“While in the throes of tension, anxiety, or insistent sexual urges, some find it helpful to recite [the Serenity Prayer] over and over.”
Tools of Recovery, page 17
I became a meditator years before I got sober. I studied with disciples and practitioners, went on silent retreats and vision quests, and sat in zendos, ashrams, and sweat lodges. All the while, I acted out.
I used meditation to escape anxiety and blot out the fact that I wasn’t happy with my life or comfortable in my skin. Once, sitting before an acknowledged master, I was told, “You are trying too hard, sitting too tight in the saddle.” I didn’t know what to do with this, but I felt it was true. It wasn’t until I hit bottom that the path was cleared for my discovery of SAA.
When I came to the rooms and was surrounded by fellow sufferers, I was ready to learn and use the Serenity Prayer. There were times in early sobriety when I was in such pain that I struggled to remember the words. There were times when I said the prayer dozens of times in a row just to exorcise the fear and unfamiliarity of living as a known entity, a recovering addict, for the first time in my life. But the prayer has a context. The fellowship of other addicts, and saying it together, give it a power and meaning beyond my wildest dreams. Now, almost twelve years later, the power of serenity is a constant in my life.
God, grant me serenity.