The Science Behind the Serenity Prayer

The Huffington Post:

“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.”

These are the first lines of what’s known as the Serenity Prayer, which is well-known to many recovering alcoholics. It’s often recited in the rooms of AA as a reminder of the core principle of successful sobriety: Acceptance of the reality that for addicts, nothing but absolute, lifelong abstinence will lead to healthy and lasting recovery.

As simple as that message is, it’s very difficult for many alcoholics to embrace, at least at first. Most resist the finality of an absolute prohibition, hoping and looking instead for half measures and temporary fixes to the problem — or putting off abstinence for another day. These lukewarm efforts often end in relapse.

So what’s actually going on in the mind of an alcoholic as he or she goes through the process of recovery? What are the cognitive mechanics underlying the initial, angry rebelliousness and, later, the genuine commitment to a sober life?

Read the whole story: The Huffington Post

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