Finding Serenity in Calamity

Table of Contents

No ocean, no matter how beautiful, is calm all the time. There will inevitably be storms. But when we sailed the ocean of life in our active alcoholism and addiction, we were sailing with a boatload of extra trouble. Now that we have entered recovery at Jaywalker Lodge, our ship is no longer making things worse. The 12-Step program and active recovery have taught us how to be better sailors and shipbuilders, so to speak. We see the ocean of life for the beautiful thing it really is.

But this doesn’t mean that there will never be storms. It does, perhaps, mean we’ll be causing less of them, but life does not stop being life just because we’re sober. We simply, finally, have a design for living well and better that really works.

Prepare for Rough Seas

Though calamity will eventually come, we can meet it with a better attitude, mindset, and capability than we ever did before. As the old saying goes, “Calm seas do not a seasoned sailor make.” We have to shake off our old mentality of fearing the future, and understand that life has natural ups and downs.

In recovery, we have the constant opportunity to learn how to grow through the hard times and experience them without losing any of the things that give us peace and add meaning to our lives. Most every man wants to be someone who can face the hard times standing up with his head held high, helping others through it all. Recovery at Jaywalker Lodge can teach us how to be that man. Who doesn’t desire to face troubles without losing their peace?

The future is nothing to fear, for we now have the tools to meet it, as long as we stay active in the 12-Steps. Even better, we learn to see the future with curiosity and hope, even knowing that some days life might hold some calamity. How do we get to this place where we can face chaos and problems with calm and peace?

The book of Alcoholics Anonymous tells us that we must face up to our fears, write them down in 4th-Step inventory, and take them to a sponsor and our higher power. It also explains that as addicts and alcoholics, we have been so wrecked by fear because we have been vigorously self-reliant. This self-reliance has failed us — it has failed to erase our fears, and it has failed to make us men who could successfully navigate the storms of life.

There Is a Better Way

The Big Book says there is a better way. Of course there is! Our defense must come from a higher power. So, too, we must shift what we rely upon away from the self and towards a higher power. In the book, they often call this higher power God, but you can call it anything you like. Nobody has to adhere to anyone else’s vision of a higher power.

But reliance placed in something bigger than the self, more connected to the fabric of life, is a pivotal piece of the 12-Step formula. This new and better way involves us placing our reliance on an infinite God, an infinite higher power, rather than in our finite selves. “Just to the extent that we do as we think He would have us, and humbly rely on Him, does He enable us to match calamity with serenity.”

Humble reliance upon a higher power is the very thing that enables us to meet any calamity with serenity. As sailors in ancient times prayed to Poseidon during ocean storms, as Jesus calmed the seas with a single word, it doesn’t matter what you call your higher power. It only matters that you find one you can rely on, and learn how to rely on it.

This may be a disappointing or disconcerting answer for some, but reference the 1st-Step again. If we are powerless and our lives are unmanageable, we will need access to power beyond ourselves (due to our lack of power) and we will need new management (trust and reliance upon a higher power).

Learn to Rely on Your Higher Power

Reliance upon ourselves has been the thing that allowed the storms of life to so easily shipwreck us. Crashed upon the rocks, devastated once again by problems other people seem to know how to solve, we lost our hope. Rescued from death, seizing the life preserver with the desperation of a drowning man, we get saved — and we find that “what seemed at first a flimsy reed, has proved to be the loving and powerful hand of God. A new life has been given us or, if you prefer, ‘a design for living’ that really works.”

This design for living — this new reliance upon a higher power — is not only what allows us to remain serene through anything life has to offer. It is what allows us to help other alcoholics and addicts avoid drowning and dying. By bravely working the 12-Steps and seeking to turn our reliance away from self and over to a higher power, we are able to meet calamity with equal serenity. We stand as a lighthouse upon rocky shores, illuminating the random darkness of life and helping to keep others from crashing.

Life is full of ups and downs on its own, but seemingly more so for the alcoholic or addict, who is plagued by pain, destruction, and chaos to an extreme degree. If you have struggled to achieve or maintain long-term sobriety and earnestly seek help in doing so, Jaywalker Lodge is here for you. It’s never too late to start your new life. To learn more, call us today at (866) 529-9255.

author avatar
Stefan Bate, MA, LAC, CCTP Chief Clinical Officer
Stefan Bate, BA, MA, LAC holds a Master's Degree in Applied Psychology from Regis University and is a Licensed Addiction Counselor in the state of Colorado. Stefan has wide-ranging experience in the field of addiction recovery including: working as a recovery coach, therapist, and program director.

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