Tag Archives: religion

Addiction Recovery Prayers: Acceptance, Courage, and Serenity

addiction recovery prayers

Sobriety is a paradigm shift, to be sure; and, dedicating one’s self to a new mode of living is not without challenge. With steadfast dedication and a daily commitment to practicing the principles of addiction recovery, long-term healing is possible.

A good many people, who find themselves requiring assistance, struggle with some aspects of 12 Step recovery. There is a pervasive misconception among some newcomers that they must welcome God into their life. While it’s true that spirituality is key to 12 Step addiction recovery, a person’s understanding of God is entirely subjective.

It is not uncommon for people to be turned off by programs like Alcoholics Anonymous because of the God part. Such individuals convince themselves that when program subscribers finish combing through The Big Book, they move on to Bible or Koran verses. Since many men and women have less than pleasant childhood memories of religion, they will not abide by the prospect of religious recurrence.

It’s true, some members of AA et al. return to a place of worship after getting sober; their God being of the Biblical or Koran variety. However, people in recovery are a diverse group; they pray and meditate on myriad different powers-greater-than-themselves. In recovery, one can arrive at the same ends by any one of several spiritual roads. The program only asks a person to relinquish the delusion that he or she can control all things life. No person is omnipotent.

Addiction, mental illness, or not—no human is perfect! We all make mistakes, and each of us is better off when we accept that we don’t have all the answers. People on the more unfortunate end of addiction must realize that their best thinking brought only greater despair. They need to grasp that standing up (and staying up) requires outside assistance, human and otherwise.

12 Step Prayers

It isn’t challenging to understand why many newcomers think 12 Step recovery is affiliated with religion. Members of the program will often recite the Lord’s Prayer at the end of meetings. People in recovery will also grasp hands and say the Serenity Prayer; an invocation attributed to Protestant theologian Reinhold Niebuhr. The prayer's phrasing brings to mind the pulpit in more ways than one. However, if a person is willing to look beyond the religious connotations, then they discover powerful tools to help them stay on course.

The debate over how much God is too much is one that has been going on since AA’s founding. Some meeting houses have done away with the Lord’s Prayer lest they dissuade newcomers. The Serenity Prayer, on the other hand, remains a fixture at practically every meeting and at treatment centers utilizing the 12 Step model.

The Serenity Prayer is longer than most people know. The full orison contains God, capitalized as He or Him, and His Will. Finishing with a resounding AMEN! 12 Step members rely on an abridged version of the prayer:

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…

Even though the word God is the prayer’s opening, the word is interchangeable. Members can insert any “higher power” they like when reciting. The religious undertones are not the critical elements of the Serenity Prayer. It all boils down to several timeless truths that any person in recovery can benefit from remembering on their quest toward serenity.

Finding Serenity in Addiction Recovery

The definition of serenity is the state of being calm, peaceful, and untroubled. Who doesn’t desire mental, emotional, and spiritual equilibrium? Working a program is a pathway to the realm of both internal and external peace. Still, each person is a work in progress; men and women still face obstacles when the drugs and alcohol are out of the picture.

Trials and tribulations are a certainty; what one does in the face of such circumstances, however, is not. The question is, will one’s frustrations be an excuse to return to self-defeating behaviors, or will these instances be harnessed as an opportunity to grow?

Individuals who are new to addiction recovery and struggle with God-talk must do their best to focus their attention on different watchwords. Instead of fixating on what form higher powers take, look to the words acceptance, courage, change, wisdom, and serenity.

Persons still risk trying to change things they have no control over, especially other people, even in addiction recovery. Working a program gives men and women the tools to accept the reality that they can only change him or herself. Other people may change by the example we set, but no one can force them to make alterations. Moreover, when a person focuses on their mode of being alone, it is an exercise in “letting go.”

Surrender isn't defeat; it is trusting that a power greater than ourselves will guard us against veering off the path.

One of the most useful verses in the Serenity Prayer is rarely uttered at meetings. Readers may find it interesting to learn that the full Serenity Prayer includes:

Living one day at a time;

enjoying one moment at a time;

accepting hardships as the pathway to peace.

