Surrender

Surrender implies turning acceptance into action. You accept your disease and surrender to the recovery process. It is an attitude you adopt when you begin a program of recovery that leads to freedom and the possibility of joy. Many addicts have a negative view of surrender that prevents this from happening.

Jacquelyn Small (Transformers: The Therapists of the Future, 1982) has described surrender in positive terms, and some of her ideas are the basis for this part of this module.

Surrender Process

If you view surrender as a process where you give up and some Higher Power becomes dominant and controlling, you are likely to see yourself as weak, pitiful, and helpless. This is not what happens when you participate in the surrender process required by the first three Steps.

When you admit powerlessness over your disease, you are acknowledging that your own ego alone is inadequate to defeat the powerful forces of addiction. Next you are willing to believe that a power outside your ego can be tapped into to help you.

And Step Three is learning to use that power in your life by turning your will over to the care of your Higher Power (or Program), however you may understand Him, Her, or It.

This act of surrender is a step that allows you to let go of the illusion of control and yield yourself to the hatural flow of life. When you do this you enter a transformational process in which you cooperate with the forces governing the universe rather than fighting them. It feels like the energy you get from “going with the flow” of a stream or a moving sidewalk.

Not Surrendering

Resisting surrender results in fear, rigidity, judgmentalism, humorlessness, fatigue, and a feeling that recovery is just too hard. Sometimes even the phrase “working the Steps” indicates a struggle to do it yourself rather than surrendering.

Imagine that you are a young child, and you wake up in the middle of the night. You are choking, from some acrid gas. A monster has hold of you, with a strange face and powerful arms. You scream and fight, but the monster does not let go. It carries you out of your house and into the street, with you kicking and screaming all the way. Only then do you see your parents, and they comfort you and thank the firefighter who just saved your life! Surrender may feel just like that.

Free and Joyous

Surrender, aided by acceptance, is being a full participant in life, being open, cooperating, and allowing yourself to be transformed into the person you always wanted to become. The surrender transformation allows you to become free and joyous, and have more meaning in your life.


Surrender, see also: Abuse, Acceptance, Amends, Attitudes, Fear, Freedoms, Grace, Gratitude, Openmindedness, Perfectionism, Prayer & meditation, Program, Self-image, Step Two, Step Three, Step Seven, Trust, Willingness.

Updated 11 Sep 2015

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Addictionary 2 by Jan & Judy Wilson

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