Prayer for substance abuse

Heavenly Father I come to you now in Jesus’ name, to repent of all the sins in my life and also in the lives of my ancestors, that may have resulted in a curse. I repent of all disobedience, rebellion, mistreatment of others, lying, cheating, using or slandering your name in vain. I repent of all perversion, lust, incest, fornication, adultery, idolatry, all witchcraft, murder, and any occult involvement.

Heavenly Father, I ask for your forgiveness and cleansing through the blood of your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Lord Jesus I now take the authority you have given me and ask that you anoint me now as I command all demonic spirits of anger, rage, fear, depression, destruction, torment, guilt, bondage, vagabond, rejection, unforgiveness, bitterness, mind-control, double-mindedness, confusion, passivity, sickness, diseases, pain, fetter and all addictions to food, alcohol, drugs, sex, pornography, gambling, or nicotine to come out in the name of Jesus.

No demonic spirit is welcome in this holy temple!

I break all spoken curse and spells that may have been performed over my life and any curses resulting from involvement with Ouija board, Psychics, tarot cards, Horoscopes, secular music, or through TV, movies or pornography.

I break all curses off my family, marriage, children and relatives. I break every shackle, chain, cord, habit, craving, debt, soul-ties and any spirit that has tried to rob, kill, or destroy my life.

I command my family to be set free. I break every demonic assignment over my family. Satan, loose them now! In Jesus’ name! According to Galations 3:13, Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law.

Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. I am now God’s child and through my Lord Jesus, I am able to cast down all demonic powers and spirits that come against me or in my family’s lives.

I am not cursed, but blessed! I am blessed coming in and blessed going out. I am above and not beneath. I am the head and not the tail. I am blessed and what God has blessed cannot be cursed. I am free, and I am saved. I have now exercised my faith and know that confession is made unto salvation (Romans 10:9,10). All of my sins have been remitted, and I am loosed from the curse that came as a result of disobedience and rebellion to the Word of God.

Thank you Heavenly Father, thank you Lord Jesus, thank you Holy Spirit for forgiving me and loving me. Thank you for setting me free from every curse and spirit that has operated in my life. Father God, I pray for discernment and for a new vision to help me recognize and resist all evil and all fleshly, worldly ways. I am anointed through the Lord Jesus Christ, and I thank you Jesus for your guidance and discipline as I continue to be a victorious soldier and holy child. AMEN.

Please write us and let us know that you prayed this prayer!

Download a printable PDF of the prayer here

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Many people, whether involved in recovery or not, know of the Serenity Prayer due it’s large cultural impact. It is a simple prayer full of meaning that many of us can relate to and find comfort and inspiration in. Although the first stanza is generally said aloud at meetings or to oneself as a type of mantra and reminder, users of the full serenity prayer attribute to its power and insight the credit for helping them maintain sobriety, stave off relapse, and provide a foundation for self-improvement and spiritual growth.

Before we say too much more, we need to read the full version of the serenity prayer and ponder it for a moment…

The Full Version of the Serenity Prayer

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.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
As it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
If I surrender to His Will;
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life
And supremely happy with Him
Forever and ever in the next.
Amen.

The Full Serenity Prayer Meaning

There are many ways to approach the complex meanings and interpretations of this prayer of serenity, peace, and tranquility.  The best approach begins with gaining an understandings of the origins of this wonderful prayer.

The Origin of the Serenity Prayer

The true origins reside in the realm of the unknown unfortunately, but we can trace it back a good bit.  It’s easier to go backwards in time so you can understand where the confusion comes from.  The prayer was first brought to the attention of Bill W. who we all know as one of the founders of the prolific Alcoholics Anonymous group.  Who it was that shared with him the prayer is not known, but Bill W. popularized it by sharing it with every member of their organization by printing it on stock cards and having it passed out at meetings.

It turns out that beyond that point in time people have traced it back to the theologian named Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971).  The problem of attributing it to this American theologian is that he was likely just the first to put it to paper in an officially published document.  We are almost positive that it circulated even earlier orally by word of mouth prior to the 1930’s where it began appearing in newspapers.  The situation is that other authors began citing in print that Niebuhr was the originator due to his usage of the prayer in his sermons, however his own statements blur the reality even further.  Even though it was published here and there under his name before, such as in personal diaries and other places, it wasn’t until 1951 that he himself published it in a magazine column.  There is mention that Niebuhr himself denies having written it and attributes it to the 1700’s and a theologian named Friedrich Oetinger.  But there is evidence that someone wrote under pseudonym that was the same name then.  Who knows, at this point.

