Flipping the Script on the Serenity Prayer

In my recovery journey, I discovered the Serenity Prayer’s impact in an unexpected way: backwards. This realization came to me just this morning and prompted me to share how this unfolded for me in my podcast episode (linked below).

The Serenity Prayer is a cornerstone for those navigating sobriety, and although not born from AA, it provides us guidance alongside the 12 steps. My true understanding began with years of repetition, a practice that I started even before I was ready to quit drinking. I received a glass plaque of the prayer from my first sponsor and found its place in my bathroom, becoming a daily reflection point.

Stepping Through the Serenity Prayer

Understanding the first line, “Grant me the serenity,” required deep introspection and the diligent practice of the first nine steps. I didn’t understand what serenity truly felt like until I reached step 10. To work the first nine steps and begin to understand the deep meaning behind the Serenity Prayer, I had to admit powerlessness over alcohol, seek a higher power, and conduct a personal inventory. And these were just the beginning of my about-face to clean out my dark place. Over time I began to recognize my inability to control anything beyond my fingertips and find courage in acceptance and making amends.

Learning to Pause

Step 10, focusing on continuous self-assessment and acknowledgment of faults, taught me the power of pausing. This act of momentarily stepping back allowed me to respond thoughtfully rather than react impulsively, helping me differentiate between what I could and could not control. This pause is what brought about the wisdom that the Serenity Prayer mentions in the last line. As a result of gaining this wisdom through consistent practice of deciphering that which is in my control, my fear was reduced, thus fostering inner peace.

By pausing and recognizing what can’t be changed I’m providing myself space to accept. I’ve incorporated the Serenity Prayer into daily life, like having it on the wall in front of me during yoga practice, serving as a physical reminder, deepening my understanding and application.

Making the Serenity Prayer a mantra for reflection encouraged mindfulness and intentional action. It became a guide through uncertainty, teaching me to gracefully navigate life’s challenges by understanding my limits and focusing on achievable changes.