The Sunday School session I attend at my church is called The Wilderness. We discuss books and topics from a more social activist and progressive end of theology. I was a slightly put-off when the title of our current study book was first announced Happy: What It Is And How To Find It by Matt Miofsky. Each of the four week’s of study is accompanied by a 10-minute presentation on the week’s chapter. I got past the title to learn the book is really about finding serenity in our lives – albeit what I perceived as a rather basic discussion. I must confess to a smugness because of what I perceived as my advanced training in this area after 30 plus years of sobriety through the Alcoholics Anonymous 12-Steps.
But this past Sunday’s chapter Beyond Circumstances particularly intrigued me as of late I have been dealing with my own particular circumstances. The classmate who led the discussion this week passed out pieces of paper because in reviewing the video presentation for this chapter, the author provides a list of things of which we might want to take note.
Here is the list the author suggested in the video for not letting circumstances adversely impact your serenity and peace:
- learn to live in the present
- change your perspective
- live a life of gratitude
- keep track of what I am grateful for today
- let go of control.
Now anyone with a modicum of familiarity with the 12-Step Program of Alcoholics Anonymous has heard all of these list items hundreds of times in the meetings they attend, the literature they read, and the steps that they work!
The discussion in our class was far-reaching and insightful. Out of the 20 or some folks in the room, only three kept a gratitude journal. There was a rich discussion on the conflict of letting go of control in a variety of situations.
I am incredibly grateful to the 12-Step Program for the peace and serenity in my life today. And as Step 12 suggests:
Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics (or fill in the blank of other addictions/issues), and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
What an incredible gift of sobriety!!