January 17, 2013
12-steps, aa, acceptance, al-anon, alcoholics anonymous, alcoholism, God, grace, humility, inspiration, neibuhr, pain, powerless, prayer, recovery, serenity
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.
Find 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.
July 25, 2012
12-steps, aa, al-anon, alcholism, alcoholics anonymous, Fourth Step, mental health, powerless, recovery, searching, Step 4, unity
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
March 4, 2012
Can You Relate?
12-steps, aa, addiction, al-anon, alcholism, alcoholics anonymous, co-dependency, mental health, powerless, resentment, sobriety
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
September 11, 2011
Tools of the Process
12-steps, aa, al-anon, alcholism, alcoholics anonymous, anxiety, co-dependency, Fourth Step, guilt, mental health, powerless, resentment, searching, shame, therapy
It’s common for persons involved in 12-step programs to seek professional help on occasion. The 12-step programs never claim to be, nor should they be, the end-all of recovery.
Although an active member of my 12-step group, I decided to seek help in the form of therapy during a particularly trying time in my life. I was facing decisions I had never had to consider before and instinctively knew I would need help. During the course of that help, I came to realize the role Shame has had in my life. I never knew just how much of the shame I felt wasn’t even mine!
I was very fortunate to have a therapist who was fully versed in the family disease of alcoholism and knew exactly how to help me. Part of that help included More
August 21, 2011
Can You Relate?
12-steps, aa, addiction, al-anon, alcholism, alcoholics anonymous, co-dependency, God, grace, humility, mental health, powerless, prayer, Promises, searching, sobriety
- I have as much sobriety today as someone who quit drinking yesterday.
- The number of years of sobriety will not help anyone stay sober.
- God took away my compulsion to drink from the beginning but most people struggle with the obsession.
- The “passing parade” is very long.
- Sometimes people die before they get recovery.
- Not Drinking is way different from Being Sober.
- Going to treatment more than one time is a waste of money and hope.
- It is “God as we understood Him”– it is not “god of our understanding”; there is a huge difference.
- At 8-10 years of continuous sobriety, the ego kicks into high gear and the ears shut down.
- Recovery only happens one day at a time.
- The same determination to drink (thinking, planning and carrying out no matter the cost) is exactly what is needed for the recovery process. Alcoholics already have what is necessary to succeed.
- God had everything in place for me to stop and stay stopped–I had to want it.
- The more difficult it is, the closer the miracle.
- There are a lot of talented, gifted, intelligent, lovely, funny, caring alcoholics.
- There are no shortcuts to recovery.
About The Family
- Alcoholism is a Family Disease: it’s not just about the alcoholic.
- A person can feel so much pain it is hard to breathe.
- Alcoholism Kills: the Love of the Family, the Hope of the Future, the Joy of Life.
- Consequences: the alcoholic family’s greatest tool.
- We do not need to be ashamed about who we love.
- People quit drinking when THEY are ready and not one split second before that.
- Detachment with love is vital to physical health, not just mental health.
- Much of what we call Help is really an attempt to quell our own emotions.
- A person CAN be mentally and emotionally addicted to another person.
- Al-Anons also hit bottom and have slips.
- Recovering alcoholics begin to drift into Al-Anon at about 18 years of sobriety.
- There is much joy in the Al-Anon rooms.
- There are no shortcuts to recovery.
July 17, 2011
Can You Relate?
12-steps, addiction, al-anon, alcholism, alcoholics anonymous, alcoholism, anxiety, co-dependency, grace, mental health, normal, powerless, resentment
Once upon a time there was an Enormous Thumb belonging to a woman with an Alcoholic Husband and Three Teenaged Children.
The four of them lived under her thumb, so of course they couldn’t do much growing up. Often their spirits writhed under the weight; every time they tried to get out from under, they’d do something wrong and the thumb would clamp down on them again.
Father managed by keeping himself flattened out drunk most of the time; he was so cute about escaping to a bottle that, no matter how much mama watched, she couldn’t catch him at it until he’d drunk himself into unconsciousness. Everyone thought she was a Very Nice Lady, and they were sorry she was having such a hard time with her family.
There was really no reason for her to come to Al-Anon to solve her problems because she always knew just what to do about everything. But she did want to make her husband stop drinking, so she thought she’d try it. She was quite unhappy at first because some of the members were not inclined to Pull any Punches. She was quite indignant when they tried to show her what she was doing to her family, but to everyone’s amazement, the Thumb began to shrink and lose weight, and things looked brighter.
More and more she realized what she was doing and, being a Determined Character, she applied the program every day and her other problems took care of themselves very nicely.
–One Day At A Time, pg 286