Table of Contents

The Serenity Prayer and 12 Step Recovery: Substance Abuse Help

serenity prayers

Clinically Reviewed by: Dr. Robin Campbell, LMFT, PHD

The Serenity Prayer and Twelve Step Recovery

Substance abuse treatment services have evolved significantly over the years, incorporating various methods to help individuals overcome drug abuse and substance use disorders. Among the most effective approaches are the Twelve Step Recovery programs, which utilize the full Serenity Prayer as a cornerstone of their spiritual and practical guidance. The AA prayer, also known as the Serenity Prayer, is attributed to theologian Reinhold Niebuhr and was initially used in different publications and contexts before being adopted by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Originally popularized by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and detailed in the book “Alcoholics Anonymous,” these programs based on spiritual principles offer a comprehensive path to recovery. Participants often engage in residential programs, individual counseling, and church groups, receiving the social support necessary for maintaining abstinence. This blog explores the significance of the Serenity Prayer and Twelve Step Recovery in addressing substance use disorders, highlighting their role in transforming lives and fostering long-term sobriety.


What is The Full Serenity Prayer?

The Serenity Prayer is a concise yet profound invocation that has offered solace and guidance to millions of individuals facing difficult situations. The most widely known version reads:

“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.”

The Serenity Prayer is more than a simple request for peace, courage, and wisdom; it encapsulates a philosophy of living that emphasizes acceptance, proactive change, and discernment. The prayer encourages individuals to recognize the limitations of their control over life’s circumstances, to summon the bravery to effect positive changes within their sphere of influence, and to cultivate the discernment to distinguish between what can and cannot be altered.



The Serenity Prayer is commonly attributed to the American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, who is believed to have written it in the early 1930s. Niebuhr was a prominent figure in the fields of theology and social ethics, and his work has had a lasting impact on Christian thought and practice. Although the exact origins of the prayer are somewhat murky, it is generally accepted that Niebuhr first used it in a sermon, and it was later included in a book of prayers published in 1943.

The prayer gained widespread popularity through its adoption by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and other twelve-step programs. In the context of AA, the Serenity Prayer serves as a foundational element, providing a framework for members to navigate the challenges of recovery. It was first introduced to AA in the early 1940s and quickly became an integral part of the group’s literature and meetings.

In some contexts, a longer version of the Serenity Prayer is used, which provides additional depth and context:

“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. Living one day at a time, Enjoying one moment at a time, Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace, Taking, as He did, this sinful world As it is, not as I would have it, Trusting that He will make all things right If I surrender to His Will; So that I may be reasonably happy in this life And supremely happy with Him Forever and ever in the next. Amen.”


The Twelve Steps and the Serenity Prayer

The Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous

The Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) are a set of guiding principles for individuals struggling with alcoholism. These steps outline a course of action for recovery, self-improvement, and spiritual growth. Here they are:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
    • Acceptance of the problem and its impact on one’s life.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
    • Recognizing the need for external help and support.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
    • Commitment to a higher power and the relinquishing of control.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
    • Conducting an honest self-assessment of personal faults and shortcomings.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
    • Confession of past wrongdoings to foster accountability and humility.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
    • Preparation for change and personal growth.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
    • Seeking divine assistance in overcoming personal flaws.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
    • Acknowledging the impact of one’s actions on others and preparing to make reparations.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
    • Actively making restitution for past wrongs.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
    • Maintaining ongoing self-awareness and rectifying mistakes as they occur.
  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.
    • Engaging in regular spiritual practices to strengthen the connection with a higher power.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
    • Sharing the lessons learned with others and integrating the principles into daily life.


Connection to the Serenity Prayer

The Serenity Prayer is often recited at the beginning of AA meetings and is deeply interwoven with the Twelve Steps. It reflects the underlying philosophy of acceptance, courage, and wisdom that is essential for recovery. The prayer serves as a reminder for members to focus on what they can control and to seek the strength and clarity to face their challenges.


What are the Uses for The Serenity Prayer and Twelve Step Recovery?

