Serenity of Accepting Reality

Written by Tonja Bagwell

There are many not-so-good realities that are beyond a person’s power to do anything about. Some people may persist and actually find a solution that changes their reality. Others may persist and become frustrated as they cannot resolve issues or force things or people to change. The key is knowing when and how to persist and when to realize there may be no solution or a change is beyond your control.


Sometimes you have to let go, move on, ask others for help, or simply accept that you cannot change certain situations that have happened, are happening or are going to happen. You can begin to lose control and break down mentally and emotionally if you do not let go, move on, or accept things or people as they are. Accepting the reality that you are unable to change certain things or people is actually a powerful method of maintaining control over your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

Whether the reality of what has happened so far in 2017 is positive or negative, things may or may not be within your control. Often, you cannot choose the reality around you. However, you can choose how you will think, feel and respond to that reality. Choosing to think, feel and respond positively when you may have had not-so-good experiences might come easy for some and not so easy for others.

Your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are within your control. Mind-altering substances like alcohol can rob you of that control. When your brain has been negatively affected by toxic substances, your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors become unpredictable and dangerous. Relinquishing your power to a substance that can wreak havoc almost guarantees a not-so-pleasant reality or existence. A positive reality is that you can learn how to maintain control over your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors by utilizing the 6-A Model and other resourceful information found in the 6-A Model of Alcohol Abuse in Offenders.       

Most people want the power to make everything good and resolve all of their problems. Some people want to solve other people’s problems, including those that affect the world. Superheroes like Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, or Iron Man are unreal characters with super powers that allow them to solve problems and make changes. Alcohol is not a superhero, but some alcohol abusers seem to think alcohol has super powers. Realistically, some people’s problems begin after they relinquish the power over their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors to alcohol.

The mind-altering effects of alcohol can make intoxicated people think unrealistically about their abilities to do things. This is probably why AA chose the condensed form of the Serenity Prayer (see above) as an inspirational anchor. Since Alcoholics Anonymous incorporated this prayer into their teachings, it has been associated with AA and recovery. This prayer was written by H. Reinhold Niebuhr and is relevant for anyone, regardless of any affiliation they may or may not have with alcohol or AA.

I think the original and full versions of the Serenity Prayer are very poetic. If you are really into the Serenity Prayer and enjoy reading, you may be interested in The Serenity Prayer: Faith and Politics in Times of Peace and War authored by H. Reinhold Niebuhr’s daughter, Elisabeth Sifton.

Questions & Thoughts to Ponder:

  1. Is it difficult for you to accept, move on or let go of situations you cannot change?
  2. Do you think you have the courage to make changes or the wisdom to know when things are beyond your control?
  3. Have you used alcohol to calm frustrations you felt about being unable to change people or situations?


I’m interested in reading your answers to the Questions & Thoughts to Ponder. Please leave comments about this article and other articles posted on Bagwell’s Book Blog. Don’t forget to subscribe and/or follow me.

Copyright ©️ 2016 by Tonja Bagwell. All Rights Reserved.

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