The History of the Serenity Prayer Pre-Cursors

What we can say for sure is that there are versions, or at least inspirations, for our current preferred version that came long before even the 18th century and Oetinger.  Epictus the Greek and Stoic had a similar prayer in the 1st century:

Make the best use of what is in your power, and take the rest as it happens. Some things are up to us and some things are not up to us. Our opinions are up to us, and our impulses, desires, aversions-in short, whatever is our own doing. Our bodies are not up to us, nor are our possessions, our reputations, or our public offices, or, that is, whatever is not our own doing.

In the 8th century a scholar of the Buddhist doctrines in India named Shantideva wrote the following:

If there’s a remedy when trouble strikes,
What reason is there for dejection?
And if there is no help for it,
What use is there in being glum?

In the 11th century a Jewish philosopher under the name of Solomon ibn Gabirol wrote the following rendition:

And they said: At the head of all understanding
is realizing what is and what cannot be,
and the consoling of what is not in our power to change.

So what we know for sure is that is that the 11th and 8th century versions from the various spiritual faiths are very close, and one could say that the 1st century Greek version definitely was inspired by the same line of thinking.  We can’t be certain when the first version manifested, but it was a long time ago.  Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s take a look at what the prayer actually means.

The Meaning of the Serenity Prayer

First off, we must define serenity, because it is this along with courage and wisdom that we are asking to be granted.  Serenity is the state of having a serene, tranquil, calm mind in a state of equanimity that is not subject to the up-and-down roller coaster ride of emotions.  It is a form of detachment, but not dissociation or disregard.  It sees the reality of situations for what they are (controllable or not) and acts accordingly without moving into extreme emotional states like sadness, anger, anxiety, depression, etc.  It is the recognition that we are allowed to manipulate some aspects of our experience while others are outside of our locus of control, and the acceptance of this truth while recognizing that there is something much larger, smarter, and compassionate managing these affairs.  It is a form of psychological surrender, a release of tension and pushback against our desires and repulsions.

The immediate idea is that we have fallen into a trap of an emotional whirlwind surrounding the things in life that we can’t control.  And instead of accepting them, we have tried to escape them and sooth our negative feelings through the substance abuse or addiction to some other behavior or activity.  But the realization goes to another level because we have also understood that these escapes haven’t been solutions at all.  They’ve only furthered our problems, adding onto the list of things we can complain and feel bad about if we choose.  But we are choosing not to.  We are asking for the ability to distinguish between between the things we can actually do something about or not.  Although we can’t escape the core realities of the human condition, we can not care too much about it.  And although we must live with some suffering, we don’t have to compound it by engaging in a cycle of addiction.  That, we can control.

A huge key for having this prayer actually work and serve its purpose in your life is to understand that we aren’t trying to ignore our feelings by denying them their expression.  We want to really internalize where we are helpless or not and accept those parameters.  When we accept them, we can see them as the play of a larger spiritual reality that we don’t understand but trust.  These include events that we perceive as good and bad.  When you’ve really accepted this truth, you really level out emotionally and become chill, cool, calm… serene.

Recognizing the things we can’t control is just one part.  The other part is hugely empowering, which is to have the courage to work, grow, and rearrange the aspects of our lives that we do have control over.  This means we can stop using drugs.  We can get a nice job, get raises, make good money to provide us with comforts and luxuries.  We can foster relationships with our old and new friends and family members.  We can have a life full of meaning and enjoyment while accepting there will still be some things we don’t like and can’t control.  It is recognizing that we do have a sphere of influence and power, but being wise enough to know where the limits of that power reside.

Remembering and reciting this prayer daily helps us stay the path.  It’s very easy to forget these philosophies when we are knee deep in the problems, but they give us faith in our progress and recovery.  We can know that the things we can control will get better, if only we apply our energies in the right direction instead of getting stuck in trying to escape and numb ourselves.  This is the beauty and majesty of the serenity prayer. This is why it has made such a huge impact all around the world for over a thousand years!  You as a counselor should memorize this and apply it to your own life if you haven’t already.  It’s not just about addiction or just a resource for substance abuse counselor.  It encompasses an approach to life that maximizes calmness and happiness!

www.substanceabusecounselor.us

Catholic Prayer: Book of Blessings: Blessing of a Person Suffering from Addiction or from Substance Abuse

Description:

407 Addiction to alcohol, drugs, and other controlled substances causes great disruption in the life of an individual and his or her family. This blessing is intended to strengthen the addicted person in the struggle to overcome addiction and also to assist his or her family and friends.

