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Tuesday, May 6, 2014


SERENITY—Finding inner peace is perhaps the oldest human endeavor akin to discovering wisdom, love and insight.  The defining words of the popular Serenity Prayer (author unknown, at least to this blog) are rooted in several languages and cultures.

The prayer reminds us to be calm.

My take is it has taught me—a secularist—to focus on the aspects of life that I can control thus allowing me the time and energy to spend on the “things and stuff” that I cannot control.

Mine was a world filled with fret until I realized my romance with alcohol was at the root of so many financial problems.

Thanks to a loving wife and a close circle of friends, who channeled me into rehab programs run by M.D.s, I stopped drinking alcohol in any form on October 31, 1986.

As the years of sobriety add on, I still fret--but my list of worries include whether or not my grandson will make the varsity high school team next year or how much travel can we plan on now and in the future.

The loving wife remains a rock in my life, but we do not know what health issues will come our way tomorrow?  But, we have made plans for eventual hospital care so our children will not have to divert monies from their family plans.

We can’t control future health but we can control future care.

We do it calmly and with an earned sense of serenity.

And, to use another of life’s clichés—we do it one day at a time.

Does that make us smarter?   Not really.  It just makes us a grateful couple for living in a country that provides us so many options to plan ahead. 

PS:  I am asked how I remain sober up to this moment.  At the insistence of close friends and doctors I entered a six week rehab program led by a major hospital.

Upon leaving the rehab program, my wife strongly suggested I began seeing an independent Mayo Clinic trained psychiatrist, who assisted me in exploring the reasons why I let alcohol abuse into my life. 

My participation in out patient rehab programs and my weekly meetings with an M.D. shrink, I came to understand the underlying stresses that led me to alcohol.

When the light went on, I was able to apologize to all those who I burdened by my past actions.  I did not dwell on seeking forgiveness instead I focused on showing people I was serious in my rehab.

More over, I promised my wife and infant son I would not drink alcohol for the rest of my life.

In keeping my promise to date I focused on living my life so I do not create stresses that lead me to alcohol.

Also, I made a deal with myself.  If I stopped drinking then I would not have to attend sobriety meetings.  I believe in sobriety programs at the group level, but my sobriety is dealt with on an individual basis one moment at a time.

I work every second to keep my promise.

I am fretful I might fail sobriety but I am calm and I have a deep trust that I will do the right thing.  I like who I am. 

I am at peace.

By Thomas Shess, Editor/Founder, Pillar to Post blog

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