Serenity Prayer for Family Members of Substance Abuse

Serenity Prayer substance abuse

Do you have a loved one who is addicted to drugs or alcohol?

Here is a prayer to help you when facing such difficult circumstances.

Article written by Kelly Flaherty

“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.”

Prayer is a Christian’s direct line to God. By focusing and calling upon God in a time of need, a Christian develops a growing relationship with the Creator of the Universe. A common prayer in recovery for family members of those with chemical dependency is the Serenity Prayer. To breathe life into this common prayer, let’s examine it piece by piece:

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change”
When a family member sees a loved one changing due to a chemical addiction, one must rely upon their relationship with God to be grounded.  Asking for serenity means asking for peace of God that transcends all understanding to come into our hearts and minds through Jesus Christ (Philippians 4:7). The things the family member are doing may be beyond human control, but they are never beyond God’s (Luke 1:37). Full reliance on God is essential in recovery for family members. For more scripture, see Proverbs 16:7, John 14:27, John 16:33, and Jeremiah 29:11.

“The courage to change the things I can”
In a home effected by chemical addiction, there is the temptation to change everything all at once, leading to burn out, stress, anxiety, and even depression. This section of the Serenity Prayer allows us to focus on what we are actually responsible for and change these things with God’s help.  Changing certain attitudes, such a co-dependency and enabling, can be scary even if we know they are detrimental.

However, with God there is no fear (Psalm 27:1). When we seek God, He reveals changes we need to make in ourselves in attitudes, motives, and actions that will bring about a healthier and more positive life, marked by freedom and security in Christ. As we begin to work with God to make changes, we must ask for courage to step out in faith, all the while trusting God with our lives and those of our families. We slowly begin to realize that God is faithful to do these things in us and He will be there to help. For more scripture, see Deuteronomy 31: 6 and 2 Timothy 1:7.

“And the wisdom to know the difference.”
God’s word in James 1:15 says “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” A constant need for family members is to ask for discernment from God. He needs to make clear what it is our job to change and what is His. In a family with chemical dependency, there are blurred lines in helping the person with an addiction and enabling their addiction. Through the wisdom of God, we see what our responses should be. Understanding and discerning things that can be changed by us and things that can only be changed by God can be the difference between life and death for the person with an addiction and his/her family. Psalm 119:66 shows us how. “Teach me good discernment and knowledge, For I believe in Your commandments.”

In close, we need to remember to pray for the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, for joy and rest. We must also pray for the wisdom of God in order to change the things we can and let God handle the rest. Boldly and honestly approaching God for wisdom and peace is available to us through Christ. Nothing is outside of God’s control or too big for Him!

22 Comments On “Serenity Prayer for Family Members of Substance Abuse”

  1. Please pray for my 98 year old mother and 95 year old father who are enabling my older brother in his alcoholism. He has drained them of their financial, physical and emotional resources. I am struggling with their enabling and how I can help them. I will pray the serenity prayer many times now.

  2. Please pray for my 98 year old mother and 95 year old father who are dealing with the addiction of my older brother, aged 66, who has been an alcholic most of his adult life. He has drained their financial, physical and emotional resources. I am struggling with their enabling. Just this last year, I found out that he had stolen a credit card from them and was charging liquor to it twice a week. This was after he told us all he had been sober for 20 years and denied drinking again. I thought this revelation was a turning point in their extreme financial support of him, far beyond his “needs.” They pay him more than half their fixed income, sometimes 2/3. They are still living at home and struggling to take care of themselves and their house. I pray for my patience with them, myself and my brother. I give thanksgiving to my family, my husband and my sons, for their support. Please may I be able to be kind to my parents as they come to the end of their time.

    • We are so sorry to hear this. It can be devastating to all those involved especially with such a long time of sobriety. Sadly, it sounds like he reverted right back to his old behavior even after 20 years of sobriety. Unfortunately, I’m sure your parents do not have the health or energy to not enable and choose to do what seems easiest. We pray you will are able to navigated this situation with grace, but also love that will not enable him to continue to hurt himself or others. Remember to “change the things you can.” God bless!

  3. Please pray for 2 nephews who air addicted to drugs, one is Michael and the other one is Thomas. Thomas has been in an out of jail since 2012, Michael has been in jail also. Michael was married and divorced with 2 beautiful children. He went to rehab twice, the 1st time he didn’t stay, the 2Nd time stayed but left soon after he was admitted. For day no one knew where he was, finally we found out. He almost died a few weeks ago from herione and the were able to revive him. So for these 2 families I ask for prayers.

    • We are so sorry to hear this. With the mass influx of fentanyl coming across the border, it’s very fortunate that he’s alive. We pray for God’s divine intervention to “wake them up” in their addictions and for them to seek the help they need. It will take courage, to tell them “No!”, but also to be available when they are ready. It will be their decisions to get help.

  4. Sophia Materu from Tanzania, Pray for my little sister Evaline Materu for alcoholic addiction. Dear God touch her with your divine power and rescue her with this issues of drugs. Amen

  5. Prayer for my sister Tiara. That the power of Jesus Christ will deliver her from drug addiction and mental illness. The
    Holy Spirit will touch her soul and she will surrender unto the Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ will protect her and store her mind and body holistically.
    Prayers Jesus Christ give my 76 year old mother strength and peace during this time . In Jesus Name.

  6. Please pray for my brother who has been an alcoholic for many years. It’s such a helpless feeling watching him.

  7. Good day please pray for my 3 kids to break drug addiction and God to restore them back to him,the situation of poverty at home and other issues thank u

  8. Please pray for my son, Anthony. He’s so out of control with his alcohol/drug addiction. I’m so overwhelmed and don’t know what to do. I’ve gotten into shouting matches with him cause he gets so violent with everyone in house. I’m so tired and wish he would just stop torturing us this way. It’s a matter of time before his belly swells up cause he has cirrhosis of liver. Please pray that he turns his life around and starts believing in God before it’s too late. Amen

  9. Praying for my partner of 14 years he is addicted to cocaine .May god give him the strength to quit and keep all of the bad people away .

  10. Lord Father God give me the strength and knowledge I need. I have 4 love ones in need of prayers for alcohol and drug dependency. My son Zion, my partner Tecoy my mom Melissa and little brother Marsheen I’m the only sober mind and run to Christ. It’s hard and overwhelming on me. So today I surrender my family and circumstances to Christ Jesus. Fix it Jesus. I want to rest in your will.

  11. Praying for husband and grandson who are Alcholics and do not admit that they are. Please pray. Thank you.

  12. Thank you for prayers my husband n I are hurting for our sons meth addiction we don’t know how to reach out son

  13. Be aware, wiser,knowing all will be alright

  14. Thank you I needed these words cause I’m going through problems with my family membe that uses drugs and alcohol.

  15. Thank you..I needed to hear this today.

  16. Thank you for these thoughts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

American Association of Christian Counselors Guidestar Exchange