Uses for The Serenity Prayer

The Serenity Prayer is widely used in various contexts for its calming and guiding principles. Here are some of its common uses:

Addiction Recovery Programs:

  • The prayer is a cornerstone in twelve-step recovery programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA), and other support groups. It is often recited at the beginning or end of meetings to center participants and remind them of the principles of acceptance, courage, and wisdom. The Serenity Prayer helps individuals with substance use disorder by providing a framework for acceptance, courage, and wisdom, which are crucial for long-term recovery and sobriety.


Personal Reflection and Meditation:

  • Individuals use the Serenity Prayer in their personal meditation or prayer practices. It helps them to focus on what they can control, let go of what they cannot, and seek the wisdom to understand the difference.


Stress and Anxiety Relief:

  • The prayer is used as a tool to manage stress and anxiety by promoting acceptance of uncontrollable circumstances and encouraging proactive change in manageable areas.


Spiritual Guidance:

  • Many people incorporate the Serenity Prayer into their daily spiritual practices as a way to connect with a higher power and seek guidance in their lives.


Conflict Resolution:

  • The principles of the Serenity Prayer can be applied to resolving conflicts by helping individuals accept differing viewpoints, find the courage to communicate effectively, and discern the best course of action.


Uses for The Twelve Steps of Recovery

The Twelve Steps provide a structured framework for recovery from addiction and are used in various ways:

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Other Support Groups:

  • The Twelve Steps are the foundation of AA and similar programs such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA), Gamblers Anonymous (GA), and Overeaters Anonymous (OA). These steps guide individuals through the process of acknowledging their addiction, seeking help, making amends, and maintaining sobriety.


Personal Development:

  • Even outside of addiction recovery, the Twelve Steps can be used for personal growth and self-improvement. The steps encourage self-awareness, accountability, and spiritual development.


Counseling and Therapy:

  • Therapists and counselors may integrate the Twelve Steps into their practice to help clients work through various issues, not just addiction. The steps provide a clear, actionable path to recovery and healing.


Peer Support:

  • The Twelve Steps foster a sense of community and mutual support among individuals facing similar challenges. Sharing experiences and working through the steps together can provide emotional and practical support.


Spiritual Practices:

  • Many people use the Twelve Steps as a guide for spiritual practices, focusing on principles such as humility, forgiveness, and service to others.


Relapse Prevention:

  • The steps include ongoing practices like personal inventory (Step 10) and seeking spiritual growth (Step 11), which help individuals maintain their progress and prevent relapse.


Educational Programs:

  • The Twelve Steps are often included in educational programs about addiction and recovery to provide a comprehensive understanding of the recovery process.


By providing a structured yet flexible approach to recovery and personal growth, the Serenity Prayer and the Twelve Steps have proven to be invaluable tools for countless individuals seeking to overcome addiction, manage stress, and achieve a more balanced and fulfilling life.


The Serenity Prayer in Everyday Life During Recovery

The Serenity Prayer, with its focus on acceptance, courage, and wisdom, serves as a powerful tool for individuals in recovery. Here are some practical ways it can be applied in everyday life:

  1. Acceptance of Unchangeable Situations:
  • Daily Challenges: Recovery often involves facing difficult situations, such as relationship strains, job loss, or financial difficulties. The Serenity Prayer helps individuals accept these challenges without succumbing to stress or frustration.
  • Past Mistakes: Those in recovery must often confront their past actions and their consequences. The prayer encourages acceptance of past mistakes, fostering forgiveness and self-compassion.


  1. Cultivating Courage for Change:
  • Behavioral Changes: Recovery requires significant lifestyle and behavioral changes. The prayer provides the courage to make and sustain these changes, such as avoiding triggers, establishing healthy routines, and seeking support.
  • Making Amends: Steps 8 and 9 of the Twelve Steps involve making amends to those harmed by one’s addiction. The prayer gives the courage to face these situations with honesty and humility.


  1. Wisdom for Discernment:
  • Decision Making: Recovery often involves making difficult decisions about relationships, work, and daily activities. The prayer aids in developing the wisdom to make sound, healthy choices.
  • Setting Boundaries: It helps in recognizing the need to set and maintain boundaries with people and situations that may jeopardize sobriety.


