Whether religious or not, prayers or mantras can become a valuable source of positive affirmation in your life when battling drug addiction. One of the most common prayers repeated in recovery is known as the Serenity Prayer. It was created by Reinhold Niebuhr and reflects the attitude that not everything in life may be controlled. It acknowledges the struggle we all face in seeking out a path toward serenity and recovery in a world that often feels chaotic and beyond our control.
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”
A mantra, or prayer like the one above, may be repeated daily to help reinforce positive thinking when cravings are creating distractions on your path toward recovery. The Recovery Prayer by Abby Willowroot, is designed to reaffirm your awareness of the strengths it takes to recover from addiction:
“Today, I heal my body, my mind, my spirit, my life. Drugs are a part of my past; they are not part of my now, they are not part of my future. Today, I am clean. Today, I am clean and free.
Today, I am becoming strong one second at a time, on thought at a time, one action at a time. I am learning how to live and to be the best parts of me today. Today, I am clean and free.”
In the Christian faith, addiction is often linked to a kind of spiritual warfare. Within the book of James this verse appears:
“Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”
Universal Messages In Prayers Relating To Addiction
There are some common themes that emerge throughout in prayers and mantras relating to addiction. These prayers often relate to seeking truth, demonstrating how muddled our perceptions become when we are using. They ask us to remain honest and acknowledge the addiction; not to control or manage it. They showcase the courage it takes for someone to face the fear, damage inflicted by, and the severity of cravings and withdrawal symptoms relating to addiction.
Most, as with the Serenity Prayer, they identify a notion that the addicted individual fell into addiction because they were suffering from some underlying struggle. And nearly all highlight an awareness of a higher power, whether it be God, or finding serenity in nature – seeking out something pure on a path out of darkness and shadow.
One particular bible verse found within Corinthians, quite simply acknowledges the free will to choose to use, while including a most helpful mantra in contrast, “I will not be mastered by anything.”
“Everything is permissible for me, but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.”
The Efficacy Of Prayer
Prayer and mantras as described above have been widely used in treatment and recovery programs, but are they effective? Science supports prayer appears to be an effective tool for relaxing the body, lowering blood pressure, and helping uplift mood. As such, prayer or mantras may be most beneficial when they are recited during times of high stress or tension. Repetition of prayer can play a critical role in reducing blood pressure and inducing calm for the troubled individual.
Which prayers work best for one person, depends a lot on their belief system and what the individual finds meaningful. Sometimes addiction has so far blinded a person from any awareness of good left within them, it is easier to acknowledge good outside of the body, a spiritual awareness, while beginning to reconnect with the good inherent in the person.
Someone recovering from a long-term addiction may find himself or herself in a place of destruction, in which relationships, career, and finances have fallen apart. They may feel unlovable, unreachable at the start. This is where prayer can help reinforce a message of hope that they are not lost, that there is light at the end of this dark, dark tunnel.
Prayers For The Newly Sober
Prayers or mantras for the newly recovered might be more strongly rooted in helping connect the individual with the support that surrounds them, whether that be support from God, family, or some other network. The following is a message that separates the addiction from the individual.
“My mistakes don’t define me, but are transformed by the grace of God. Therefore I release shame off of me and receive love from God and others.”
Other prayers help us remember the importance of focusing on one moment at a time, one day at a time, to manage the anxiety that is recurrent in early recovery. Knowing that the problems that surround us are temporary and will subside, and that we must only focus on one issue at a time in those early stages of recovery will also help alleviate some of the self-inflicted guilt when we try to think so far ahead and feel we must fix all that was broken at once. The following mantra is part of a larger poem to aid in this one day a at a time thinking:
“Just for today, I will try to live through this day only, and not tackle all my problems at once. I can do something for twelve hours that would appall me if I felt that I had to keep it up for a lifetime.”
While most are aware of the beginning few lines of the Serenity Prayer, the remaining text is often left out. To paraphrase, the text goes on to suggest living one day at a time is key to finding peace. It also suggests that the challenges we face on this path are not designed to stop us, but to help strengthen us on our path toward serenity in recovery:
“Living one day at a time; enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace…”
St. Jude’s prayer addresses the addiction accurately as an illness. At the same time, the prayer is interwoven with the notion that the addicted person is not alone in his or her battles with addiction. Again, it reiterates those powerful messages of unconditional love, separating the addiction from self, and self-awareness that we are no longer in a place of control, but on a path toward recovery from something that has so long controlled us.
“God of life, You made me in Your perfect image, to live in Your love and to give You glory, honor and praise. Open my heart to Your healing power. Come, Lord Jesus, calm my soul just as you whispered ‘Peace’ to the stormy sea.
St. Jude, most holy Apostle, in my need I reach out to you. I beg you to intercede for me that I may find strength to overcome my illness. Bless all those who struggle with addiction. Touch them, heal them, and reassure them of the Father’s constant love.
Remain at my side, St. Jude, to chase away all evil temptations, fears, and doubts. May the quiet assurance of your loving presence illuminate the darkness in my heart and bring lasting peace. Amen.”
The “set-aside prayer,” popular within Alcoholics and Narcotics Anonymous groups, asks the addicted individual to open their minds to the experience of living free from addiction, by addressing specific long-standing notions.
“Dear God, please help me to set aside everything I think I know about [a person, place, or thing], so I may have an open mind and a new experience. Please help me to see the truth about [a person, place, or thing].”
Prayers and mantras sometimes seek help from a higher power or behave as affirmations designed to connect an individual with personal growth and strength.
The following poem, Salutation to the Dawn, asks a person to focus on the power of today by examining the reality of what exists within a person’s life and to celebrate how far they have come, how much they have grown. To live in the now with the kind of awareness that will create a vision of hope for the future.
Look to this day!
For it is life, the very life of life.
In its brief course
Lie all the verities and realities of your existence:
The bliss of growth;
The glory of action;
The splendor of achievement;
For yesterday is but a dream,
And tomorrow is only a vision;
But today, well lived, makes every yesterday
a dream of happiness,
And every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Most 12-step programs are built upon the tearing down of old thinking in the rebuilding of a life in recovery. These poems, prayers, and mantras help remind us that we are still learning, still innocent in our awareness, and that we are not in control of everything around us, but are students of the world. This can help someone struggling to deal with underlying issues like anxiety, depression, or doubt find strength in perceiving each situation as a new opportunity for self-growth.
The following Native American Prayer to the Great Spirit, carries a message that as we work through each day on this path toward recovery, only one thing is truly known: There is much we do not yet know.
“O’ Great Spirit, whose voice we hear in the winds, and whose breath gives life to all the world, hear us! We are small and weak. We need your strength and wisdom. Let us walk in beauty, and make our eyes ever behold the red and purple sunset. Make our hands respect the things you have made and our ears sharp to hear your voice. Make us wise so that we may understand the things you have taught our people.
Let us learn the lessons you have hidden in every leaf and rock. We seek strength, not to be greater than our brother, but to fight our greatest enemy— ourselves. Make us always ready to come to you with clean hands and straight eyes, so when life fades as the fading sunset, our spirits may come to you without shame.”
If you or someone you know is coping with a drug addiction, DrugRehab.org can connect you with professional support and treatment services available in your area. Give yourself the freedom to seek serenity every day beginning with a confidential phone call to start you on a path toward recovery from drug addiction. Contact DrugRehab.org today.