Addiction Recovery is a Process

It can take time to conceptualize the role that spirituality plays in 12 Step recovery. Perspective comes when a person accepts that their way didn’t work, that there is a more natural method of living, and trusts that there are more powerful forces at work. If one is open, honest, willing, and maintains a positive attitude their life is bound to transform, and they will find serenity.

At PACE Recovery Center, our clients benefit from having access to a dynamic 12-step recovery community. We specialize in treating men who struggle with chemical dependency and behavioral health issues. Please contact us to learn more about our gender-specific, extended care mental health and addiction rehab.

Alcoholics Anonymous: Atheists/Agnostics In Recovery

alcoholics anonymousIn the field of addiction medicine, it is widely agreed upon that there is not just one way to recover from the insidious and pernicious disease of addiction. That being said, when most people think of addiction recovery, they will typically envision a group of people sitting in a circle, working together to refrain from using drugs and alcohol by practicing the principles of the 12-Steps which were first laid out in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). While there are scores of 12-Step recovery programs to address anything from alcohol use disorder to sex addiction, which may do things in different ways, they all share the common thread of the 12-Steps. It is often said that everyone is welcome at a 12-Step meeting, as long as they have a desire to get better. Yet, many people have recoiled from such programs due to a word that they struggle with, i.e. GOD. Programs of recovery that incorporate the 12-Step model, are spiritual programs, which members are cautioned to not confuse with religious. Organizations like AA and Narcotics Anonymous (NA), pride themselves with not being associated with any religious sect. While many of their members may choose Jesus or GOD in the biblical sense of the words with regard to assigning a higher power, every member is free to choose their own unique higher power. Even people who are on the fence about the existence of God, or do not believe in God at all, are welcome to join the 12-Step community.

A Spiritual Program

It is fair to say that countless addicts and alcoholics have stayed clear of 12-Step recovery because of the pervasive nature of the word God in the Big Book. And sadly, it is not only an unfortunate choice, it can be a deadly one. 12-Step programs of recovery are in fact spiritual rather than religious, and one should not let the wording (albeit somewhat antiquated) keep them from finding recovery. In fact, there are countless people who are atheist or agnostic who are or will be attending a meeting of AA or NA. They have learned how to work a spiritual program without compromising their beliefs. There are people at meetings from all walks of life, who have varying systems of belief. It is possible to be spiritual without being religious, one need only acknowledge that there is something that is greater than himself. Through which, one can learn how to be accountable to others, and most importantly—their own self. A requirement of getting, and staying, sober is not understanding others’ higher power; it is about understanding and having a relationship with their own higher power. If you are struggling with drugs and/or alcohol, and are considering joining AA or NA—do not be discouraged. Before you write off the program because of certain words, please keep in mind that many atheist and agnostics have managed to work a program of recovery for well over 20+ years through practicing the principles of 12-Steps in all their affairs.

"God," is a God of Your Understanding

Alcoholics Anonymous officially recognized atheist and agnostic membership in the October edition of Grapevine, the International Journal of Alcoholics Anonymous. The publication began in 1944, just five years after the founding of AA. In 72 years of publishing, Grapevine has never devoted an issue to atheist and agnostic members—until now. Grapevine’s Editor's Letter writes:
This month, our special section features stories by atheist and agnostic AA members, some who have many years of sobriety. One member quotes our co-founder Bill W., in a 1946 Grapevine, ‘… an alcoholic is a member if he says so … we can’t force our beliefs or practices upon him.’ In editing these stories, we honored the request of some authors to not capitalize the word God, which is our usual style. Bill W. intended Grapevine to be a mirror of the Fellowship. We hope these stories will shed some light on the joys and challenges of our atheist and agnostic members.”

Recovery

If you are a young adult male who is struggling with drugs or alcohol, please contact PACE Recovery Center, our team specializes in working with young adult males struggling with chemical dependency and behavioral health issues. We can help you or your loved one break the cycle of addiction and adopt healthy behaviors to ensure long-term recovery.

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