The Serenity Prayer & the 12 Steps

“WOW! I just came from a church service and it reminded me of going to a 12 Step meeting! I never thought I’d find a church that taught the same principles as the Twelve Steps!” A young man was talking to me at a rehabilitation center where I work as a clergy counselor.

That didn’t surprise me one bit. You see, the philosopher/metaphysician Ernest Holmes, and Bill Wilson, the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, were friends. In fact, one of Ernest Holmes’ close friends said that he heard Ernest say that Alcoholics Anonymous was definitely the greatest spiritual impulsion of the 21st century!

On page 10 of the book Alcoholics Anonymous, Bill Wilson states, “I had always believed in a power greater than myself. I had often pondered these things….. My intellectual heroes, the chemists, the astronomers, even the evolutionists, suggested vast laws and forces at work. Despite contrary indications, I had little doubt that a mighty purpose and rhythm underlay all. How could there be so much of precise and immutable law and, and no intelligence? I simply had to believe in a Spirit of the Universe, who knew neither time nor limitation.

Compare this with the opening statements of Ernest Holmes’ radio programs, “There is a power for good in the Universe, greater than we are, and we can use it.”

Bill Wilson goes on to say on page 55, …for deep down in every man, woman, and child, is the fundamental idea of God.

In I Corinthians 3:16 it says: “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?”

And Ernest Holmes tells us on p. 227 of The Science of Mind, that “This power within you is the same that holds the planets in space.”

Bill Wilson continues… “But my friend sat before me and made the point-blank declaration that God had done for him what he could not do for himself.”

“It was only a matter of being willing to believe in a power greater than myself. Nothing more was required of me to make my beginning.”

The basic tenets of the Twelve Step Program are to believe in a higher power, to surrender to this higher power, to make amends to those one has hurt, to seek through prayer and meditation to improve one’s conscious contact with God, to be there as a support for others in recovery, and to practice the principles in daily living.

The Twelve Steps of Recovery have proven so powerful, that they have assisted millions of people in their recovery. Today, there are well over 60 varieties of twelve step meetings all over the world. Although the primary addiction of these meetings may be different, the twelve steps to recovery remain the same in all meetings. In addition to Alcoholics Anonymous, some other twelve step meetings are: Co-Dependents Anonymous, Debtors Anonymous, Gamblers Anonymous, Emotions Anonymous, Fundamentalists Anonymous, Parents Anonymous, Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous, Smokers’ Anonymous, Workaholics Anonymous, Seducers Anonymous, Messies Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous, and Marijuana Anonymous. There are also related groups some of which are: Al-Anon for families and friends of alcoholics, Alateen, Narcanon, Narcateen, and Adult Children of Alcoholics.

The Twelve Steps originated with Alcoholics Anonymous and have been adapted by all the other recovery groups with AA’s permission.

The Twelve Steps
1. We admitted we were powerless over our emotions — that our lives had become unmanageable.
2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understood Him.
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to emotionally and mentally ill persons, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

In addition to the Twelve Steps to Recovery, the watchword of all twelve step meetings is The Serenity Prayer, written by Reinhold Niebuhr *which says:

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can,
and wisdom to know the difference.

This is indeed a beautiful and inspiring prayer, and used by twelve step meetings all over the world. It implies that we need to be awake and aware of the events in our lives, and know which things we can change and which things we cannot change. But here is where Religious Science takes a different view. We say that no matter what the situation, there is always something we can change. What could that something be? That something is — our view of the situation. Even if we were in a concentration camp, or imprisoned in solitary confinement, it would be our view of the situation that would create our reality.

I am reminded of Abraham Maslow, who related in Man’s Search for Meaning how his attitude when he was a concentration camp prisoner literally saved him. While thousands of others gave up, he continued to assist others and exercise his mind and heart and emerged victorious!

Some of you may be thinking, “What do The Twelve Steps have to do with me and my life?” Well, in metaphysics we teach that the more we look at things which on the surface appear different from ourselves, when we look under the costumes and masks, and delve beneath the surface, we find, to our great satisfaction, that indeed, as Ernest Holmes so beautifully states: “There is One Life back of everything that lives…There is One Energy back of all that is energized. This Energy is in everything…That is the meaning of that mystical saying: “In Him we live, and move, and have our being.” (Acts 17:28)

*Reinhold Neibuhr (1892-1971) won fame as a writer and teacher. He served as dean of Union Theological Seminary in New York City from 1950 to 1960.

