Tag Archives: serenity prayer

Welcome to Fantasy Island

12 Mar

 

Do you remember the television show “Fantasy Island?” A white-suit-clad Ricardo Montalban and his trusty sidekick,Tattoo, greeted a planeload of guests at the beginning of each episode. They came to the island to live out their fantasies. I was recently reminded of this show as someone pointed out to me that I may be trying to live in a fantasy world of my own these days.

Let’s face it. The real world is tough. Really tough. Who doesn’t want an escape occasionally? For me, the escape used to come from the bottle. So now that there’s no bottle, what is my escape? Those of us with addictive personalities usually find something to replace whatever it is that we are addicted to. Some people start smoking. Some become exercise fiends. Some turn to Ben and Jerry’s, candy and other sugary treats. Some find vices that are even worse.

But at the end of the day, the real world is still there. We may think the grass is greener somewhere else or in a different situation. But when we are sober and present in our lives, we are able to use the tools we have to make the best of the reality. I’d rather feel the ups and downs than be completely numb.

Drinking was like a mini-vacation to fantasy island. It was an escape from reality but it often ended in a nightmare. Blackouts, massive hangovers, throwing up, bad decisions, etc. Whether we wanted to or not, somehow we were always on the return plane. We woke up. We got over our hangovers with either just time or with the hair of the dog. The real world was always still there when we came back.

One thing that helps me deal with the real world now is the serenity prayer, which I try to remember to use often. “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” The fact is, in the real world, the majority of things we think we have control over are things we cannot change. Just pause to think about that when you are in a troubling situation. If it isn’t something you can control, turn it over. Let it go. Leave it to your higher power to handle.

For the things we can change, sometimes we do indeed need the courage to take the necessary steps to do so. Change can be very difficult, especially for those who take comfort in the status quo. Taking bold steps to make necessary changes is hard. Being sober is a huge change. It takes strength and courage to put the bottle down and figure out a new way to escape reality when need be. A healthy way. But for now, I’m signing off to have some Cherry Garcia. Stay strong.

“If one is lucky, a solitary fantasy can totally transform one million realities.” – Maya Angelou

 

 

 

 

Sobriety in Jeopardy

14 Mar

Sometimes sobriety sucks.

Please remember to respond in the form of a question.

Oh, ok. What is sometimes sobriety sucks?

I’ll take Everyday Battles for $400 please, Alex.

Answer: This term is used to describe 5pm on Friday.

Question: What is Suckfest?

You are correct.

Let’s take a moment to meet our players. Joe Q. is a seventh grade history teacher from Springfield, Illinois. He’s got an interesting story to tell us about his cats.

“Yes, thanks Alex. Well, one time, my cats, Sam and Mr. Mittens, were looking out the window and saw me coming home from work….”

That’s fascinating. On to our next contestant. Sarah W. Sarah, that’s an interesting shawl you’re wearing. Do you want to tell us about it? 

No.

Alrighty then. Our final contestant, Mike S., is celebrating 25 years of sobriety. Can you tell us your secret to staying sober Mike?

Well, Alex, I refrain from drinking.

Excellent advice Mike. Thanks for sharing.

Now back to the game. Mike, you control the board.

Actually Alex, I’m powerless over the board. I’m first-stepping the board.

What the hell does that mean Mike? 

It means that I am admitting I am powerless over the board and that my life has become unmanageable because of the board.

Mike, we’re talking about a game show here. You have control over what category you choose.

Do I really have control Alex? Or do I just have a daily reprieve? Can I actually change the board? Do I have the courage to change the board? Remember Alex: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Ok, Mike, well I have the wisdom to move on to Sarah. Sarah, please pick our next clue.

I’d like to buy a vowel.

Wrong gameshow, Sarah.

O sorry. I’ll take Codependency for $600 please Alex.

