The Serenity 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.
The Serenity Prayer has helped those both in and out of recovery for years. While living in this shared global anxiety attack, the Serenity Prayer is a great tool to help keep me as sane and grounded as possible. If I break down the prayer, everything falls into one of two columns, things I can do something about and things I cannot. I cannot single handedly stop this cunning, baffling and powerful virus, cure the people who are sick, or change the frantic messages I am inundated with in the media. I can however donate to charitable organizations who are providing medical equipment where it is needed, pick up the phone and check on people who are struggling, keep a schedule which includes my daily prayers and meditations and practice social distancing to do what I can to slow the spread of the virus. When I get really clear about what I can control, it comes down to only my own actions. Everything else is out of my control. Even in these bizarre and frightening times I can know a modicum of serenity if I focus on taking the next right action within my control and accept the rest.
Another lawyer reflects:
The famous “Serenity Prayer” is used frequently to bring calmness and perspective in times of turmoil, despair, or uncertainty. The prayer works by helping us focus on what we can – and cannot – change. Invariably, the fruit of the prayer is the realization that most things in life are beyond our control. We cannot control – or change – other people, viruses, stay-at-home orders, or the economy, and attempting to do so only leads to unnecessary and unproductive frustration, anger, fear, and suffering.
However, acceptance is not synonymous with resignation or complacency. The Serenity Prayer makes it clear that we can control – and change – ourselves, our thoughts, and our actions. So, when facing adverse or challenging situations, we can choose to treat those situations as opportunities for personal growth. We achieve that personal growth by asking ourselves how we can change the way we think, feel, or act in response to the situation. By focusing on our thoughts, emotions, and actions, we can learn to respond to challenges favorably, calmly, and differently, which, in turn, helps us transcend our circumstances.
Another lawyer writes:
Our firm made the decision to work remotely on March 19. Soon after, my home group began Zoom meetings, because our meeting site was closed. During the last two and a half weeks, I have prayed the Serenity Prayer more than I have (very likely) over the last two and a half years. If I needed any reminder about the totality of my powerless condition—the ongoing crisis has reaffirmed this permanent truth. For my sobriety, it is essential that I accept that I am living in a new reality (didn’t they tell me at the outset of my sobriety—that I had to change one thing, everything). “The courage to change the things I can…” Living in the 12 Steps, my experience is that the one thing I can change is my reaction to outside events. I have found reliance upon my Higher Power gives me that strength. In conjunction with the Serenity Prayer—I pray for increased distance between the event and my reaction to that event. Last, where to find the wisdom to know the difference? In working Step 1 100%, each day, and focusing on Step 3, I attempt to remain grounded in powerlessness and turning over my thinking and my actions to the care of my Higher Power.
With so much uncertainty at hand, with its inherent fears and resentments, the day to day aspect of the program has provided strength and hope. I find the Serenity Prayer helps bring some calm and peace.
And, in these troubled times, I remain sober.