408 This blessing may also be used for individuals who, although not addicted, abuse alcohol or drugs and wish the assistance of God’s blessing in their struggle.

409 Ministers should be aware of the spiritual needs of a person suffering from addiction or substance abuse, and to this end the pastoral guidance on the care of the sick and rites of Pastoral Care of the Sick will be helpful.

410 If the recovery process is slow or is marked by relapses, the blessing may be repeated when pastorally appropriate.

411 These orders may be used by a priest or a deacon, and also by a layperson, who follows the rites and prayers designated for a lay minister.

Prayer:

A. ORDER OF BLESSING

INTRODUCTORY RITES

412 When the community has gathered, a suitable song may be sung. After the singing, the minister says: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

All make the sign of the cross and reply: Amen.

413 A minister who is a priest or deacon greets those present in the following or other suitable words, taken mainly from sacred Scripture. The Lord be with you.

And all reply: And also with you.

414 A lay minister greets those present in the following words: Let us praise God our creator, who gives us courage and strength, now and for ever. R. Amen.

415 In the following or similar words, the minister prepares those present for the blessing. God created the world and all things in it and entrusted them into our hands that we might use them for our good and for the building up of the Church and human society. Today we pray for N., that God may strengthen him/her in his/her weakness and restore him/her to the freedom of God’s children. We pray also for ourselves that we may encourage and support him/her in the days ahead.

READING OF THE WORD OF GOD

416 A reader, another person present, or the minister reads a text of sacred Scripture. Brothers and sisters, listen to the words of the second letter of Paul to the Corinthians:

4:6-9 We are afflicted, but not crushed. For God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to bring to light the knowledge of the glory of God on the face of Jesus Christ.

But we hold this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us. We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

417 Or: Isaiah 63:7-9–He has favored us according to his mercy. Romans 8:18-25–I consider the sufferings of the present to be as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed in us. Matthew 15:21-28–Woman, you have great faith.

418 As circumstances suggest, one of the following responsorial psalms may be sung or said, or some other suitable song.

R. Our help is from the Lord who made heaven and earth.

Psalm 121 I lift up my eyes toward the mountains; whence shall help come to me? My help is from the LORD who made heaven and earth. R.

May he not suffer your foot to slip; may he slumber not who guards you: Indeed he neither slumbers nor sleeps, the guardian of Israel. R.

The LORD is your guardian; the LORD is your shade; he is beside you at your right hand. The sun shall not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. R.

The LORD will guard you from all evil; he will guard your life. The LORD will guard your coming and your going, both now and forever. R.

Psalm 130:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8 R. (v. 5) My soul trusts in the Lord.

419 As circumstances suggest, the minister may give those present a brief explanation of the biblical text, so that they may understand through faith the meaning of the celebration.

INTERCESSIONS

420 The intercessions are then said. The minister introduces them and an assisting minister or one of those present announces the intentions. From the following those best suited to the occasion may be used or adapted, or other intentions that apply to the particular circumstances may be composed.

The minister says: Our God gives us life and constantly calls us to new life; let us pray to God with confidence.

R. Lord, hear our prayer.

Assisting minister: For those addicted to alcohol/ drugs, that God may be their strength and support, we pray. R.

Assisting minister: For N., bound by the chains of addiction/ substance abuse, that we encourage and assist him/ her in his/her struggle, we pray. R.

Assisting minister: For N., that he/she may trust in the mercy of God through whom all things are possible, we pray. R.

Assisting minister: For the family and friends of N., that with faith and patience they show him/her their love, we pray. R.

Assisting minister: For the Church, that it may always be attentive to those in need, we pray. R.

421 After the intercessions the minister, in the following or similar words, invites all present to sing or say the Lord’s Prayer. Let us pray to our merciful God as Jesus taught us:

All: Our Father . . .

PRAYER OF BLESSING

422 A minister who is a priest or deacon says the prayer of blessing with hands outstretched over the person; a lay minister says the prayer with hands joined.

A) For addiction

God of mercy, we bless you in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ, who ministered to all who came to him. Give your strength to N., your servant, bound by the chains of addiction. Enfold him/her in your love and restore him/her to the freedom of God’s children.

Lord, look with compassion on all those who have lost their health and freedom. Restore to them the assurance of your unfailing mercy, and strengthen them in the work of recovery.

To those who care for them, grant patient understanding and a love that perseveres.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

R. Amen.

B) For substance abuse

God of mercy, we bless you in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ, who ministered to all who came to him. Give your strength to N., your servant, enfold him/her in your love and restore him/her to the freedom of God’s children.

