As An Addict, What Does It Mean To Surrender?

We know that our lives are hitting bottom. We feel we have nothing left to live for. The daily fear and anxiety overwhelm us. We fear we are killing ourselves. We are not sure we want to stop.

We’ve tried everything we can think of—accountability, moderating our consumption, quitting cold turkey, hypnosis, counseling, church and meds. The problem isn’t getting better, it’s only getting worse. If only we could muster up our willpower. If only we could find the right solution, the plan that would help us to drink normally.

We’ve been told to give up the battle, to stop fighting, to surrender. But this sounds like the worst possible option. Surrender? Just let the addiction take over completely without a fight? The idea of surrender is scary because we assume it means game over, alcohol wins…But that’s not the case.

Surrendering Not To Addiction, But To God

But when we surrender, we’re not surrendering to alcoholism. We’re surrendering to God.

What Does It Mean To Surrender-Christian Drug Rehab“Over a period of drinking years, we’ve proved to ourselves and to everyone else that we can’t stop drinking by our own willpower. We have been proved helpless before the power of alcohol. So the only way we could stop drinking was by turning to a Power greater than ourselves. We call that Power God. The time that you really get this program is when you get down on your knees and surrender yourself to God, as you understand Him. Surrender means putting your life into God’s hands” (Twenty-Four Hours a Day, March 2).

When we surrender, we aren’t handing ourselves over to the addiction, though initially it feels that way and that’s why it frightens us. But it is actually the safest thing we can do because it means we’re putting ourselves into the hands of God. But what does this really mean? How do we do it?

Being Honest About Ourselves And Admit That We Are Powerless

We begin by attempting to look honestly at our lives, and our circumstances, and what we have become. When we are honest, we have to see that we really are powerless to stop the march of the addiction. We have tried and we have fought, but we have been defeated. We must feel the weight of our desperation and admit that we are powerless over this disease.

This is a most vulnerable place, because if God will not rush in to save us, we will be utterly overcome. This, however, is the beginning of faith; the belief in things not seen. And what we find is that the minute we will, with whatever shred of faith we can muster, admit that we are powerless and that we need God’s help, He is quick to come to our rescue.

This is Step One. We admit that we are powerless over alcohol and that our lives have become unmanageable. We can’t see how things will get better and how all of the knots of our lives will be untangled, but we have, in desperation, admitted the truth. Now we are on the path to healing.

The entire 12 Step program is designed to lead us on from this point. Surrender is a lifelong process of aligning our will with God’s, and each of the Steps builds our surrender muscles while weeding out pride and ego. Surrender, though it looks cowardly to us at the outset, proves to be the greatest test of courage, bravery and faith. As we humble ourselves and surrender to God, we heal and recover. We also find peace and joy as we stop trying to fight against the current of life.

Are We Surrendering Or Fighting?

As we continue through the Steps and as we grow in recovery, we will have to continually check ourselves. Are we surrendering or are we fighting? Are we trying to maintain ego and a sense of personal power over life circumstances, or are we turning our wills and our lives over to the care of God? We will know we are surrendering and letting go when we feel peace in our spirits. As we grow in the practice of prayer and meditation, we will feel God’s leading and hear His voice more clearly. As we become humble before Him, we will be moved in the direction that is our perfect, God-designed path. Far from weakness or cowardice, our ability to humbly surrender becomes our greatest source of strength.

It is when we try to make our will conform to God’s that we begin to use it rightly. To all of us, this was a most wonderful revelation. Our whole trouble had been the misuse of will power. We had tried to bombard our problems with it instead of attempting to bring it into agreement with God’s intention for us. To make this increasingly possible is the purpose of A.A.’s Twelve Steps” (A.A. Twelve and Twelve, 40).

Let Go And Let God…Harder Than It Sounds, But Oh So Worth It!