Wishing you serenity in the new year

Wishing you serenity in the new year

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.

When I first heard it, the words barely registered.

It was at an anniversary celebration for Pathways, the alcohol and substance use treatment center where I served on the board for many years.

The Serenity Prayer was stamped on a plastic token given to guests as they left the ceremony. Mine lay in the back of a desk drawer for years, lost among card holders, key chains, magnets and other detritus collected over years of managing – and attending – such events.

When Pathways opened, Jacob was a toddler. Never did I imagine that one day he would be a patient there, let alone show signs of addiction before his junior year in high school

There were signs I failed or refused to see, until I no longer could.

Years of madness followed. I tried everything to “cure” my son. There were contracts I made him sign and counseling I forced him to attend,

But I couldn’t control his addiction.

At my first Al-Anon meeting, the small gathering of men and women began by saying the Serenity Prayer. Their eyes closed, they intoned the same words that had been printed on that long-lost token.

Now, the words resonated.

Repeating the Serenity Prayer at meetings and in stark moments desperate to do something – anything – to change Jacob’s life, I soon realized the only person I could change was myself.

In this new year, when our family will celebrate 11 years of Jacob’s sobriety, I will pray for the wisdom to know what I can and cannot change….

… and be grateful for the peace it brings.


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