The Serenity Prayer: Original Version

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The Serenity Prayer: Original Version

In 1943, theologian Reinhold Niebuhr wrote the Serenity Prayer for a church sermon. This prayer, an appeal for grace, courage and wisdom, has become closely associated with AA, often recited at meetings all over the world. Adopted in the late 1940’s by AA, it remains a favorite prayer for Alcoholics Anonymous, Al-Anon and other 12-step groups.

Interestingly, the prayer was changed from “give us grace ” to “grant me the serenity”.

Niebuhr’s daughter, Elisabeth Sifton, wrote the book, “The Serenity Prayer”, which explores the circumstances that led her father to write the prayer.  The book can be found many places online. I ran across this audio interview of Ms. Sifton on the NPR website a few years ago and have included a link to it here:  NPR Audio Interview

Lasting about 20 minutes, I hope you set aside time to find out more about this humble man.

OrigSerenityPrayerFind a framed copy at our website.

The Serenity Prayer – Original Version
Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971)

God, give us grace to accept with
Serenity the things that
Cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things which
Should be changed, and the
Wisdom to distinguish the one
From the other.

Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a
Pathway to peace.
Taking, as Jesus did,
this sinful world as it is, not as
I would have it. Trusting that
You will make all things right If
I surrender to Your will, So that
I may be reasonably happy
In this life, and supremely happy
With You forever in the next.
Amen.

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Doing the Prep Work for Your 4th Step

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I’ve found it is so much easier to write about doing a 4th Step than it is to actually write a 4th Step. If you’re having trouble getting started on this vitally important Step, you’re not alone. I talk with people all the time who struggle with this Step. In fact, most comments have been about More

The AA Sponsor: Mentor or Tormentor?

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As someone in AA and Al-Anon, the word “sponsor” always conjures up many memories. I can still see the face of my first sponsor, Marilyn. Round face and big eyeglasses. Brown, wavy hair cut in a short, practical do. A little on the “mature” side. She had 10 years of sobriety and liked to have fun but understood the seriousness of her task as a sponsor.

Back when I was 2-3 months sober, I told her that I was thinking about finding a new group. When she asked why I would want to do that, More

Family Warfare vs Common Welfare

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When I first hit the doors of AA, it was not a stretch to admit that my life had become unmanageable. I was a divorced 30-year-old part-time mother who had just moved back home and was living in the basement. I say “part-time mother” because my two children lived with their father 9 months of the year. I worked the 12-steps like they told me and found a certain peace within myself and a renewed love of God. But I continued to settle for less than good relationships.

FAMILY WARFARE

My own childhood was a picture-perfect family–of the alcoholic kind, that is. My memories were that of More

Carrying the 12-Step Message in the Digital Age

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Tradition 11 states,

“Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, films, and TV.”

My recent search on the Internet for the words “12-step program” got 633 million hits (in .16 seconds, by the way)!  Whoa. Bill W. and Dr. Bob would be blown away with that fact, huh?

Both the AA and Al-Anon 11th Tradition speaks of maintaining anonymity “at the level of press, radio and television“.  We’ve come to add the Internet into that mix, too. In fact, both organizations (they are separate, if you didn’t know it) have guidelines in place for those who want to take the Program on to the Web. I am the “webmaster” (for lack of a better word) of my Al-Anon home group’s membership website. And there are many, many other groups that have made the leap.

So that brings up the question: are websites “promoting” the Program instead of “attracting”, like the 11thTradition states? More

The Problem of the Alcoholic…Family.

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We’re told that for every alcoholic, there are five people who are directly affected by the disease. Logic would then follow that Al-Anon meetings would be five times larger than AA meetings, right? Sadly, if you’ve spent any time around AA or Al-Anon, you’ll agree that this is not the case. Which says a lot about the state of recovery from the FAMILY disease of alcoholism.

My interpretation is that “family recovery” is way behind in the attention and help that alcoholics and drug addicts receive. If we take a quick glance at the family situation, it’s easy to think that if the alcoholic/addict can get sober/clean, then The Problem in the family will go away. The family’s hopes are pinned to this idea. And, quite frankly, so are the hopes of the alcoholic/addict. Just ask any recovering alcoholic who has been to treatment more than once. If they work an honest program, they will tell you that (with some exceptions) going to treatment was a quick and effective way to get the family (employer, judge, etc) off their back.

So just how DOES a family hear that they, too, need recovery? More

Amethyst: The Drunkeness Protector Stone

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Amethyst - protection for drunkenessAlthough now closely associated with 12-step recovery, legends abound when it comes to the  Amethyst. Amethyst is a variety of quartz–its violet coloring, which is its identifying feature, can vary from dark purple to pink.  It’s been said to contain certain spiritual properties that affect the wearer. While I don’t ascribe to the idea that  inanimate objects have any kind of “power”, it is fun to listen to the stories. My favorite legend of the origin of Amethyst is the Greek version (some say it’s Roman).

The Greek god, Dionysius, who was said to be the god of intoxication, let his anger get the best of him one day when he was insulted by mortal man. Vowing to have tigers carry out his sworn revenge More

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