prayer does put life into perspective for me and like most, it makes me feel like there is some meaning to it all. Whether that meaning is completely defined yet or not, remains to be seen. In an effort to remain centered and adhere to my step work, I\'ve taken a liking to researching other prayers too. In my research, I was surprised to find that there is an entire second half of The Serenity Prayer that is not commonly spoken:

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;
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next.
Amen.

There are conflicting opinions out there as to who wrote the Serenity Prayer. Most attribute the prayer to Reinhold Niebuhr and his book The Essential Reinhold Niebuhr: Selected Essays and Addresses. To, me I\'m not so concerned as to who wrote it, so long as it exists. Discovering the second half of the prayer was tantamount to discovering buried treasure for me. I am so thankful every day for my alcohol treatment and the curiosity for knowledge that it has reignited in me. I wouldn\'t be privy to such a calming power that the Serenity Prayer offers, nor would I have any control over my alcohol cravings if it were not for the lessons I learned.

Mona R.