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An Addicts Prayer

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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.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
As it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
If I surrender to His Will;
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life
And supremely happy with Him
Forever and ever in the next.
Or Just for Today

This is what is known today as the serenity payer, or more commonly the payer of addicts. Though my family and I are not overly religious I have seen this payer many times in my life, on the dash of my mom’s car, and in the glove box of my fathers or on the mantel next to family pictures at my grandparents house. I have seen this page flagged in a book, on a shelf in the upstairs of my house. When I was younger I would walk past this book everyday never really looking at it, it was always there. Then one day, I saw it on my dining room table, Narcotics Anonyms was written in big letters across the top, the next day I heard my dad mummer that same prayer while getting ready for work, which was when these words fully had an effect on my life.

I come from a long line of a family of addicts, with Irish, Polish and Indian heritage, addiction sadly comes as a natural instinct for many members of my family. I have heard the stories from my grandparents about their siblings, about how one drink at a young age had them hooked for life. I have read books about people who have been addicts and how once they started it was hard to stop. And I have seen my father, a man who seemed to have it put at together at one point in is life, to being a 250 pound man murmuring the prayer for serenity and crying over the phone to his sponsor saying he can’t believe he let it happen again, a memory from my fifth year of life that still haunts me to this day. I have seen the results of addiction, and how it rears it’s ugly head, making victims of innocent bystanders. I have seen a family go to a picture perfect family of four to a mother who cries all the time, a father who is ashamed to look his children in the face, a son who just wants his daddy to come back home, and a daughter lost and confused, and not knowing what is to come.

I spent many months having trouble communicating with my father, mostly out of lack of effort more than anything. I did not want to talk to the man who I have seen ruin people’s lives along with his own. At first I felt wrath, so much it made my head hurt, then sadness came, how could this happen? And then a realization, my father is only a person. A person with weakness, an imperfect person who makes mistakes, and how was I being any better of a person by not allowing him to explain himself or ask for my forgiveness. I have often seen my mother dealing with the same dilemma, most of my life, along with my grandparents and now, I see this same deliberation in the eyes of my brother. A child who was once ignorant to the world around him has now heard this same prayer that I mentioned before, and sees it every morning in the same places, on the dash of my mothers car or in the glove box of my fathers. He is no longer just asking for his father back the man he once knew and looked up to, he is now asking for his family back, for this wretched thing that has taken a hold of everything he once held dear to let go.

I have seen the stress addiction can put on a family and the pain it puts every person through. I have seen the bills pile up and tumble over, I have seen the tears and the pain that it puts family members through. And I have seen the book, with the page folded back on the bookshelf in the upstairs of my house, now with more creases in it and tear stains on the pages, many of which are my own. And I have heard and read the prayer many times often while my parents are getting ready for work or preparing for their day, and though not overly religious I have to remember the words myself, 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. For it is the one thing I can hold on to.





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xxcrystalfirexx said...
Jun. 13, 2011 at 2:32 pm

i know how you feel. my mom and dad were addicits. i have memorized the serienty prayer. i havent seen my dad sience i was 2.

i have been to a NA meetings and i have heard peoples stories. The closest thing i had to a dad in my life was my uncle. i never had the experience of my dad teaching me to ride a bike i had to teach myself when i was 8. this is my life

 

 
Ms.Thomas said...
Apr. 17, 2010 at 8:52 pm
Ali, your work is awesome. I commend your level of vulerability in order to truly express yourself without restrictions. Continue to move in the ways that the Lord has allowed you to move and you will continue to flourish!! Love ya, Ms. Thomas...
 
Maddieeeern said...
Apr. 15, 2010 at 8:39 pm
good writing ali! keep it up!
 
Miss.Gianna said...
Apr. 15, 2010 at 7:46 pm

Wow, it's so ironic because this is exactly what me & my family has gone through so many times. The only difference is, my dad doesnt to Narcotics anonymous, he goes to Alcoholics Anonymous; although he's also a drug addict.

Great writing, and I totally understand what you're going through.

 
Anise said...
Apr. 15, 2010 at 9:42 am
Ali, you ROCK! The depth with which you dealt with the topic was truly moving and wise.  Your vulnerability made this piece so inspiring.  Keep writing.  Please.
 
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