Wednesday, June 24, 2009


The quality of mercy is not strain’d,

It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven

Upon the place beneath:

it is twice blest;

It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:

Shakespeare, "Merchant of Venice"


Admittedly,the following is simply my opinion on the topic of granting, gifting, earning and deserving.

Each day I say our shortened Serenity Prayer (more than once!):

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.

In asking God to 'grant' me this serenity, I am asking for an outright gift with no strings. I'm not asking for something for which I've worked. I'm not asking for something which I deserve. I am simply asking God to bestow on me a gift, for which I will not be required to pay a price.

The same for Courage, the same for Wisdom. I am not aware of a college degree in "Wisdom", or "Courage". I am not talking about the Land of Oz here. I cannot "earn" Wisdom, Courage, or Serenity. Certainly I have done nothing to "deserve" these free gifts.

The same is so with my sobriety. Having the obsession for alcohol lifted from me was a gift--but such a wonderful miracle of a gift! I did not earn it, I do not deserve it. It was given me by God, and I did take it, for a gift IS twice blest--in him who gives and him who receives. Without two parts, a giver and a receiver, there is naught but a non-gift.

I believe God offers this gift--and similar ones--to many--not all--of us. Shamefully, so few reach out and take it from their Higher Power. If God is capable of sadness (and I believe He is), I'm sure many God-tears are spilt over drunks who, in essence, refuse the gift, so freely given.

I guess one point I wish to make--and have not made here--is that we who have stayed sober for many years have truly been "chosen" to embark on this highway of sobriety and spirituality. And to a greater or lesser extent we have cooperated with God, in working our program.

There are many who had not nor have not the opportunity for a sober life which I enjoy, which I accepted.

My great sadness is for those who HAVE been given this gift, and who have simply refused to follow the path so well laid out in our Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.

In Gratitude then, at home or away from home, I try to carry the message of God's Great Gift to others who are still suffering--some new to our program, others many months or years sober. Length of sobriety does not insure against suffering. Working with others DOES!

Ya know I never once had the thought that I deserved sobriety, or that I earned it. At age 43, I "earned" a Master's Degree, and boy--earned--THAT'S the truth! I only wish that my degree could have been been in Wisdom, Courage, and Serenity. But I am using those gifts now, not at their potential, of course. That reminds me:

When I die...my tombstone should read; HERE LIES STEVE--HE HAD GREAT POTENTIAL 1933-2035.


Tibet has an average elevation of 16,000 feet. It is not a likely candidate for a tidal wave. But ya never know--fossils of sea creatures have been found there in the rocks. It was under water at one time.
Parts of "Trivia" are taken from L.M. Boyd's "Curiosity Shop"

I gotta move on, but not before wishing for you all Peace, and extending to all you bloggers, "my real friends"...Love.

Steve E


Mike Golch said...

this is a great message.thank you for sharing it.

Ed G. said...

Personally, I'm a huge fan of grace.

It explains a lot.

It also is sufficient unto this day.

Blessings and aloha...

Zanejabbers said...

Hi, my friend.

The Web Prophet said...

I love your trivia! It made me think and laugh at the same time. What could be better?

Sierra Wolf said...

I think that we are all "chosen" by God. He has a purpose for us all, even for those who never acheive sobriety.

Mary Christine said...

And I might be proud of my education or my accomplishments, but never my sobriety. It makes me want to weep with gratitude because I could work for a lifetime and never come close to earning it or repaying it.

Just Be Real said...

Amen, there Sweet Stevie......

Gin said...

I believe God is capable of sadness too. My husband once felt close to God and now that he has pulled away from him I sometimes imagine the sadness that God feels about that. He created us in his image right? So if we have the feeling of sadness, he must too.

Shadow said...

do i love your words today. i do! i do! i do!

Anonymous Drifter said...

What a wonderful post.

Prayer Girl said...

There is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that God 'gave' me the gift of sobriety when I woke up from my last drunk and that all that has happened since has been because I reached out and 'took' that precious gift.

I allowed myself to receive the gift He gave me.


Syd said...

Great post Steve. I wish that all would practice these steps. Life would be so good for them if they did.

Gledwood said...

So what's the longer Serenity Prayer..?

Steve E. said...

Gledwood, go here:


Why not consider posting an Email address somewhere on your blog, it would be helpful?

Cat said...

The shakespere quote really hits home with me today - I wrote about giving and taking...

Findon said...

I've just been talking to a sponsee and he said " You know that you and two others were what kept me coming to meetings in the early days. I wanted what you three had. I don't think I would have made it if it weren't for you three". I was speechless, because I had never looked on his sobriety like that. What a gift to receive back all these years after. He thanked us for being us. And what a gift the programme gave us. It gave us ourselves, but we didn't even know it. Great post.

Carol said...

We all take a twisty path to get here. I was walking that labrynthe a couple weeks ago and asked myself why I ever thought that my life would be a straight line when all of nature is swoops and curves.