God, give me the grace to accept the things I cannot change. The courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.
Living one moment at a time, accepting hardship as the 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.
The thing that recovering addicts know, that others are often blind to, is the concept of powerlessness. Those in recovery have struggled through denying the addiction’s power and have finally acknowledged that it has control. This concept is true for everyone just in different ways. We all operate with a blissful ignorance that we are in control of our lives but we are not. Life has a way of breaking through in moments to let you know just how much that is not true: a diagnosis, job loss, car accident, death of a loved one, etc. In those moments, you are interrupted. A silent bomb is dropped into your life and reverberates outward. Initially, there is no pain. You think, “Its ok. I am handling this.” But just like when you cut your finger; you see the blood before the pain registers. The world just keeps spinning while you slowly bleed out. Everything is different. You have been set on a new course that you didn’t choose and you have no idea where that path will take you or how to navigate it. You are powerless. That knowledge sets you in a fork in the road; one path leads you towards God and the other towards your personal coping mechanisms of choice. We all have them. Each of us has a default way of coping when the various bombs drop: alcohol, codependency, social media/TV, food, porn, gambling, controlling others, exercise, etc.
When you are at that fork, you will choose a path. Pain in its various forms is powerful and, whether or not you acknowledge it, it will drive you to choose a path in order for that feeling to go away. Choosing God is hard. It’s much easier to lose yourself in your coping mechanisms because God asks us to face our pain and to process it with Him. However, those coping mechanisms keep us in a pain loop we can never get free from. Choosing to bravely face it with God’s help is the only way to freedom.
Often you will have to choose God every day; sometimes every hour ignoring the pull of the oblivion offered by your coping mechanisms. The counterfeit peace offered in the oblivion is as temporary as your glass is full. In the morning, the pain is crouched waiting to pounce as soon as our eyes open, filling you with despair and anxiety. We will never be free from the pain loop unless we face it with God.
If you choose God in moments when you are at your most powerless, God’s power is most evident. The great mystery in choosing God is: when you are weak, you are strong; when you should be filled with anxiety, you are filled with peace; there is hope and life when everything seems hopeless. Choosing our own way of coping leads to anxiety, depression, darkness, and hopelessness.
The serenity prayer is commonly used in addiction recovery programs. It is a prayer for the one acknowledging his or her powerlessness, for the one at the fork in the road. This prayer reminds your spirit of who is really in control and who you can depend on to make all things right. When various bombs drop and life as you know it has been interrupted with a new path snaking out in front of you, choose God. Let Him show you how good He is and how powerful He is in your powerlessness. He is the only one who can walk with you out of your pain and give you peace while doing it. That is serenity.