Facing Life on Life’s Terms

Facing Life on Life’s Terms

“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 difference.” Most everyone in recovery from addiction is familiar with the Serenity Prayer, and for good reason. This short prayer essentially sums up one of the most difficult things we will encounter during our recovery, facing life on life’s terms. In order to grasp its full understanding, let’s back track a little to understand why addicts may have more difficulty facing the arbitrary and seemingly random negative things that we can come across in life. For some people, facing life on life’s terms doesn’t need to be elaborated on. This only occurs, however, when individuals accept the pre-supposition that, fundamentally speaking, life is suffering. If we can accept this axiom, then we will be much more equipped to orient ourselves in the world in a manner that exhibits persistence and resilience. Unfortunately for the addict, we have not yet matured to a state where this reality has been fully acknowledged and accepted. This, in fact, describes the plight of the sufferer who continually relapses on drugs and alcohol. While of course there are other factors at play in relapse, the key point that is refused to be accepted is that life is about harvesting meaning; meaning within our relationships, meaning in our jobs, and personal meaning that can only be adopted through our own ability to extract this from within.

If we continue refusing to acknowledge the nature of reality in sobriety, we will be doomed to continue trying to find short-cuts in areas where short-cuts will no longer suffice. As addicts, we have conditioned ourselves to be able to ingest a drug or a drink to alleviate our suffering, and for many of us, this was for good reason as we have experienced traumas of one type or another. Now at the point of the traumatic event or events, it makes perfect sense that we would try to mitigate our suffering with whatever means available, and drugs certainly do a phenomenal job of that in the short-term. We don’t need to discuss or elaborate how quickly this deteriorates and degenerates into insanity and madness as we have all been there. The solution to facing life on life terms is laid out precisely in the Serenity Prayer. We need to work to change the things that we can be an agent of change over and for the things we cannot, we need to be able to come to acceptance of that. The wisdom to distinguish between these two comes only with time and practice but if we can commit to this perspective, we will be able to free ourselves from the chains of naïve infantilism and be able to progress into a position where we find our rightful place in the world.


Tree House Recovery of Orange County, California is a premier men’s addiction treatment facility that uses eight different modalities to help our men become the best versions of themselves they can be. We teach our men that every day of their journey is something to celebrate, and that recovery isn’t a sprint– it’s a marathon. To get started with Tree House Recovery, call us today at (855) 202-2138.

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