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Grapevine : July 2011
aagrapevine.org 29 a dramatic spiritual experi- ence? Would I go to sleep that night and wake up the next morning as a totally di erent person? I wondered how much changing I needed to do or, in fact, wanted to do. Did the Seventh Step meanIhadtobeasaint from this moment on? I didn't understand the process and, to be honest, I still don't. But I have learned to trust in it. It's a gradual process that, at times, includes growing pains, but becomes a palatable process, once I become willing to experi- ence my feelings, instead of denying or wanting to escape from them. A er working on this Seventh Step for a while, I realized it hadn't turned meintoashellora nonentity, it allowed me to realize my full potential as a human being. It also helped me to be grateful for my positive qualities. My idiosyncrasies become more bearable and, to a certain extent, acceptable. For me, the Seren- ity Prayer really captures what this Seventh Step is all about: "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 di er- ence." I have o en used this prayer as a guide to understanding how the Seventh Step can work in my life, and remind me that my Higher Power is the source of my serenity, courage and wisdom. e Serenity Prayer enables me to accept myself asIam,withallofmy strengths and limitations. is is, essentially, the first part of the Serenity Prayer, as I understand it. e Serenity Prayer teaches me to "accept the things that I cannot change." Once I became aware that I was power- less to remove my own shortcomings, I needed to turn them over and stop trying to control, manage, and change things myself. When I was first introduced to this prayer, I thought all I needed to do was turn all my issues and problems over to God, without any e ort on my part, and they would be removed. Sayings and slogans such as "Turn it Over" and "Let Go and Let God" translated into my believing I didn't need to do any footwork. is is not what the Serenity Prayer is about. e next part asks for the "Cour- age to change the things I can." I need courage to do the things that are within my ability. I need to identify my responsi- bilities and meet them wherever and whenever possible. I also need to do certain things to maintain my recovery, such as go to meetings, share with other recovering people, work the Steps, read the literature, etc. e last part of the Serenity Prayer is the most di cult, " e wisdom to know the di erence." HowdoIknowwhenIam Would my Higher Power descend upon me and, in one miraculous swoop, remove all my defect and shortcomings? What would happen to me then?