Ok, here’s our clue:
Pleasing others and giving up yourself

I think that the answer is what is a sign of codependency? Do you think so Alex, I mean, I think that’s what it is if that’s what you think it is. I’m not sure. But if you think I should guess that then I will. Do you want me to guess that Alex?

Correct. Pick again.

I’ll take Trite AA Slogans for $800 please.

Ok. And that’s a Daily Double. What would you like to do?

I’ll make it a true Daily Double Alex. I don’t know what that really means, as opposed to a false Daily Double, but I always wanted to say it.

Um, great Sarah. You’re betting everything you have then. Ok. Here’e the clue:
This common AA saying rhymes with “Run Way Bat a Dime”

What is First Thing’s First?

Um, No. Mike? Joe? …….. Do either of you want to take a guess?

What is Easy Does It?

Holy cow, what is wrong with you people??? A saying that rhymes with Run Way Bat a Dime? 
One Day At a Time??? Sound familiar??

Don’t judge, just love Alex.

Let’s go to a commercial break…..so I can have a freaking drink.

“Our life is a game, the rules of which are unknown to us.” — Kierkegaard

Sharing the Light

10 Jan

“And when you want to live, how do you start, where do you go, who do you need to know?” – The Smiths, The Boy with the Thorn in His Side.

As you may have noticed by now, I’m very fond of quotes. I usually include at least one with every blog piece. My philosophy is: why not share the brilliant words of others instead of struggling to find a way to say it (less eloquently) myself? I also like to call it “sharing the light”. Some of the best quotes and pearls of wisdom I hear are in meetings. And many of them are said by people who are quoting someone else, or sharing the light. Sometimes I hear the same platitude or trite saying again and again, but for some reason, one particular time, it finally gets through my thick skull. For alcoholics, there are many. But as you can see, they can apply to a myriad of situations, self-helpers and, especially, serenity seekers:

-one day at a time
-let go and let God
-change I must or die I will
-do the next right thing
-but for the grace of God
-the best is yet to come
-turn it over
-keep an attitude of gratitude
-get rid of the stinkin’ thinkin’

But the best by far is the Serenity Prayer. If we can just remember that, things would be much easier. For everyone. Not just alcoholics or addicts. Everyone. When times are tough and things aren’t going your way, simply remember this:

God, grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can
And the wisdom to know the difference.

Really think about that. If we learn to accept the things we cannot change, we would take away a huge chunk of unnecessary worry and stress. Courage is something we could all use, especially courage to take control of situations where we have the ability to make things better. And wisdom, well that goes without saying. But wisdom to know the difference isn’t always easy to come by.

Working toward sobriety and a better life, and changing old destructive ways, IS something I have the ability to control. The disease of alcoholism I cannot change. It’s there. I didn’t ask for it but it’s there. And it’s there for good. I accept that. The courage to change how I deal with it and fight it is something I continue to pray for. The wisdom to know the difference comes from those who share the light with me, and of course, from my Higher Power (HP).

As for my Smiths quote above, “when you want to live, how do you start, where do you go, who do you need to know?”—-I loved the Smiths in high school and college. I still do. Many of Morrissey’s morbid and depressing lyrics (like “sweetness I was only joking when I said I’d like to smash every tooth in your head” and “if a ten-ton truck, killed the both of us, to die by your side, well the pleasure, the privilege is mine”) used to blast from my car radio. They fit in perfectly with my teenage angst and misery of the time. But the quote above always gave me hope. I think it is honestly something that I asked myself deep down many times when I was struggling to crawl out of the terrible dark hole I was in. Now that I have the clarity of my sobriety, I can answer those questions. When you want to live, you start by simply making that choice. That you want to LIVE. In a twelve-step program, that’s always the first step. Where do you go and who do you need to know? Also simple. You need to know where to find those who share the light with you and those who care. You need to know and establish a strong connection to your HP. You need to remember the serenity prayer.

And, that some girls are bigger than others…… (Smiths).

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