Acceptance and Serenity

Almost every 12 step meeting regardless of fellowship will begin or end with the serenity prayer, which says, “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

At a topic meeting recently, the chairperson of the group had chosen to qualify on acceptance and serenity. After he finished sharing, he opened up the meeting for others to share.  Towards the end of the meeting, one fellow rhetorically asked, “Do you want to know the difference between acceptance and serenity?”

“Acceptance is when you are standing on the 10 item express line at the supermarket where the person in front of you has 13 items and you don’t say anything to them.

And serenity…….Serenity is when you are on the same line and you don’t even count how many items he has in his basket.”

Many of us have mastered moments of acceptance,where instead of blurting out a criticism or a disagreement we exercise self-control over our speech muscles. Yet one often still senses a degree of agitation which percolates along with our self-control.

To come to a place where we no longer even “count” is a much more rarefied spiritual state. 

You can determine if you are in acceptance or in serenity by examining if there is any “counting” chatter in your head the next time you are presented with a challenging situation.

Personal Reflection: Have I gone beyond acceptance and moved towards serenity in my life?


AA (NA, OA et. al.) Has No Fixed Address; You Can Take It With You

One of the joys of the program is that meetings are available in almost every city, village and hamlet of the world. Whether you’re taking an exotic cruise, exploring the French countryside or are visiting relatives in South America; a meeting is usually not far away. Quite often, there are English-speaking meetings in far off places. Sometimes of course there are not. Yet when we sit in a meeting conducted in a foreign language, we still feel very much at home. We recognize the serenity prayer and the Twelve Steps, regardless of the language. More importantly we feel the sense of kinship from our brothers and sisters in 12 step rooms across the world.

On a deeper level, the program has no fixed address because it resides in each and everyone one of us. As members of the program, we carry the message wherever we go. We are taking it with us of course by maintaining our sobriety. It is also taken with us when we conduct ourselves with emotional sobriety. We tap into our Higher Power wherever we are found; for G-d is certainly not limited by physical boundary.

Personal Reflection: How do you take the program with you?