“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.
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
My Grandmother was incredibly spiritual and religious and she often quoted this prayer, in fact I think it helped shape her life. I’ve since found it to be inspirational and help me with my own recovery. With each sentence help me to look for the positive and what is it that I can do to help others, instead of just helping me, selfishly.
This road of recovery that I’ve been on the past 5 years hasn’t been easy, but there are many others who need more help than I needed. If you’re reading this and are thinking of giving up drink or getting sober after years of drinking, then please write to me. I’d love to hear your comments, simply reply in the comment box below.
The gift of being able to survive modern life without the need for getting drunk is amazing, and through this blog I’d be so happy to have reached as many people as could be. It is through this blog that I am giving my tips and hopefully an energy that someone reading this, nervously thinking of giving up, should then see that it is possible to succeed without losing all your friends or having to live a life of a hermit on an island away from everyone else.
Writing my blog has been incredibly helpful on my journey. I hope you find it equally helpful. Please write your thoughts in the comments area below.
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P.s. Thanks to SoberIsSexy for reminding me of this prayer and inspiring me to add it to my own blog.
At the moment everyone including the medical profession in the UK is shouting that you need to raise the price of alcohol to put young people off it. Really?! Targeting just the supply side is only one half; the other half is trying to stem the demand. The most effective way to lower the demand is to remove or restrict the advertising.
You only have to look at the mass marketing of alcohol in the UK and rest of the world to see that there is a common theme. There’s a customer born every minute, so they say and the advertising industry ensures that its glossy ads bring these new customers to their clients alcoholic drinks range, not their competitors. The alcohol ad industry is fierce, and competition to produce interesting and memorable ads is huge.
Carlsberg is well known for producing sophisticated TV ads that suggest if you drink Carlsberg; you’re probably drinking the best ‘Beer in the World’ and that you’re also sophisticated. Recently Carlsberg’s agencies have produced ads suggesting that if Carlsberg did night clubs, they’d be ultra cool, etc. And so the list goes on. Heineken is close behind with an admittedly very funny ad about a walk in fridge.
If you imagine that the product being sold was a cigarette, you’d be amazed that it was allowed. So why is a drug as equally harmful as tobacco, allowed to be advertised? Tobacco advertising has been banned throughout the US and Europe for a few years now, is it only banned because it pollutes the atmosphere of those near to smokers? What about the harmful effects of drinkers and the people who live or work around them? Just because there is no direct connection doesn’t lessen its impact.
At the moment the UK Government seems to think that the answer to reducing alcohol intake is to raise the prices of alcohol. Is raising the price really going to stop people from drinking? And is this the only way to reduce alcohol consumption particularly in young people?
Young people are so impressionable, and the thing that is going to make the most impression on them is not the price they have to pay, but taking away the images they are trying to achieve might achieve the same result without unnecessarily increasing the cost for that group of people who are responsible drinkers.