Lord, look with compassion on all those who have lost their health and freedom. Restore to them the assurance of your unfailing mercy, strengthen them in the work of recovery, and help them to resist all temptation.

To those who care for them, grant patient understanding and a love that perseveres.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

R. Amen.

As circumstances suggest, the minister in silence may sprinkle the person with holy water.

CONCLUDING RITE

423 A minister who is a priest or deacon concludes the rite by saying: May God give you light and peace. R. Amen.

May God raise you up and save you. R. Amen.

May God give you courage and strength. R. Amen.

Then he blesses all present. And may almighty God bless you all, the Father, and the Son, F and the Holy Spirit. R. Amen.

424 A lay minister concludes the rite by signing himself or herself with the sign of the cross and saying: May our all-merciful God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, bless us and embrace us in love for ever. R. Amen.

425 It is preferable to end the celebration with a suitable song.

B. SHORTER RITE

426 All make the sign of the cross as the minister says: Our help is in the name of the Lord.

All reply: Who made heaven and earth.

427 One of those present or the minister reads a text of sacred Scripture, for example: Brothers and sisters, listen to the words of the second letter of Paul to the Corinthians:

4:6-9 We are afflicted, but not crushed. For God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to bring to light the knowledge of the glory of God on the face of Jesus Christ.

But we hold this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us. We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

428 Or: Isaiah 63:7-9–He has favored us according to his mercy. Matthew 15:21-28–Woman, you have great faith.

429 A minister who is a priest or deacon says the prayer of blessing with hands outstretched over the person; a lay minister says the prayer with hands joined.

A) For addiction

God of mercy, we bless you in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ, who ministered to all who came to him. Give your strength to N., your servant, bound by the chains of addiction. Enfold him/her in your love and restore him/her to the freedom of God’s children.

Lord, look with compassion on all those who have lost their health and freedom. Restore to them the assurance of your unfailing mercy, and strengthen them in the work of recovery.

To those who care for them, grant patient understanding and a love that perseveres.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

R. Amen.

B) For substance abuse

God of mercy, we bless you in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ, who ministered to all who came to him. Give your strength to N., your servant, enfold him/her in your love and restore him/her to the freedom of God’s children.

Lord, look with compassion on all those who have lost their health and freedom. Restore to them the assurance of your unfailing mercy, strengthen them in the work of recovery, and help them to resist all temptation.

To those who care for them, grant patient understanding and a love that perseveres.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

R. Amen.

Prayer Source: Book of Blessings by Prepared by International Commission on English in the Liturgy A Joint Commission of Catholic Bishops’ Conferences, The Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minnesota, 1989

www.catholicculture.org

Addiction as the Inability to Deal with Life

A common motive for falling into substance abuse is an inability to cope with the vicissitudes of life. The individual feels overwhelmed by the problems that life is throwing at them, and desperation means that they will consider any means of escape. In the beginning alcohol and drugs do feel like the perfect solution. It gives the individual a break from their problems and the reality of day to day living. The problem is that as the individual becomes to rely on these substances it has a devastating impact on their life. It is a classic example of the cure being worse than the disease. The answer to life’s problems is not to be found by using mind altering substances. The ability to deal with life is something that the individual can develop, but it is serenity that they need for this and not intoxication.

Serenity Defined

One way of defining serenity is to say that it is a feeling of being calm and tranquil. In recovery this word is often used to describe a state of being where people are untroubled by the ups and downs in life. It means that whatever is happening in the individual’s life they can rely on an inner sense of calm. Many would say that this way of being is the goal of recovery. It may even have been the search for such inner peace that drove the individual into addiction in the first place – they find what they are looking for in sobriety.

Thomas Szasz provides another way of looking at serenity with his words:

> Boredom is the feeling that everything is a waste of time; serenity, that nothing is.

Serenity Prayer

The serenity prayer was created in 1937 by a theologian called Karl Paul Reinhold Niebuhr. The original text for this prayer was:

> Father, give us courage to change what must be altered, serenity to accept what cannot be helped, and the insight to know the one from the other.

A slightly different version of the prayer has been adopted by 12 Step Groups:

> God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can change, and wisdom to know the difference.

Serenity Prayer for Non Believers
The word God and prayer can make non believers feel uncomfortable. This might lead them to conclude that the serenity prayer has nothing to offer them. In fact there is a great deal that these words can offer the non believer without them needing to adopt any religious ideas. They can view God as nature or their own inner wisdom. The important thing here is not the actual words used but the sentiment which each individual can interpret in their own way.

