I put myself to sleep at night reciting the Serenity Prayer over and over. I particularly need this version right now:
Grant me the Serenity
To accept the people I cannot change,
The courage to change the one I can,
And the wisdom to know it is me.
I wake up, and the despair hits me before I even roll out of bed. On the way to the bathroom I chant: “One foot in front of the other. Just put one foot in front of the other. Deal with one thing at a time. Don’t think about what comes next, just take care of what is in front of you now.” In the shower I say the Serenity Prayer a few more times (crazy how calming those 4 lines are) and talk to my Higher Power: “God, take my anger. Take my fear, my frustration, my disappointment. Take this situation. I can’t handle it; you can. It’s yours now.”
For the rest of the day I try to focus on the task in front of me. I try to pour all my concentration and thought into putting on my make-up, packing my lunch, driving my car, doing my job. I remind myself over and over that my priorities are: #1 Me. #2 My children. #3 My husband. When I find myself gnawing at my problems like a dog with an old bone I ask myself if I am focusing on my priorities? Is my worrying helping the situation right now? No? Then drop it. Focus on now, this moment. Is anything bad happening right now in this moment that I need to deal with? Nearly always the answer is no. So I tell myself “I can’t change the past, and the future is uncertain, so there is no point worrying about it. Things will happen as they happen, I have no control over them.”
In a way, I am blessed to be an alcoholic. Because my disease led me to AA, and AA is leading me to a way of dealing with life on life’s terms. It’s leading me to peace, serenity, acceptance, gratitude and joy. In these difficult, dark days I can use the tools of the program to survive. It’s still hard as hell, but I’m not drinking. I’m not contemplating suicide. I’m not screaming at my kids. I’m not hating on my husband. I’m not hiding from my problems. Today, despite it all, is a good day.