Niebuhr was born in Wright City, MO. He graduated from Yale Divinity School in 1915, was ordained and became pastor of an Evangelical church in Detroit, MI. Detroit was growing into a vast, industrial city. Niebuhr defended labor an criticized such industrialists as Henry Ford. He became an active Socialist and a leader of the “social gospel” liberal Christians.

In 1928 he became as assistant professor of the philosophy of religion at Union Seminary. He was gradually disillusioned by Marxism, fascism, pacifism, and the “social gospel” theology. By 1929, he ranked as a leading anti-social gospel theologian. He worked on a theology that would retain Reformation values, apply to present-day social problems. He edited a small journal, Christianity an Society.

His writings include Moral Man and Immoral Society (1932), the two-volume Nature and Destiny of Man (1941 and 1943), Christianity and Power Politics (1940), and Discerning the Signs of the Times (1946).

Rev. Dr. Rainbow Johnson
ADAAP Outreach Minister

Austin Drug & Alcohol Abuse Program

Austin Drug & Alcohol Abuse Program (ADAAP) is dedicated to drug and alcohol rehabilitation solutions that work. While there is no “magic solution” to the addiction of drug and alcoholism, we have developed a community-based rehabilitation services that work for the individual patient. We are committed to finding the right combination of rehabilitation service to change the behaviours or a pattern of repeated alcohol and drug abuse. Austin Drug & Alcohol Abuse Program sole purpose is to fill this need in the Austin, Texas and surrounding areas.

Austin Drug & Alcohol Abuse Program believes that successful recovery and rehabilitation occur when help is enlisted from accredited professionals in the drug and alcohol field across Austin, Texas. It is our hope and goal that each and every afflicted patient will feel supported by the wide-range of alcohol and drug support meetings offered locally in our area. We hope that through this support our patients will find their way on a new positive journey of rehabilitation and recovery.

Drug and alcohol rehabilitation does not always work but when it does, patients are able to emerge into a new life they did not think was possible for them. It takes a community of people with different points of view, to show recovery from addiction from the darkness to the light and a new way of living. This is the secret to Austin Drug & Alcohol Abuse Program’s philosophy.

If you or a loved one is abusing drugs and/or alcohol, please give us a call today to start your new way of living. There is hope in the fight against alcoholism and drug addiction. Take this opportunity to turn your life around and free yourself from the burdens of chemical dependency. Your freedom from addiction is worth it. You are worth it! Why risk an accidental overdose or worse death. We are here with open arms with professionals in alcohol and drug treatment to help!

Your loved ones don’t want you to wait. Do this for you! Even if it seems they’ve given up on you, only you can make the decision to change and turn your life around before it’s too late!

Please call Austin Drug & Alcohol Abuse Program at 512/454-8081 today or go to to make an appointment and see what our Program has to offer you for your recovery.

DWI Program

1st Time Offender DWI/DUI Programs


ADAAP’s 1st time offender DWI Program educates DWI offenders on the debilitating effects alcohol & drugs have on their driving skills, and the tragic consequences that all too often occur, afterwards.  Attendees identify their own drinking/drug habits, and how it affects their driving patterns.

A state certified instructor leads each class through a series of Multimedia presentations, Group tutorials & frank Discussions  that provide offenders a groundwork to develop plans to reduce the probability of future DWI episodes.

The DWI Program fulfills requirements mandated for 1st time DWI/DUI offenders by the Texas Commission on Alcohol & Drug Abuse.  Several Classes are held each Month, at various times.

For more information Click Here

The Cost is $70.  Classes are limited to 25 attendees, & are filled  1st come, 1st serve basis.

ADAAP also offers a more intensive, 32 hour DWI Intervention Program.

