The hallmark of addiction recovery
If you look at a recovering person who for many years made a career out of drinking, overeating or caretaking, and noticed how relaxed and self-assured they seem to be?
This serene person has the God-given gift of serenity, probably a person’s most powerful tool for ongoing recovery.
What is Serenity?
Serenity may be described as a feeling of well-being. Serene people are unhurried, unharried, and unworried. They live in the here and now, not dwelling on the unhappiness of yesterday, not projecting unpleasant uncertainties into the future.
Serene people are characterised by hope, love, patience, faith, humility, and honesty, often praying and enjoying feelings of self-worth and euphoria. Life for them is simple and uncomplicated.
Serene people do not get boxed in by quotas, schedules, and deadlines. They try to meet them, but they don’t take the attitude that the world will come to an abrupt halt if they do not produce so much in such and such a time.
Serene people take the world as it comes. They are relaxed.
They participate in sports, either as spectators or as players; they read a lot; play some musical instrument; take courses at the local school or online; do volunteer work, and visit with friends.
They take ample time to engage in hobbies; go to museums, concerts, parks or beaches; travel, take long walks and observe the pleasant things. Serene people’s interests are as diverse as they want them to be, and they always find time for the things they want to do.
Serenity and Resentment
Without serenity, there is a fertile field for the growth of self-centeredness, resentment, depression, anxiety, despair, fear, anger, self-delusion, and withdrawal from society. Any one of these can drive a recovering person to relapse. But the two most dangerous conditions are self-centeredness and resentment.
Resentment destroys more addicts and co-dependents than anything else. Once planted, the seed grows and festers like a sore on the body. It is a constant irritant, diluting or diverting attention from more constructive or more pleasant thoughts and activities.
If left unresolved, it can be ruinous.
Alcoholics must learn to recognise resentments and make it a point to get rid of them, not to harbour or nurture them, lest they fester and get blown up out of proportion. It is helpful to seek help from their addiction therapist or fellowship sponsor for identifying and resolving resentments.
But dispelling resentments, addicts are taking the first step on the road to achieving a peaceful state of mind.
Without serenity, the chances are great that the person is driven back to the bottle while trying to manage the countless problems of living.
Prayer and Meditation
How, then, do alcoholics achieve serenity? Does it come upon them all of a sudden? No way! They have to work for it consciously. They have to condition their minds to it. And the best way of doing that is through prayer and meditation.
Many people are self-conscious about praying. The macho or rational man may relegate it to weaker persons, but let the danger threaten him, and he will inadvertently say, “God, please help me.” Many people who pray ask their God for material things, or possibly out of fear, for forgiveness for their wrongdoings.
Prayer may be formal and prescribed, as in public worship, or purely personal, free, and spontaneous. The true purpose of prayer is to establish a close relationship with a Higher Power.
Meditation? There is nothing mystical about it. It need not follow a prescribed pattern. It does not require any props or preparation.
Meditation (or Mindfulness) can be practised on a bus, while doing housework, waiting for a plane, or waiting in line for anything.
There are many apps to help you learn Mindfulness or you can enroll in a local class.
Prayer is speaking to God, while meditation is listening to Him.