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. ~Serenity Prayer
The past few weeks I have found myself leaning hard on the words of the Serenity Prayer as I have repeatedly been reminded that there are people, places, and things that I cannot change and circumstances and situations that I do not control. I am told to tend to my garden—the garden that God has given me stewardship over—and to focus my energy and efforts on those areas where I can have an impact.
Serenity can be elusive to find.
Hard as I try, the words slip off my tongue or my temper flares due to something beyond my control and that I have no power to change. That’s why I have to pray the prayer daily, multiple times throughout the day. It’s too easy to get bent out of shape by the people who I failed to provide a script so that they would know their lines and places. Before I know it, serenity has escaped my grasp.
Time to start over.
Learning that I could start my day over at any point and time helped get me through recovery and kept me from going postal my first days clean and sober. Addiction is a mean bitch, rearing its ugly head when you least expect it.
While I do not control every circumstance or situation I encounter, I do control my response to these different stimuli. I can choose my attitude when I wake up. I can pick my outlook on life as I go about the business of my day. Most importantly, God has been faithful in granting me the Wisdom to know the difference between those things that I cannot change and those things that I can.
Today, I can choose to live clean and sober. I cannot change how people respond to me as a recovering addict. Their reaction is up to them. My attitude is up to me.
To steward my time well, I must focus on those areas that I can influence positively and not burn energy on the stuff that I can do nothing about. What can I do today to make a difference in someone’s life? What can I do today to change something in my neighborhood? What can I do today that matters? Some days, it’s a simple matter of smiling at the cashier checking my groceries at the store and thanking them by their name. Other days, I can stop and pray for a friend or even with a stranger about a need or concern that they have. Perhaps all I can do today is lend someone a listening ear or an encouraging word.
Whatever it is, when I am anxious and fretting with worry, turning my attention from self-pity to serving others ensures that my focus is on the right things and pointing toward the correct direction.
Part of living in recovery is leaving people, places, and things better than I found them. This is a true contrast to how I lived life before getting clean and sober.
Are you struggling with addiction? Have you hit rock bottom? You don’t have to go it alone. There is a vast network of people waiting to help you. Call the Texas statewide hotline, (877) 9-NO DRUG (877/966-3784). The call is free.