“How’s the serenity?”**

August 6, 2013 § Leave a comment

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.*

This is of course the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) serenity prayer. It’s been a valuable thing for me to have in my tool kit during recent attempts to reduce my alcohol consumption.

I’m neither religious, nor am I connected with AA, but I’ve left references to God in here. I hope it doesn’t make any atheists (or temporarily abstaining folks for that matter) feel uncomfortable.

In his recent book “Religion for Atheists”, Alain de Botton says of this secular age that we shouldn’t “throw out the baby with the bathwater”. He essentially says that cherry picking the good and useful aspects of religion is perfectly legitimate.

A sense of community helps drive Hello Sunday Morning (HSM). This is an online group where people support each other in “taking a step back” ie reviewing and moderating their alcohol consumption. Of course there’s still no substitute for face to face contact with terrifically supportive fellow humans. I’m tremendously grateful to my friends, family and colleagues who’ve helped me on my quest to find my booze “off switch”.

So HSM is a temporary “secular” break from booze and AA is a permanent, somewhat religiously inclined one. They’re both cut from similar cloth, but I’ve found HSM to be a pragmatic approach to regaining control of one’s alcohol consumption through the use of a social media style forum in lieu of formal meetings, sponsors and religion.

I reckon Alain de Botton would love the concept of HSM…. I know! I’ll ask him!
His twitter handle is @alaindebotton

PS Here’s the original unabridged serenity prayer, attributed to Reinhold Niebuhr:

God, give me grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, Courage to change the things which should be changed, and the Wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.

Living one day at a time, Enjoying one moment at a time, Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace, Taking, as Jesus did, This sinful world as it is, Not as I would have it, Trusting that You will make all things right, If I surrender to Your will, So that I may be reasonably happy in this life, And supremely happy with You forever in the next.

Amen.*

*According to Wikipedia, the abridged AA serenity prayer is from a longer prayer, attributed to Reinhold Niebuhr, although it may have been “floating around for centuries”. In the latter stages of WWII (1944) it was included in a Federal Council of Churches (FCC) book for army’s chaplains and servicemen. After 5 years of bitter fighting and destruction, soldiers, their families and civilians would’ve definitely needed the solace these sentiments had to offer.

**And of course “How’s the serenity” is a quote from one of the most beloved Australian movies of all time, “The Castle”.

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