Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The three parts of the serenity prayer

Over the last several days, I've had a couple of conversations about acceptance. It's such a key concept in the 12-step programs. "Acceptance is the key to all my problems." But a single focus on acceptance of what is, of what we cannot change, can leave us feeling impotent and depressed. We forget that accepting the things we cannot change is only 1/3 of the serenity prayer, not the whole idea.

It's a good first step, just like the first step of the 12 steps. But it's only the first step.

What is equally important is figuring out what we can change, and what we want. Those of us in recovery are pretty clear about what we don't want (what it was like). We aren't so clear on what we do want and that seems an important piece to me of sobriety, whatever we're recovering from.

What kind of relationships do we want with friends and family? What kind of work do we want to do to contribute to the well-being of the world? How do we want to express our creativity? How do we want to relate to our Higher Power?

These are things we can change. It may not be easy, it may take substantial time. But if we get stuck at acceptance, we run the risk of falling into resignation ("nothing I can do") instead of moving forward into change.

1 comment:

LC said...

Good--and helpful--point.