"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." —Reinhold Niebuhr

I have said the Serenity Prayer hundreds of times in recovery. Some may even think this statement has become a cliché. In the rooms we recite this prayer after each meeting until it becomes almost repetitive and futile. We can get so wrapped up in circumstances of life, and become bogged down when we are unable to find a solution for a particular issue or the actions of others. That desire to control situations we are not meant to control can lead to a lot of frustration, discouragement, or even resentment. One day it clicked and I realized how life changing these words truly are.

I was saying the Serenity Prayer one day. “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change…” I began to ponder those words. How can I be more accepting of things I don’t have the power to change? Then I said the next portion. “The courage to change the things I can…” I asked myself the question, what can I change? I can’t change situations and I definitely can’t change people. That was when the miracle happened for me, everything became so clear.

The only thing I can change is myself and how I react to others and situations. Something so obvious evaded me for so long and I now had the answers I was searching for. My breakthrough had finally come and I was on the road to freedom from the incarceration of my emotions. “The wisdom to know the difference” has come from this realization.

Cara Horvath

Cara is a peer support specialist in North Carolina. She has been in recovery since 2014 and she believes her life’s purpose is to share her experience, strength, and hope with those who struggle with addiction and mental health, and be an example of how others can change their life if they don’t give up.