  1. Stress and Anxiety Management:
  • Mindfulness Practice: Reciting the Serenity Prayer can be a form of mindfulness, helping individuals stay grounded and focused on the present moment, reducing anxiety about the future or regrets about the past.
  • Calming Ritual: Incorporating the prayer into daily rituals, such as morning routines or moments of stress, can provide immediate calm and reassurance.


  1. Enhancing Spiritual Growth:
  • Daily Reflection: Integrating the prayer into daily reflection or meditation practices can deepen one’s spiritual connection and provide ongoing support and guidance.
  • Spiritual Awakening: The prayer aligns with the spiritual awakening promoted by the Twelve Steps, encouraging ongoing personal and spiritual growth.


  1. Improving Relationships:
  • Empathy and Understanding: The prayer fosters empathy and understanding in relationships, helping individuals to accept others’ flaws and focus on changing their own behavior.
  • Conflict Resolution: It aids in approaching conflicts with a calm, rational mindset, promoting peaceful and constructive resolutions.


  1. Building Resilience:
  • Handling Setbacks: Recovery is a long journey with potential setbacks. The prayer helps build resilience by reinforcing the importance of acceptance and perseverance.
  • Maintaining Sobriety: The ongoing practice of the Serenity Prayer can be a daily reminder of the recovery journey, helping to maintain focus and commitment to sobriety.


By incorporating the Serenity Prayer into everyday life, individuals in recovery can develop a balanced approach to handling life’s challenges, fostering emotional stability, and promoting long-term sobriety and personal growth.


What Kinds of Addiction and Recovery Utilize the Serenity Prayer?

The Serenity Prayer is widely utilized in various types of addiction and recovery programs. Here are some of the primary kinds of addiction and recovery contexts in which the Serenity Prayer is commonly used:

1. Alcohol Addiction

  • Alcoholics Anonymous (AA): The prayer is a cornerstone of AA, providing spiritual support and guiding principles for those recovering from alcohol dependence.

2. Drug Addiction

  • Narcotics Anonymous (NA): Similar to AA, NA uses the Serenity Prayer to help individuals overcome addiction to drugs, including both prescription and illicit substances.
  • Other Drug-Specific Groups: Groups focusing on specific drugs, such as Cocaine Anonymous (CA) or Heroin Anonymous (HA), also incorporate the prayer into their recovery processes.

3. Behavioral Addictions

  • Gambling Addiction: Gamblers Anonymous (GA) uses the Serenity Prayer to support individuals seeking recovery from compulsive gambling.
  • Sex and Love Addiction: Groups like Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous (SLAA) utilize the prayer to help members manage and recover from addictive behaviors related to sex and relationships.
  • Food Addiction: Overeaters Anonymous (OA) and Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous (FA) use the Serenity Prayer to support those struggling with compulsive eating behaviors.

4. Co-Dependency

  • Co-Dependents Anonymous (CoDA): The Serenity Prayer is used by individuals seeking recovery from co-dependent behaviors and relationships, helping them find balance and independence.

5. Other Substance Addictions

  • Nicotine Addiction: Nicotine Anonymous (NicA) incorporates the Serenity Prayer into its meetings to support those quitting smoking or other forms of nicotine use.
  • Marijuana Addiction: Marijuana Anonymous (MA) uses the prayer to assist individuals in overcoming dependence on marijuana.

6. Dual Diagnosis Recovery

  • Programs for Co-Occurring Disorders: Individuals dealing with both addiction and mental health issues often find solace in the Serenity Prayer as it addresses both the acceptance of mental health challenges and the courage to pursue recovery.


Application in Various Contexts

Support Groups:

The prayer is a staple in many support group meetings, providing a moment of reflection and grounding at the beginning or end of each session.


Personal Reflection:

Individuals in recovery use the Serenity Prayer in their daily lives as a tool for personal meditation and reflection, helping them navigate the challenges of sobriety and recovery.


Therapeutic Settings:

Therapists and counselors may incorporate the Serenity Prayer into therapy sessions as a means of helping clients develop acceptance, courage, and wisdom in their recovery journey.


Relapse Prevention:

The principles of the Serenity Prayer can be applied to relapse prevention strategies, helping individuals stay focused on their recovery goals and manage triggers and cravings effectively.