Intensive Outpatient Program

Intensive Outpatient Treatment Program

Austin Drug and Alcohol Abuse Program’s 60-Hour Intensive Outpatient Treatment Program is geared to assist individuals who are chemically dependent or have been assessed within the problematic range of habitual drug or alcohol abuse. The curriculum focuses on the bio-psychosocial perspective of addiction looking at the biological psychological, and social causes of addiction. This program also allow clients to continue in work and family life, promotes bonding among clients, and they allow clients to practice relapse prevention techniques in real-life situations.
  • Weekdays 9:30-1:00pm Mon, Tues, Wed
  • Weeknights 6:00 – 9:30 pm Tues, Wed, Thur
  • Weekends 9:00 – 2:00 pm Sat and Sun

What will I learn?

Our Intensive Outpatient Program is 12-Step based, however here at our facility you will be working steps 1-5. You will develop an understand of how drugs has caused unmanageability in your life, you will develop and understanding of what a higher power is, you will learn how to utilize your higher power and you will develop and inventory of your life then discuss your findings with your sponsor. The following steps 6-12 you will work with your sponsor.
Additional to working the 12 steps we will explore the family system,identifying which roles we may fall into. We will discuss the disease concept emphasizing the characteristics of a disease. You will develop a relapse prevention plan to aid you in dealing with your addiction issues when you are discharged from the program. We will began the development of healthy communication, coping , and problem solving skills as we know these are vital to the recovery of substance addiction. We will look at where you received your value system and how our value system affects our choices. We will explore the issues related to parenting and stress as well as co-dependency. We will look at the many issues related to self-esteem and explore ways into developing positive self esteem.
You will also learn about viruses and diseases related to substance dependence. We will learn about Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Tuberculous (TB), Hepatitis C (as well as A and B), and Acquired Human Immunodeficiency Virus (AIDS).
We know that this is a new life changing experience for you and Austin Drug and Alcohol Abuse Program will be happy to aid you during this phase of transition. Starting a road to recovery is difficult process and as is with any change there is adversity. Austin Drug and Alcohol Abuse Program will equip you with the necessary skills and strategies needed in order to began a life of sobriety.


Relapse Outpatient Program (IOP)

Outpatient Relapse Treatment Programs

Relapse prevention is the method of teaching recovering patients identify and manage relapse warning signs. Relapse prevention is the primary focus for those who have difficulties staying sober. Recovery from substance abuse is not only the absence of abusing substances it is a full return to biological psychological and social functioning. Patients struggling with relapse and relapse-based issues are invited to join this interactive therapy program that targets specific triggers and the special coping skills needed to transcend them. Individuals in this program share experiences and focus on social, work and leisure environments to avoid common addiction pitfalls. These patients are encouraged to confront self-defeating behaviors through personal and spiritual reflection. By recognizing their behavioral patterns, we hope these recovering addicts learn to strengthen specific coping skills, thereby increasing their chance of a full and successful recovery.

If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms you may be interested in seeking help:

  • Have a mistaken belief that causes irrational thoughts
  • Began to return to addictive thinking pattern that cause painful feelings
  • Engage in compulsive, self-defeating behaviors as away to avoid the feelings
  • Seek out situations involving people who use mood-altering substances
  • Find yourself in a situation in which drug or alcohol use seems like a logical escape from their pain, and then use alcohol or drugs.

Upon completion of the relapse prevention plan you will be able to:

  • Abstain from alcohol and other mood altering substances
  • Separate from people, places, and things that promote the use of alcohol or drugs, and establish a social network that supports recovery
  • Stop self-defeating behaviors that prevent awareness of painful feelings and irrational thoughts
  • Learn how to manage feelings and emotions responsibly without resorting to compulsive behavior or the use of alcohol or drugs
  • Learn how to change addictive thinking patterns that create painful feelings and self-defeating behaviors
  • Identify and change the mistaken core beliefs about oneself, others, and the world that promote irrational thinking.

8 Week Relapse Prevention Outpatient Treatment Program Schedule.

  • Weeknights 6:00 pm– 9:30 pm Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays
  • Weekends 9:00 am – 2:00 pm Saturday and Sunday
  • Weekdays 9:30 am – 1:00 pm Monday, Tuesday, Wednesdays


Approach • Desire • Access • Ambition • Possibilities