The Serenity Prayer
More than any other single pamphlet, slogan or book, THIS is the cornerstone of my AA program.
God: I immediately acknowledge my Higher Power in my life and turn to Him for help
Grant me the Serenity: tells me that in the midst of whatever is going on in my life at the moment, I need to take a deep breath and go to a quiet place inside myself where there is calm and peace; I should stay there until that serenity extends to my outer self
to Accept the Things I Cannot Change: and that is everything around me; my control over change starts inside me and goes halfway through my skin – after that, I control nothing; I may try to manipulate or influence or threaten but nothing will change because of that behavior on my part – I am not in charge
the Courage to Change the Things I Can: change is difficult and usually unwelcome; it’s a lot of work and it might be painful to me; if something is amiss in my life and there is no alternative available except to change, then I want you, Higher Power, to grace me with as much courage as necessary to do what must be done
and, the Wisdom to Know the Difference: I need to know the difference because if it is something outside of my control (see above) then I need to let it go (there’s a slogan for that! Let Go and Let God); if the situation is something that is within my power to change (also see above) then I had better get on with the job of doing something about it (there’s a step for that! Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings).
Applying the prayer in my day-to-day life for the stresses and situations (people, places and things) as I have outlined above has made a HUGE difference in how I interact with the world. This is the tool I use instead of running to hide, avoiding, over-reacting or, worst of all, drinking. It is simple; it is powerful and it is effective. When the Serenity Prayer was first discovered and brought to Bill W.’s attention he said: “Never had we seen so much A.A. in so few words”. I have to agree.