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12 Step Serenity Prayer

What is the Serenity Prayer?

One of the things that help alcoholics and other addicts to recover from their addiction is the Serenity Prayer. If you have an addiction to alcohol or drugs, learning the Serenity Prayer could help you throughout your recovery process.

Defining the Serenity Prayer

The basic part of the Serenity Prayer, that is used the most, is this – “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.” The intention of this prayer is to bring faith, certainty, and peace into the hearts and minds of those who need support. When you say the prayer, you are asking your higher power to give you wisdom and guidance to accept what is in your life. You are also asking your higher power for the ability to manifest what is in your best interest.

Serenity Prayer Often Recited in 12-Step Meetings

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.

-Reinhold Niebuhr

Complete Serenity Prayer

Just above, you have read the basic part of the Serenity Prayer that is often used. You likely have seen that online or on household décor. If you are wondering what the entire Serenity Prayer is, read the following:

God, give us grace to accept with serenity

the things that cannot be changed,

Courage to change the things

which should be changed,

and the Wisdom to distinguish

the one from the other.

Living one day at a time,

Enjoying one moment at a time,

Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,

Taking, as Jesus did,

This sinful world as it is,

Not as I would have it,

Trusting that You will make all things right,

If I surrender to Your will,

So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,

And supremely happy with You forever in the next.

-Reinhold Niebuhr

If you are trying to overcome an addiction, it might be helpful to read the entire Serenity Prayer out loud or in your mind every morning or evening. Some recovering alcoholics recite this prayer every time they are having moderate to severe cravings.

How the Serenity Prayer Helps

Whether you are still living an alcoholic lifestyle or you are in recovery, the Serenity Prayer could be beneficial for you. This is a prayer that has helped addicts and recovering addicts for many years. For a lot of people, it is one of the foundations for a successful recovery. There are many ways that the Serenity Prayer can help you including:

  • Deciding what is worth being upset over
  • Deciding what is in your control and what is out of your control
  • Reminding yourself that we can’t control what others do or how they react
  • Reminding yourself that you can’t predict what the future will hold

These are just some of the many ways that the Serenity Prayer can help you to get clean and sober and stay that way.


If you are hoping to get sober, stay sober, or work through your recovery, the Serenity Prayer can be beneficial. Now that you know what the Serenity Prayer is, you can repeat it to yourself when you need or want to do so. You may even want to hang up a sign in your house or workplace that has the Serenity Prayer on it, as well.

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