Every session, meeting or activity at Hope Trust starts and ends with the Serenity Prayer - a call to each addict’s Higher Power, asking their Higher Power to provide the alcoholic or drug addict with serenity, courage and wisdom. As the group holds hands in a circle, they are connecting with each other, and attempting to connect with an entity greater than themselves.
God, grant us the Serenity to accept the things we cannot change,
Courage to change the things we can, and
The Wisdom to know the difference.
‘God’ or Higher Power
The controversial part of this prayer is the reference to the word ‘God’. While the prayer was initially written referring to a specific entity, the Serenity Prayer can work for atheists, agnostics and believers alike. The prayer simply calls towards a power greater than oneself that will help the alcoholic or drug addict through the path of recovery.
This concept of a Higher Power is a very important one in addiction and recovery. Addiction is characterized by a person’s desire to control, which only leads to him or her losing control completely. In order to go down the path to recovery, addicts must hand control over to somebody else - someone or something more powerful than themselves. This could be God, an object, idea or a person.
In fact, many addicts and alcoholics are asked to interpret their Higher Power in terms of GOD - Good Orderly Direction. This is an interpretation that enables addicts’ Higher Powers to lead them through the journey of recovery and reconnection with spirituality. It exemplifies discipline and honesty.
Gaining serenity for sobriety
The main objective of the prayer is to gain serenity, which is a state of being where one feels calm and tranquil. In this state, the addict will be able to go through life’s obstacles without suffering an emotional relapse. It’s a sense of inner peace that external situations don’t affect. When addicts gain serenity, they don’t need drinks or drugs to calm themselves because they’re already in a state of unaffected tranquility even in the face of adversity.
Serenity through wisdom
The serenity prayer places emphasis on wisdom - knowing the difference between things within the addict’s or alcoholic’s control, and the things that aren’t. Addicts are asked to look deep within themselves and assess their abilities, while simultaneously gauging the nature of what happens in the outside world. When they realize that they cannot change certain things, they must not avoid thinking of it, or become complacent about it; they need to embark on the long and harsh journey of acceptance.
Serenity through acceptance
Acceptance is a monumental task. It is difficult to accept that you have a problem, and even more difficult to accept that you can’t do anything about it. When you accept a problem and realize you can change it, actually going about the process of change can be frightening. Asking for courage is a way of admitting to your Higher Power that you are scared, and that you need a source to draw courage from. Recovery is all about transferring control from addicts to their Higher Power, so the addicts can draw courage, strength, serenity and wisdom from them, and go through the turmoil of generating strength that they don’t intrinsically possess.
Serenity through honesty
Hope Trust is an organization that places great emphasis on honesty, which is a pre-requisite of the serenity prayer. Hope Trust enables addicts to draw strength from something greater themselves, and aims to be an institution that provides the tools for them to connect with this Power. Hope Trust helps alcoholics and drug addicts implement the ideas of the serenity prayer, and helps clients use the tools they gain from their Higher Power.