God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

I roughly remember the first time I heard these words. It was one of the many nights I was up late with mom, waiting for dad to get home. She was up wondering where he was, what he was doing, if he was ok. I was up worried about her, wishing things could be different so she could relax and not be upset. I hated seeing her upset. I didn’t really realize what was going on with him, but she did. I don’t think she wanted us to know at first, but it was hard not to notice.

That night, she repeated these words, over and over, like a soothing breath. The words seemed almost in a different language to me as I tried to comprehend what they meant. Individually the words are simple, but together the meaning is very deep and strong.

I heard them only attached to moments that indicated addiction. I never thought the words to be something to enjoy and share. I considered them to be private, and was embarrassed to say them aloud. I didn’t want anyone to know what was going on in my life, and I felt that if I said them aloud people would immediately see me differently. I started to hate the words.

Time has passed and I’m not sure what changed my heart towards these words. Perhaps I figured out that my hatred of the words was a cover of hating the disease, or perhaps I’ve just grown to accept it. Maybe it’s because I finally listened to the words, instead of just saying them. Whatever changed my mind, I’m glad.

Today, these words help me almost daily. When I feel overwhelmed, stressed, nervous, or upset I turn to these words. They help tone down my anxieties and it doesn’t matter where I am or what I’m doing, I can say them. I may not like how I found these words, but I’m glad I did.



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