Prevalence of The Serenity Prayer

The Serenity Prayer is one of the most widely recognized and frequently used prayers, especially within the context of recovery programs. Here is an overview of its prevalence and the various contexts in which it is commonly found:

Prevalence in Recovery Programs

  1. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA):
    • The Serenity Prayer is a fundamental part of AA meetings worldwide. It is often recited at the beginning and end of meetings, providing a sense of unity and purpose for participants.
  2. Narcotics Anonymous (NA):
    • Similarly, NA incorporates the prayer into its meetings, helping members find peace and strength in their recovery journey.
  3. Other Twelve-Step Programs:
    • Many other twelve-step programs, such as Overeaters Anonymous (OA), Gamblers Anonymous (GA), and Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous (SLAA), use the Serenity Prayer as a central component of their meetings and literature.


Prevalence in Religious and Spiritual Contexts

  1. Christian Churches:
    • The Serenity Prayer is commonly used in Christian services and personal devotions. It is often included in prayer books and religious literature.
  2. Interfaith and Non-Denominational Settings:
    • The prayer’s universal message makes it popular in interfaith services and non-denominational spiritual gatherings.


Prevalence in Mental Health and Counseling

  1. Therapeutic Use:
    • Therapists and counselors may suggest the Serenity Prayer to clients as a tool for managing stress, anxiety, and depression, especially in cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT).
  2. Support Groups:
    • Beyond addiction recovery, various support groups for mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, and grief, may incorporate the Serenity Prayer into their practices.


Prevalence in Personal Development

  1. Self-Help Literature:
    • The Serenity Prayer is frequently cited in self-help books and articles as a means of fostering acceptance, courage, and wisdom in everyday life.
  2. Personal Mantras:
    • Many individuals adopt the Serenity Prayer as a personal mantra, reciting it daily for guidance and peace.


Prevalence in Popular Culture

  1. Media and Literature:
    • The Serenity Prayer has appeared in numerous movies, television shows, and books, often as a symbol of hope and resilience.
  2. Public Awareness:
    • Its widespread recognition means that even those not involved in recovery programs are often familiar with the prayer, making it a common reference point in popular culture.


Statistics and Reach

While precise statistics on the use of the Serenity Prayer are difficult to obtain, its widespread adoption in AA and other twelve-step programs, which boast millions of members globally, indicates its extensive reach. For example:

  1. Alcoholics Anonymous:
    • As of recent estimates, there are over 2 million AA members worldwide, many of whom regularly recite the Serenity Prayer.
  2. Narcotics Anonymous:
    • NA has an estimated membership of over 70,000 groups in 144 countries, further spreading the use of the prayer.


The Serenity Prayer’s simple yet profound message resonates with a wide audience, making it a staple in recovery programs, religious and spiritual contexts, mental health and counseling, personal development, and popular culture. Its emphasis on acceptance, courage, and wisdom provides timeless guidance that transcends specific situations, contributing to its enduring prevalence.


Key Components

  1. Serenity:
    • Seeking peace and calm in accepting things that cannot be changed.
  2. Courage:
    • Finding the strength to change things that are within one’s control.
  3. Wisdom:
    • Developing the insight to distinguish between what can and cannot be changed.


Key Components of the Twelve Steps

  1. Admitting Powerlessness:
    • Recognizing the inability to control addiction.
  2. Belief in a Higher Power:
    • Trusting in a greater force for help and support.
  3. Surrendering to Higher Power:
    • Turning over control to the higher power.
  4. Moral Inventory:
    • Conducting an honest self-assessment.
  5. Admitting Wrongs:
    • Confessing past mistakes to oneself, a higher power, and others.
  6. Readiness for Change:
    • Preparing to have character defects removed.
  7. Asking for Removal:
    • Seeking the higher power’s help to eliminate shortcomings.
  8. Making Amends List:
    • Listing those harmed and becoming willing to make amends.
  9. Making Direct Amends:
    • Directly addressing and rectifying past wrongs.
  10. Personal Inventory:
    • Continuing self-assessment and admitting faults promptly.
  11. Seeking Spiritual Growth:
    • Using prayer and meditation to enhance spiritual connection.
  12. Carrying the Message:
    • Sharing the principles with others and practicing them in daily life.


