Every time we met, my sponsor insisted that we begin and end with the Serenity Prayer. After one of our meetings, I thought about what it really meant to change the things we can. That moment led to lasting clarity on the power of the recovery.
Sitting with this idea that I can change certain things, I pondered what I actually had power over. I immediately ruled out my thinking, as my first thoughts still aren’t pretty at times. With that out of the way, it became clear that my ability to assert power was limited to just a few things— my choices, my actions, and my words. Over those, I realized, I do have real power. I remember the relief I felt in getting clear on that. Those are things I can definitely manage.
Years later, I also came to believe that I have power over my attitude. However, I’ve chosen not to add that to my original simple list of three things. Why? Because my attitude is a result of my choices.
How I choose to take care of myself, what I elect to do, and the words I decide to say all impact my outlook. The words I choose, in particular, affect how I view my place in the world. Especially those I tell myself. Whether said out loud or in my head, what I say has a direct impact over how I see things around me. Words that promote a dire perspective steer me towards a negative attitude. Self-talk or speech that is positive moves me in a beneficial direction.
I am powerless over many, many things…But that does not make me a victim.
Quite the opposite.
Understanding the nature of my disease and how it limits my power has given me true power: the power to stay sober when I do the next right thing. Having just three things to focus on—choices, actions, and words—has made it easier to know how to choose what is right for me. That’s one of the everlasting benefits of being an addict in recovery. My life boils down to a set of simple choices for how to live one moment at a time.
— Scott W., Tampa Bay, FL
© May/June, 2022. The Augustine Fellowship, S.L.A.A., Fellowship-Wide Services, Inc. All Rights Reserved. the Journal. Issue #196