12 step recovery gets a bad rap. People usually judge the recovery folks unnecessarily. It’s unfortunate because that’s a great way to avoid your problems. If the message is, ‘I don’t have a problem with substances, therefore I don’t need recovery,’ you are setting yourself up as being better than those who are in recovery. That in itself at the very least is misguided. I’d even take it a step further and say that this is wrong. If you think you’re better than others, then you have just as serious a problem as a substance abuser.
12 step recovery groups have a stereotypical image
When I picture the stereotypical recovery scene, I see a dimly lit room with a small circle of chairs. At the far side of the room is a table with an old school coffee pot and powdered creamer and styrofoam cups. The coffee is hot, but acidic and bitter, no matter how much sugar is put in, the bad taste can’t be eradicated.
Meanwhile, the circle of chairs fills up with desperate people. The sadness in their eyes is plain to see and they are looking for a shred of hope, otherwise, it’s all over. Hope is lost and they will return to their addictions.
This group meets for an hour, each person pours out their story, and then at the end, recites a small part of the serenity prayer. ‘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.’ Then it’s over. Someone puts away the chairs and then the group disbands for the night.
Recovery is so much more than this bleak image. There are a myriad of methods and ways to work a recovery program, and it doesn’t have to be recovery from an alcohol or drug addiction. It’s true. You can recover from anything. It takes humility, surrender, daily commitment to change, and an open mind to be in recovery and to live a life with a recovery mindset.
A note on the Serenity Prayer
The Serenity Prayer is a beautiful and powerful selection that I truly believe is the guidebook for all of life’s problems. There is no situation that can’t be addressed by absorbing it. It signals hope and a new way.
The Serenity Prayer is direction to us to live a fulfilled life, guided by a Creator, who cares for us very much. All of these things can be undergirded by the Serenity Prayer. Here is the full version:
God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
As it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make things right
If I surrender to His Will;
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life
And supremely happy with Him
Forever and ever in the next.
Amen. – Reinhold Niebuhr
Love, Leslie – Stay in touch
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