How Does it Work?

Acceptance: The Serenity Prayer encourages internal peace by helping individuals accept situations beyond their control. This reduces stress and anxiety, fostering a positive outlook by letting go of frustration and helplessness.

Courage: It inspires empowerment, urging individuals to take proactive steps towards positive change within their control. This action-oriented approach promotes responsibility and necessary adjustments to improve life circumstances.

Wisdom: Seeking wisdom through the prayer helps in making informed decisions by distinguishing between what can be controlled and what cannot. This balanced approach ensures energy is focused on achievable goals, avoiding futile efforts.


How the Twelve Steps Work

Step 1: Admitting Powerlessness Acknowledging the problem fosters self-awareness and honesty, which is crucial for starting the recovery journey.

Step 2: Belief in a Higher Power Believing in a higher power instills hope and provides a sense of support beyond oneself, crucial for recovery.

Step 3: Surrendering to a Higher Power Letting go of control helps release the burden of managing addiction alone, fostering reliance on external support.

Step 4: Moral Inventory Conducting a thorough self-assessment identifies behavior patterns and underlying issues, essential for personal growth.

Step 5: Admitting Wrongs Confessing past mistakes promotes accountability and opens the path to healing, crucial for recovery.

Step 6: Readiness for Change Being ready to have defects removed signifies willingness to change, an important step in the recovery process.

Step 7: Asking for Removal Seeking help from a higher power to eliminate shortcomings emphasizes humility and the need for external support.

Step 8: Making Amends List Listing those harmed by one’s actions acknowledges the impact of addiction on others, fostering responsibility.

Step 9: Making Direct Amends Directly addressing and rectifying past wrongs helps repair relationships and restore personal integrity.

Step 10: Personal Inventory Continuously assessing oneself and promptly admitting faults helps maintain progress in recovery.

Step 11: Seeking Spiritual Growth Using prayer and meditation to strengthen spiritual connection supports ongoing recovery and personal growth.

Step 12: Carrying the Message Sharing the principles with others and practicing them in daily life fosters community and reinforces personal recovery.

Integration in Everyday Life

Routine practice of the Serenity Prayer and the Twelve Steps embeds these principles into daily habits, supporting continuous self-improvement. Engaging with support groups and sponsors provides guidance and accountability, while fostering a sense of community. These practices help build a healthier, more balanced life in recovery.


How Long Does Twelve Step Recovery Take?

Twelve Step Recovery does not have a fixed duration; it is an ongoing, lifelong process. The pace at which individuals progress through the steps varies based on personal circumstances and commitment. Some may take months to complete the initial steps, while others may take years. The focus is on continuous self-improvement, regular self-assessment, and ongoing participation in support groups to maintain sobriety and personal growth.


Goals of The Serenity Prayer

The primary goal of the Serenity Prayer is to help individuals find peace and balance in their lives by promoting acceptance, courage, and wisdom. Acceptance involves recognizing and coming to terms with things that cannot be changed, thereby reducing stress and fostering inner calm. The prayer encourages the courage to make positive changes where possible, empowering individuals to take proactive steps towards improving their circumstances. Finally, it seeks the wisdom to discern the difference between what can be changed and what cannot, helping individuals focus their efforts effectively and avoid unnecessary frustration.


Goals of Twelve Step Recovery

The goals of Twelve Step Recovery are multifaceted, aiming to help individuals achieve and maintain sobriety while fostering personal and spiritual growth. The program encourages self-awareness and accountability through steps that involve admitting powerlessness over addiction, conducting a moral inventory, and making amends for past wrongs. It promotes spiritual development by encouraging individuals to seek help from a higher power and to engage in regular prayer and meditation. The Twelve Steps also emphasize the importance of community and support, encouraging individuals to share their experiences and support others in their recovery journey. Overall, the Twelve Step program aims to help individuals build a healthier, more fulfilling life free from addiction.


Benefits of The Serenity Prayer and Twelve Step Recovery

Benefits of The Serenity Prayer

  1. Stress Reduction: Promotes inner peace by encouraging acceptance of uncontrollable situations.
  2. Empowerment: Inspires courage to make positive changes within one’s control.
  3. Clarity: Provides wisdom to discern between what can and cannot be changed, focusing efforts effectively.


