The Meaning Behind the Serenity Prayer

According to Alcoholics Anonymous, the serenity prayer is a prayer said at the beginning and sometimes the ending of every Alcoholics Anonymous or 12 Step meeting. This prayer is meaningful to the recovering addicts who say it and to those that have been harmed by drugs and alcohol.

What is the Serenity Prayer?

Introduced to 12 Step programs in the 1940s, the serenity pray has been a source of solace to addicts. Although most 12 Step programs are not exactly religious organizations, most 12 step programs have an element of spirituality in both the steps and the overall philosophy. The Serenity Prayer is the opening and closing of most 12 step meetings.

Serenity Prayer

Most 12 step meetings open and close with the serenity prayer.

The prayer is:

God grant me the serenity to accept the things that I cannot change,

The courage to change the things that I can, and

The wisdom to know the difference.

There are many slightly different versions of this prayer that all of the 12 Step programs use. Although no one is certain where the prayer comes from most people agree that it was once part of an obituary brought to a 12 step meeting.

Why do 12 Step Programs Use the Serenity Prayer?

12 Step programs use the Serenity Prayer as almost a mantra in order to calm the minds of those addicted to drugs or alcohol. As a simple prayer, it is easy to memorize and say in times of need. It is said to reinforce the overall concept of the 12 steps particularly the concepts of helplessness in the face of the addiction and trusting in god to help with the struggles of recovery as well as remaining sober. Most of the 12 steps compliment the belief that the addict has no control over the addiction and need the help of a higher power to overcome it. It also reinforces the concept of changing and improving an addict’s life and making amends to those who an addict has harmed.

How Does the Serenity Prayer Help those Who Need it?

The Serenity Prayer helps those who need it in several ways. The first and most important is as a calming mantra for those who are craving drugs or alcohol. Saying the same verse repeatedly is known to have a mellowing affect on people who are stressed or in need of solace.

It promotes acceptance of the things in life that you want to be able to change but there is no way to. You cannot change the past or anyone but yourself. Not being able to change things is a stressor itself. Many people turn to drugs or alcohol because they have something in their life that they cannot change or correct.

It also encourages you to change the thing that you have control over. It helps you to understand that it takes courage to change yourself and break the cycle of pain and addiction. Most addicts have difficulty with this concept when they first start in a 12 step treatment program.

12 Step Prayers

How to Find a 12 Step Program in Your Area

You can call us at 1-800-895-1695 to find a 12 step program in your area that uses the serenity prayer as a strengthening tool for the body, mind, and soul. There are 12 step programs all over the United States that welcome all addictions and all addicts who are willing to make changes in their life. If you are struggling with addiction, we can help.

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