A curious thing noted in the recovery rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, is what surrender means to the individual that wants to remain clean and sober. People not addicted to drink and drug tell us we must put up a fight to free ourselves from these horrible addictions. In fact, they get extremely irritated by a loved one that has a drinking, or drugging problem. If they cannot convince the loved one to stop the abuse, they play their ace, and toss out the loved one on their ear, or at least threaten to. In their opinion, they believe they know what they are doing. That may be justified if the addict/alcoholic is creating turmoil, or poses a threat of violence, or robbing you blind.
If you are in a real battle in war, you understand the word surrender entirely. Surrounded by enemies pointing their weapons at you seems to be the best reason to abandon your hope of escape, throw down your weapon, throw up your hands, and cease fighting. The enemy may take you to a camp with other prisoners, you may be humiliated, tortured, and eventually executed. In most cases, the surrenderee stays imprisoned until freed by their allies or the war ends. We all understand this. Some unfortunate ones have experienced living as a POW, the rest of us have watched movies, which is the preferred method.
In the recovery from addictions however, surrender is entirely different. Surrender is acceptance of our low estate, yielding any hope of “handling it.” We cannot handle anything, and we know it. We are not placed in a cell to rot away until someone frees us. Surrender here means being set free, loosened from the slavery of self-will and substances controlling our lives and wills, torturing our thoughts, ruining any chance of living in joy and peace. As we humbly cede to utter defeat, we can throw up our hands in freedom and worship to God, our rescuer. We can pick up our weapons and fight the “good fight” against our real enemies, self-will, self-destruction, and low self-esteem. We are liberated by surrender!
It begins with these words found in AA/NA’s 12 steps. Step one: “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol/drugs, that our lives had become unmanageable.” This admission was the beginning of our steps to emancipation through surrender. The good news is, surrender to addictions power, and the ensuing freedom, is the beginning of living a surrendered life. Seeing the change we experienced from relinquishing our controlling the problem, we can choose to surrender every dark area of our existence that we rule over without God’s help. Many do just that. Some stay clean and sober, but go no further, some unfortunately, choose to continue fighting the lost cause, refusing to admit defeat.
Ultimate surrender is found in pages of the “Word of the Living,” the Bible. Paul wrote in the letter to the Galatian believers; “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me. And the life that I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved ME, and gave His life for ME. (2:20 NKJV) Here is the the best definition of submission through death of self-will, and living life in a new freedom by acceptance of our supposed loss of control. Die to live, surrender to freedom.
The dear ones telling us to take control of ourselves may never understand our ceasing to battle the addiction, how sad for them. They have an addiction(s) as well, thinking they know “all you have to do is”… That is their attempt to control. They have other addictions as well, just not the ones we fight. We can live in this yeilding of self so they may see our change, and then we may help them to understand too. Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all. Keith