The Serenity Prayer – How it Helps Me to Stay Sober

“O God and Heavenly Father, Grant to us the serenity of mind to accept that which cannot be changed; courage to change that which can be changed, and wisdom to know the one from the other, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.”, Reinhold Niebuhr.

In my research online for help with my binge drinking problem, I came across this short prayer many times. I’ve seen it on Twitter as well in posts on other blogs, and each time I see it, it strikes me how simple the prayer is. It helped me to look at my own problems and I know that if I could sort out those things that I can’t change from the ones that I can, then life is indeed a lot happier and less stressful too.

Maybe I worry too much. Sometimes I find that I’ve been focusing on the wrong things, i.e. trying to change the things that can’t be, whilst overlooking completely the things I can..! Having wisdom is all very well, but being able to apply it correctly is important.

In giving up drinking, for the last time, I was able to focus and zoom in on exactly what I had to do in order to give up alcohol. With perseverance and sheer hard work, as well as putting up with doubters around me, I succeeded. I found that I could change that which can be changed, but up to that point had been something that I couldn’t have changed no matter what I did to try. I always failed, just couldn’t make the break and always found myself back at the bar on the Friday and again Saturday as if nothing had happened.

I still think of this serenity prayer and though I don’t say it as often as I should, the elements within it help me to stay true to myself.


Author: James

Sharing stories of recovery and strategies to help you keep sober. Visit my blog today -

6 thoughts on “The Serenity Prayer – How it Helps Me to Stay Sober”

  1. This is a prayer which solves 90% of my problems in my daily life. Like if its raining out side and I have to go somewhere and I am getting irritated. Immidiately its come to my mind that I can not stop I do what I can instead of frustration. Just a small example.


  2. I have been praying all night, a different version, though then one posted:

    God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courgage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. The BREAKTHROUGH that I had is that I got that this prayer says “me” and “I”. It does not relate to anything outside of me. I want to change others but I can’t. All I can do, to heal is focus this prayer on the pain inside of me. Thanks for an opportunity to post this.


  3. Nice post. I think when I say that prayer I get in touch with my higher self and my lower self. My lower self thinks it can control everything and actually wants and tries to. My higher self is so aligned with Creator that is simply steps in and makes the loving choice. It’s so simple, it’s ridiculous. Thanks for the sweet reminder of what it means to have wisdom.


    1. Hi Lisa,
      Thanks, the first post in a long while! This prayer just makes sense. It doesn’t need to be any longer than it is, it says everything. It is so easy to focus on the things that can’t be changed, missing those that can easily with a bit of effort.
      I need to remind myself to say it more often, and smile more when I realise that there are things I can fix, easily.



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