10 Reasons Why the Serenity Prayer Can Benefit Everyone in Recovery

Here are 10 reasons why the serenity prayer can benefit everyone in recovery.

Acceptance as the Key to Happiness

The serenity prayer reminds the individual of the importance of acceptance. Humans have the ability to exert an influence on the world, but there are many things that they have no power over. For example, there may be very little that a person can do to alter the way other people think. This inability to change some aspects of life can leave people feeling frustrated and full of self pity. The individual may have used to justification that life is not fair to justify their alcohol or drug abuse. Trying to fight against the way things are is a waste of energy and it can only ever lead to suffering. People find happiness by just accepting and working with those things that they cannot change.

The Serenity Prayer Gives Comfort When Times Are Hard

When people give up an addiction it doesn’t mean that they will get a free ride in life going forward. The sober person still has to face day to day reality, and this means dealing with the bad times as well as the good. When times are hard the individual can begin to question things. They may even begin to wonder if staying sober is worth the effort. By thinking about the serenity prayer the individual can find inner strength. They can accept the current situation as what they have to work with and take it from there.

Developing Faith in Recovery

Developing faith in recovery does not mean that the individual is expected to adopt any particular religious ideas. It is referring to confidence in the idea that when people do the right things it will mean the right things will happen to them. There will be a great deal in life that the individual has no control over, but the fact that they are now trying to live a better life should mean that their life will get better. It is only by developing this faith in recovery that the individual is able to begin developing some serenity.

It Takes Courage to Build a New Life

The reason why so many people settle for a less than perfect life is fear. There is comfort in the familiarity even when the individual is experiencing suffering. Change means taking a step into the unknown, and not everyone will be prepared to take this step. In order for the individual to escape the misery of addiction they will need to be brave. They will also need courage to keep on making the needed changes that will lead them to a better life in sobriety.

Importance of Becoming Wise in Recovery

In Alcoholics Anonymous the members will sometimes talk about how their best thinking got them drunk. This is pointing out the reality that despite a tendency to arrogance addicts do not tend to have much wisdom. This does not mean that they are lacking intelligence, but their behavior does suggest that they have lost the ability to make good decision. When people first become sober they can still fall victim to illogical thinking. In recovery they can develop enough wisdom to be able to make better decisions.

Serenity Means Developing Equanimity

Carl Yung once suggested that:

> Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. It is far better take things as they come along with patience and equanimity.

Equanimity can be defined as mental or emotional stability from a deep awareness and acceptance of the present moment. It is closely related to serenity, and if an individual has developed serenity they will almost certainly also have developed equanimity. Spiritual seekers will often use techniques such as meditation to help them develop equanimity. It means that they deliberately focus their attention on the present moment without passing judgment on it. The development of equanimity is of particular importance to Buddhists and Hindus.

The Serenity Prayer Empowers the Individual

The words in this prayer are not only about acceptance but also about empowerment. It reminds the individual that there are many things that they will be able to change, and that they should take action when such actions will improve their life. The serenity prayer redirects the individual’s energies away from things out of their control and towards those things that they can control.

Increased Contact with the Spiritual

Many people do view recovery as a spiritual path. This prayer reminds them that they are not taking this journey alone – they can rely on a higher force if they just have faith. When the individual hands over those things that are beyond them to a higher power it lightens their load significantly. This means that they can go forward with their journey feeling supported. The individual may not have the strength to overcome every obstacle in life, but their higher power will have this strength.

Serenity Power and Positive Thinking

There is a great deal of positivity contained within the few short lines of the serenity prayer. It suggests that the individual can have a positive impact on their future. It also points to the idea that higher forces are at work. Those things that the individual recognizes as beyond their control may actually lead them to great things if they just learn to accept. There is a great deal of evidence to suggest that thinking positively puts the individual in a position where they are more likely to find success in life. Negative thinking (also known as stinking thinking) should be avoided in recovery because it can easily lead to relapse.

Serenity Prayer and Humility

Saint Augustine advised:

> Do you wish to rise? Begin by descending. You plan a tower that will pierce the clouds? Lay first the foundation of humility.

In order for people to find success in recovery it is vital that they develop some humility. This means that they have developed the ability to accept their own limitations and weaknesses. Humility is the opposite of arrogance. The individual makes the amazing discovery that by accepting their own weaknesses they become stronger. This is because when people are arrogant they are unable to learn anything new, and they regularly end up out of their depth because they have overestimated their abilities. There is nothing wrong with admitting weakness – in reality it is the key to success.

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