Can Prayer Help in Sobriety?
Updated: Oct 8
There are many benefits to prayer that I have discovered over the last 11 years of my sobriety. Some are obvious while some are more subtle. One thing I’ve learned that has been crucial to my recovery and my happiness in general is that I can’t control life on my own. I need prayer in order to constantly remind myself every day that I’m not actually in charge of the universe. In fact, I’m not actually in charge of much other than my own immediate actions right here, right now. Learning this fact has been one of the most liberating revelations of my life.
For so long I thought I could control everything about life, especially the outcomes. But when things didn’t turn out exactly as I planned, which was usually the case, I grew angry, frustrated and RESENTFUL. I thought if I could just get my hands gripped tightly around life’s throat, I could strangle it into submission and achieve everything I wanted or thought I deserved. As time went by and I wasn’t getting everything I wanted in life, the resentment compounded and I became my own walking pity-party. There’s an expression: resentment is like swallowing poison then waiting for the other person to die. Well that’s exactly how it was for me. Before I began to incorporate prayer into my daily life, I kept swallowing the poison of resentment and I just couldn’t understand why things never seemed to improve. I also became an unpleasant person to be around and I began to lose close relationships. There’s nothing worse than trying to be friends with an angry, bitter drunk.
Suffice it to say, this just isn’t how life works. Trying to control life is like trying to drink the ocean. It took me a very long time to learn to live life on life’s terms, not my own.
What I’ve come to realize is that life has its own way of working out, and it often goes in a direction I don’t anticipate or expect. To quote John Lennon: “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.”
This is a concept I’ve learned to embrace. Do I still make plans for the future? Yes, of course. Do I still have ambition for things I want to achieve in life? Yes, absolutely. But the key for me is recognizing that my plans, however small or grandiose, are only ideas not results. I always try my best in everything I do, but I leave the results up to God to decide the outcome.
So when I pray it reminds me that I need to turn my will, my life and the outcome of my actions, over to something other than my own ego. Gratitude, no matter what the outcome might be, is the only thing I can control. So I always try to remain thankful for what I have while accepting what I don’t have. And I remember that I’m definitely not in charge of the universe.
Benefits of prayer Include:
· Communication with God or the source of life
· An opportunity to offer humility and gratitude
· A way to search for answers and direction
· A chance to align my will with God’s will
· A moment to release my ego and pride
· A source of emotional and physical strength
· A time to clarify my desires and goals (whatever the outcome might be)
· A way to find motivation and inspiration
· A way to accept life on life’s terms
The benefits of prayer are numerous and it really doesn’t take a whole lot of effort. Imagine if you could go to the gym for just a few minutes every day and get in amazing physical shape. That’s kind of how a few minutes of prayer each day can help you. But instead of ripped abs and bulging biceps, you’ll achieve something better and longer lasting: serenity and peace of mind.
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