I did not grow up in a religious household, but I learned the serenity prayer at an early age. My brother and I would accompany my mom to her Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings at least three times a week during our grade school years. The meetings were held at local churches or Brooksville’s American Legion Hall. The meetings always smelled of coffee and many people smelled of both cigarettes and coffee. My mom was not a smoker during this time in her life, but many of the other meeting attendees were.
Since AA meetings are not forums children are interested in and the attendees probably don’t want them listening to their stories, my brother and I would usually play in the church playground or surrounding land. We would run around like kids do, playing hide-and-seek, climbing trees and chatting about wondrous topics only children can imagine.
Our mother battled alcoholism as far back as we could remember. While we were too young to grasp the entirety of her battle, and frankly never will, we were proud of her attending these meetings. We loved mom sober and knew AA was the support she needed to remain that way.
During many AA meetings my brother and I would miss the serenity prayer, but plenty of times we were holding hands in the circle at the end of the meeting reciting the words.
The serenity prayer is a spark that was ignited in me as a young child. Those words helped get me through the years my mom was not sober and continue to remind me of what I have control over and what I do not. It allows me to put life’s goals and tasks in perspective and gives me the courage to illuminate my own path. The spark ignited by AA and the serenity prayer burns strong and will not fade. It is one of those sparks that shaped me more significantly than most.