Changing the Serenity Prayer

When I say The Serenity Prayer at the end of a meeting, I feel finished. I feel like I have done what I came to get done ‘in the rooms’ which if I got one thing out of my 12-Step program meeting then I am one more day smarter and sober. The history of the Serenity Prayer is kind of interesting. I did some research and of course, it didn’t come without some controversy on it’s origin. You can read all about it here.

Now here is the serenity prayer as it was transformed into the version we use today:

GOD, grant me the SERENITY

to ACCEPT the things I CANNOT change;

COURAGE to change the THINGS I can;

AND the WISDOM to know the DIFFERENCE.



Where did I bump into this you might ask? Well, I was meeting with my sponsor at a coffee shop that I LOVE and I saw this in the bathroom. Usually, these things don’t bother me because well hey  alcoholics like us know all about alcohol jokes. Out desperation for all things addictive and in that one sign; we have COFFEE and WINE. But, let’s be a bit of an alarmist on this – let’s play! I got offended. I got melancholy. I felt cheated by the lack of human sensitivity that exists. Some brainiac that clearly has never known someone afflicted by addiction, created that – OR someone deeply active in alcoholism; but to each there own right?

The Serenity Prayer itself (now that we know it’s history) wouldn’t be as infamous as it was unless it wasn’t adopted by AA. Like many things associated to AA and it’s origins; the serenity prayer ties it all together for the overall program. Some groups do say Our Father prayer at the end of meetings; not a fan myself BUT the Serenity Prayer sums up our desires and fears and collapses them into something that makes sense. It is almost a mantra more than a prayer. “Give me the WISDOM to know the difference” Say that over and over. Something might happen.

So, what bothers me the MOST about this sign? It is slapping the face of alcoholics with indifference. What if I had just started in my recovery and had some bias against AA? What if I was turned off by the Serenity Prayer as being “cliche” without looking at its meaning . What is I were just looking for an excuse to relapse? This sign would have been it. In fact, I can here Jeff Foxworthy saying, “Hi Jen, Here is your sign.” Believe me. I would have been, YES! I cannot ACCEPT anything so give me back the WINE bitches!

The sign defiles something spiritual and sacred to those in AA. If it had said something cutesy other than a reference to alcohol I wouldn’t have been contemplating it all; but tying alcohol to the Serenity Prayer just doesn’t make sense to me. Regardless, it exists. As recovering alcoholics, we now look to ourselves to not try to make sense of the stupid and just move on. No reason to dwell. No need for another Facebook meme. I will tell you this however, if I ever did run into this sign at a friends house; a B & E might be in order.



Author: jenA.

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