Benefits of Twelve Step Recovery

  1. Sobriety: Helps individuals achieve and maintain long-term sobriety.
  2. Self-Awareness: Encourages honest self-assessment and accountability.
  3. Personal Growth: Fosters continuous personal and spiritual development.
  4. Support System: Builds a supportive community, offering mutual aid and encouragement.
  5. Improved Relationships: Promotes making amends and repairing relationships harmed by addiction.


Treatment Plans Using The Serenity Prayer and Twelve Step Recovery

  1. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA):
    • Incorporates both the Serenity Prayer and the Twelve Steps as central components of its meetings and recovery process.
  2. Narcotics Anonymous (NA):
    • Utilizes the Twelve Steps and the Serenity Prayer to support individuals recovering from drug addiction.
  3. Gamblers Anonymous (GA):
    • Applies the Twelve Steps and the Serenity Prayer to help individuals overcome compulsive gambling.
  4. Overeaters Anonymous (OA):
    • Uses the Serenity Prayer and the Twelve Steps to address issues related to compulsive eating and food addiction.
  5. Al-Anon and Alateen:
    • Support groups for families and friends of alcoholics, incorporating the Serenity Prayer and the Twelve Steps to cope with the effects of a loved one’s addiction.
  6. Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous (SLAA):
    • Employs the Twelve Steps and the Serenity Prayer to aid in recovery from sex and love addiction.

These treatment plans provide structured support and spiritual guidance, fostering recovery and personal growth.


Twelve Steps Statistics 

  1. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA):
    • Membership: Over 2 million members worldwide.
    • Groups: Approximately 120,000 groups globally.
    • Success Rate: Studies suggest that about 40-50% of AA members maintain long-term sobriety.
  2. Narcotics Anonymous (NA):
    • Membership: Over 70,000 groups in 144 countries.
    • Growth: NA has seen significant growth since its inception, with increasing participation globally.
  3. Gamblers Anonymous (GA):
    • Membership: Thousands of members worldwide.
    • Effectiveness: Many participants report significant improvement in managing gambling addiction through the Twelve Steps.
  4. Overeaters Anonymous (OA):
    • Membership: Over 6,500 groups worldwide.
    • Diverse Reach: OA addresses a wide range of eating disorders, from compulsive eating to anorexia and bulimia.
  5. Al-Anon and Alateen:
    • Membership: Hundreds of thousands of members.
    • Support Groups: Over 24,000 groups worldwide, providing support for families and friends of alcoholics.
  6. Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous (SLAA):
    • Membership: Thousands of members across various countries.
    • Meeting Groups: Numerous groups globally, focusing on recovery from sex and love addiction.


Additional Insights

  • Effectiveness: Studies have shown that participation in Twelve Step programs can significantly increase the likelihood of long-term recovery and sobriety.
  • Peer Support: The community and peer support aspect of these programs are crucial for many members, providing a sense of belonging and accountability.
  • Accessibility: Twelve Step programs are accessible worldwide, with meetings available in many languages and countries, making them one of the most widely used recovery frameworks.


Is The Serenity Prayer and Twelve Step Recovery Right for You?

Determining if the Serenity Prayer and Twelve Step Recovery are right for you involves assessing your personal beliefs, commitment to change, and willingness to engage in a structured support system. These programs are highly effective for many individuals seeking recovery from various addictions and compulsive behaviors, offering a blend of spiritual guidance, community support, and practical steps for personal growth. If you resonate with the principles of acceptance, courage, and wisdom, and are open to incorporating spiritual elements into your recovery journey, the Serenity Prayer and Twelve Step Recovery can provide a robust framework for achieving and maintaining sobriety. However, it’s essential to consider your unique needs and preferences, and consult with healthcare professionals or recovery specialists to ensure these approaches align with your overall treatment plan.


Does Insurance Cover Twelve Step Programs?

