The AA Serenity Prayer

The Full Prayer For Serenity
Who Wrote The Serenity Prayer?



AA Serenity Prayer
The prayer of serenity used in AA meetings is actually part of a much longer prayer for serenity






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

The above is the abbreviated AA serenity prayer that has been adopted by the social support group, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and other such groups which have Twelve-step programs. The extended original serenity prayer continues:

“…Living one day at a time; enjoying each moment at a time; accepting hardship as a pathway to peace; taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; trusting that You will make all things right if I surrender to Your Will; so that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with you forever in the next. Amen.”


Prayer For Serenity
Who Wrote The Serenity Prayer?

The original serenity prayer was written in the early 1930s or 40s by Reinhold Niebuhr for one of his sermons.

He published it in 1951, but the words of the serenity prayer had already come to the attention of AA and its founder, Bill Wilson and the Rev Sam Shoemaker, the leader of the Oxford group in the U.S.


AA Serenity Prayer
Adopted By Alcoholics Anonymous

Bill Wilson adopted the prayer for serenity as a kind of mantra for the burgeoning AA group. Now it has gone on to become the most famous and popular of the AA prayers.

The Reverend Sam Shoemaker, as mentioned above, was the leader of the Oxford group in America which had its beginnings in the movement begun in the UK, a movement which advocated education for the working man and which in America promoted the spiritual life and the giving of oneself over to the will of God.

Bill and Sam soon realized that they had much in common and shared a similar outlook, especially after Bill and his sponsor Ebby Thatcher opted to become Christians. Bill and Ebby were recovering alcoholics, who were heavily involved in creating a literary and spiritual structure to support the ever-expanding Alcoholics Anonymous Group.


If Alcoholics Anonymous is not for you then why not try these AA alternatives:




Prayer of Serenity
A Lasting Legacy

Bill asked the erudite and literary Reverend Shoemaker to write the now famous Twelve Steps of the AA program, but Sam demurred, saying that they should be written by an alcoholic and so Bill was encouraged to write them himself.

Bill W. went on to add many AA prayers to the organization's growing collection, but the AA serenity prayer will forever be synonymous with that organization.

Sam’s contributions to AA later took a backseat in comparison to Bill’s works, but if it were not for Sam it is doubtful that the organization would have had such a firm spiritual base.

The beauty of it is that the abridged version of the AA serenity prayer can be said by people of all faiths who believe in a spiritual force higher than themselves, so there is no barrier of race, religion or creed to becoming a member of AA.



In addition to this, the prayer for serenity can be used across the board. It is not just a tool of those in recovery from alcoholism, but also those in other 12 step groups such as Alanon and by anybody looking for solace and comfort in everyday life.



Is AA not right for you? Then there are other options, one such alternative is that espoused at Spiritual River, the focus of which is on holistic growth as opposed to spiritual growth alone.






If you found this page helpful, then the following may be of interest to you:



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Deborah Morrow, M.S. Addiction Psychology, is the director of treatment programs for The Alcoholism Guide website. In her practice Deborah provides on-line coaching and support for those dependent on alcohol or who require other services such as relapse prevention or court mandated services. (Read More)






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