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The by product of recovery

By Warren Vinciguerra

Warren Vinciguerra on serenity

Serenity is the state of mind that comes from a surrendering of the will, letting go of the daily fight with circumstances and accepting life on life’s terms. A big part of working with alcoholics and addicts is giving them the tools and techniques to ease their sense of irritability and discontent and to start to experience serenity.

There's a saying in 12-Step recovery, it goes like this:

Grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

Courage to change the things I can,

And wisdom to know the difference.

In meetings you will hear it said at the end – leaving people with the message to let go, relax and let life happen rather than forcing it to bend to your will. As a recovering addict myself I know only too well what living on self-will is like.

I was angry at life – I believed the world owed me a living and that everything was unfair. I used all my energy on negative, destructive thoughts. To me, everyone else had more than me, and I wanted my share. More than my fair share. Too much was never enough.

In recovery I began to accept that it’s ok to have a lot, and it’s also ok to have nothing. I saw men and women who had it all – money, success, status – but just like me, they railed against life. They never had enough. I also saw people who had very little, yet they were relaxed, happy and calm – they had serenity. You can be rich or poor because if you have peace of mind you’re the same inside.

Through the recovery process I learned there’s no problem or issue or that can’t be worked through. I’ve had bad times, good times and mediocre times – but thanks to recovery I haven’t had to seek excitement when times are dull, or find solace in drink or drugs when times have been bad. I’ve accepted the ebb and flow of life and have experienced the long-awaited, hard-won gift of recovery -  pure, 100% natural  - serenity.