When I first came to ACOA/ACA I didn’t know it by name. I saw other people with it and I wanted some too.
I hurt emotionally. It was all I could do to drag myself to a meeting. But when I got there it was worth it. I got a small piece of what others called Serenity.
I wanted more so I went to more meetings. I found people like me and realized I wasn’t alone anymore. I went to more meetings, up to six a week.
The First time I felt Serenity was during the moment of silence before we said the Serenity Prayer. My mind quieted and I let go of my Guilt. Breathed deeply and felt the love and peace around me. Fitting, now that I look back on it: The Serenity Prayer.
I started working the steps and gradually got a sponsor. I learned I didn’t have to be perfect, that it was okay to make mistakes.
I let go of some of my shame and found some Serenity.
I learned about the bundle of Shame and Abandonment passed down from generation to generation and realized it wasn’t my fault.
I let go of some of my guilt and my serenity lasted longer.
I learned I had used childlike defense systems to protect myself and self-will to try to make things happen my way–like a child would.
The Big book and the steps showed me it wasn’t too late to change and showed me how. Steps 1,2 and 3 exposed my disbelief in God for what it was: A vain attempt by my ego/false self to remain in control, protecting myself, using self-will. Once I found my Higher Power, I was able to turn all my shit over to God and ask Him to take the burden . . . and He did.
My Serenity was joined by Hope.
I did the hard work of finding new ways to deal with old problems. Learned new behaviors when I found a Higher Power and asked him to take my False Self. I used Steps 4,5,6,7 and found my True Self.
I left my Fears behind and Serenity Become an Everyday Occurrence.
In Steps 8 and 9, I made amends for past behaviors and shed the last of my guilt. In Step 10, practicing my new behaviors, I took a daily inventory of myself and learned not to judge others.
Serenity became an all the time occurrence.
Step 11 reminded me not to take my success for granted. Constant contact with God keeps me humble. Without it I succumb to my self false, my ego, and rely on my self-will to get the things I think I want.
I can do anything with God’s help. Nothing without it.
Step 12 reminds me where I was before I found Serenity, by giving service so that others might find the elusive Peace called Serenity. Service builds a stronger ACA program, brings more helpful life experiences together at meetings where I can learn, and reminds me we are all the same–humans who need love and acceptance.
Thank You God for showing my the past life clearly. The Journey was difficult, but well worth it.
Today’s Meditation: I Deserve to Feel Better
The sixth ACA Promise states: “We will enjoy feeling stable, peaceful, and financially secure.”
When we first enter ACA, often our lives are anything but stable, peaceful and financially secure. Many of us are at or near our bottom and may be divorced, unemployed or underemployed. Our world is chaotic and we are often enveloped by fear and shame. Most of us would give anything to find serenity.
The Twelve Steps offer us structure in finding a way out of the crisis oriented lives we have developed for ourselves. Before we can find stability, we must crawl out of our survival mode. There is a lot of work ahead, but the ACA program reminds us this is a process. The self-defense behaviors which helped us survive at an early age, did not work for us in our adult lives. The 12 Steps help can help us rebuild our lives and give us the tools for adapting the new behaviors essential for our success.
Many come to admit our life is out of control and we often have no idea how it got that way. It takes a lot of work just to stay sane. But when we do the work, work the steps, go to meetings, share our experience, strength and hope, and pray to our Higher Power for Awareness, Williness to Act and Courage, a funny thing happens.
Eventually we leave the meetings feeling a little bit lighter. We come to see ourselves as we really are and gradually we puzzle the missing pieces of our lives together. We come out of denial and make a pledge to change our lives for the better.
Still we read the Promises and wonder if any of them will ever come true for us. Then, after a much work, our Higher Power gives us a gift. It may be Serenity. It may be a grasp on how to handle something that used to baffle us. It may be a new job.
Often this gift sneaks up on us and we are reminded of it when we read the Promises at the end of the meeting.
Today I will pray for awareness, willingness and courage to address the problems I face. Today I will commit to do the work I need to do, knowing with my Higher Power’s help my hard work will bring me the peace, stability, and financial security I deserve.
Would you like to submit a self written meditation anonymously?
Email a meditation to firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject to editing for spelling and adhering to the ACA traditions, we will publish your meditation anonymously on this page.
If you would like to submit this meditation for the ACA World Service Organization’s Meditation Book, see requirements on this website and mail it in.