“We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace” (Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, pages 83-84). Serenity is defined as being in a state of calm, peacefulness and untroubled. Peace can be defined as absence of conflict and freedom from disturbance. Sounds too good to be true? We think not. After coming into a treatment program and doing some 12 Step work these things just seem to happen to us.
Our minds are no longer chaos machines and we are able to breathe a fresh breath of this serenity. While in our addiction, chaos and dilemmas become normal for us. One may say that in a sense that we become addicted to these things. I have seen addicts who were just learning to be serene stir up some chaos for themselves! They are so used to living in this heightened state of anxiety, that when it is removed, they don’t know how to accept the new calm state of mind. Yes, it does take some adjusting for us to live in peace and serenity.
At this point in our recovery, I can think of no better task to be working on, aside from adjusting to this new calm state of mind. We begin to appreciate the little things in life. We may be actually able to sit still and watch a whole movie. We may appreciate our home and its surroundings (if we still have one). It may seem banal or trite but we come to appreciate the sunset and the flowers in our view. We may rediscover the taste of food and of fresh, clean laundry. We are able to return phone calls without being fearful. We enjoy the company of others especially of those who are also in recovery. We are learning how to interact with our life as a whole on a daily basis. New challenges are met with a calm mind instead of the old chaos machine. We can respond to situations rather than just reacting in a hurried manner.
Probably the most refreshing thing is to wake up sober, in our own clean bed to start a new day. This is nothing short of the miraculous for the newly sober alcoholic or addict. We don’t have to sit and ponder our behavior from the previous day. We don’t need to figure out what we did because we remember what we did. We don’t need to check our car for new dents or scratches from our previous night on the town.
Coffee is made and we sit down to do our morning prayer and meditation. We are deeply grateful for this new life that is being revealed to us. Yes, we have the wreckage from our past which needs to be cleaned up but if we are working the Steps this will happen in due time. We must be diligent and faithful in doing the work, which the program requires to keep us serene and calm. Just imagine a life like this! It is promised to all of us if we work the Steps and apply the principles of the program to our daily lives. It couldn’t get much better than that! Peace.