God Grant me the Serenity...Dec 22, 2022
I you’ve been following me, you know that I grew up with alcoholism. I’m a long-time member of Al-Anon, a 12-step program for people who love an alcoholic or addict. Yes, it’s an anonymous program…but sometimes it’s OK to break our own anonymity for the greater good.
As the end of the year draws near, I offer you my top tips for dealing with overdrinking. The only requirement is that someone else’s drinking bothers you. You don’t need to label it or create a story. All you need is a desire to NOT let it affect you AND a desire for peace of mind during difficult times. Peace of mind, also known as serenity, comes from within. FROM YOU. Regardless of the behavior of another person.
So, if you are headed someplace... this week, next week or next year…where people drink and it bothers you, here are a few tips for you.
And as we say in the rooms, “Take what you like and think about the rest.”
- Know in your heart and soul that: You didn’t CAUSE the drinking, you can’t CURE the drinking and you can’t CONTROL it. Hold fast. Be sure. No matter what is said, you are NOT THE CAUSE of someone else’s behavior. EVER.
- Prioritize YOU. It’s not wrong or selfish, it’s NECESSARY. I prioritize sleep, nutrition, and hydration. Serenity is a state of mind. We create it with our thoughts. The brain needs a solid foundation to create serenity. This foundation comes from taking care of the body. Your ability to create serenity comes from the Pre-Frontal Cortex. This part of the brain is an energy hog. It needs constant maintenance and sustenance. Did you know that one night of poor sleep creates the decision-making equivalent of TWO DRINKS? Yep. It’s true. Take care of the body to create peace in the mind.
- Read something uplifting every day. It could be one page or one card or one post from someone you admire. It doesn’t need to be long or perfect or a best seller. I choose things I know uplift me. That’s all. Right now, I am reading:
- "Switch on your Brain Every Day” – a daily reader by Dr. Carolyn Leaf
- “How to be Loving” – by Danielle LaPorte
- Listen to your favorite music. Music speaks to the right side of the brain. The creative, artistic side. The side OPPOSITE the side that makes lists of all the things that can go wrong. Music also activates the temporal lobe, which contains the hippocampus, the seat of memory. When you intentionally choose music from a time or place that you KNOW made you feel safe or happy, it jogs the hippocampus and transports you to the place you first heard the tune. It’s an instant hit of peace. For me, music fills my head with notes instead of “to dos” or “what ifs.”
- Take five minutes each day to cultivate curiosity. I do the daily wordle. The brain loves curiosity and novelty. When you are curious it’s nearly impossible to feel stressed. Curiosity comes from the Pre-Frontal Cortex (that pesky place again), stress comes from the Limbic lobe. The limbic lobe is quiet when the Pre-Frontal Cortex is curious. Take five minutes to present something novel to your brain and that’s five stress-free minutes. It’s a win-win.
- Expect that several of the things on this list won't happen every day, and that’s OK. Progress not perfection.
- Make room for Grace. The more you look for it, the more you will find it. Find grace in the smile of a stranger, the soft snore of your loved one after they pass out from overdrinking, the knowledge that you did not CAUSE it, but you are handling it with grace and love.
Have a peaceful and serene holiday if you are celebrating this week. See you in 2023.
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.
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