Insurance coverage for Twelve Step programs varies by provider and policy. While most insurance plans do not directly cover participation in Twelve Step groups like AA or NA, they often cover treatments that incorporate these programs, such as inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation centers, counseling, and therapy sessions. It’s essential to check with your specific insurance provider to understand the details of your coverage and any related services that may be included.


Common Insurance Types

  1. Health Maintenance Organization (HMO):
    • Requires using a network of doctors and hospitals.
    • Typically needs a primary care physician referral for specialists.
  2. Preferred Provider Organization (PPO):
    • Offers more flexibility in choosing healthcare providers.
    • Higher premiums but less restrictive than HMOs.
  3. Exclusive Provider Organization (EPO):
    • Coverage only for providers within the network.
    • No referrals needed for specialists.
  4. Point of Service (POS):
    • Combines features of HMOs and PPOs.
    • Requires a primary care physician referral for specialists but allows out-of-network visits at a higher cost.
  5. High-Deductible Health Plan (HDHP):
    • Lower premiums with higher deductibles.
    • Often paired with Health Savings Accounts (HSAs).
  6. Medicare:
    • Federal program for individuals 65 and older or with certain disabilities.
    • Includes Part A (hospital insurance), Part B (medical insurance), Part C (Medicare Advantage), and Part D (prescription drug coverage).
  7. Medicaid:
    • State and federal program providing health coverage for low-income individuals and families.
    • Eligibility and coverage vary by state.
  8. Employer-Sponsored Insurance:
    • Provided by employers as part of employee benefits.
    • May include a combination of HMO, PPO, EPO, or HDHP plans.
  9. Individual and Family Plans:
    • Purchased independently through the Health Insurance Marketplace or directly from insurers.
    • Available in various types, including HMO, PPO, EPO, and POS.



In conclusion, the Serenity Prayer and Twelve Step Recovery programs have proven to be invaluable in the realm of substance abuse treatment services. By addressing the spiritual and emotional needs of those struggling with drug abuse and substance use disorders, these programs provide a holistic approach to recovery. From the AA General Service Office to the first group meetings and armed forces adaptations, the Twelve Steps and the full Serenity Prayer have become instrumental in maintaining abstinence and promoting personal growth. Incorporating individual counseling, residential programs, and strong social support networks, these faith-based and spiritually guided methods offer a path to overcoming self-centeredness and achieving lasting sobriety. Whether through hands-on experience in a residential setting or the shared wisdom of a magazine column, the principles of AA and the longer prayer continue to inspire and support countless individuals on their journey to recovery.


Seeking Treatment? We Can Help!

At New Hope Healthcare, as an in-network provider we work with most insurance plans, such as:


If you or a loved one are struggling with mental health challenges or substance abuse, reach out to New Hope Healthcare today. Our team of compassionate professionals is here to support your journey towards lasting well-being. Give us a call at 866-799-0806

Frequently Asked Questions

The Serenity Prayer serves to provide individuals with a sense of peace and focus. It helps them accept things they cannot change, find the courage to change what they can, and gain the wisdom to know the difference. This prayer is often used at the beginning or end of meetings to center participants and reinforce the principles of the program.
Twelve Step programs provide a structured approach to recovery through a series of steps designed to help individuals overcome addiction. These steps involve admitting powerlessness over the addiction, seeking help from a higher power, conducting a moral inventory, making amends for past wrongs, and helping others in their recovery journey. Meetings offer peer support, accountability, and a sense of community.
No, you do not need to be religious to participate. While the Twelve Steps include spiritual elements and references to a higher power, many individuals interpret this in a way that aligns with their personal beliefs, whether they are religious, spiritual, or secular. The emphasis is on finding a source of strength outside oneself.
Yes, Twelve Step programs have been shown to be effective for many people. Studies indicate that participation in these programs can significantly increase the likelihood of long-term sobriety. The effectiveness often depends on the individual’s commitment to the program, regular attendance at meetings, and active engagement with the steps and the support community.
While most insurance plans do not directly cover participation in Twelve Step meetings, they often cover treatments that incorporate these programs, such as inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation, counseling, and therapy sessions. It’s important to check with your specific insurance provider to understand what related services are included in your coverage.

Get Help Now

Admission Coordinators are available 24/7.

Take Control Of Your Life and Call Now.