I have witnessed many wonderful transformations in recovery programs. Nothing is comparable to watching individuals finally realizing their powerlessness and surrendering control of their lives. It happened to me, and quite honestly, I thought I may be at the hopeless stage and would live as an active alcoholic until I died. But I gave it a shot, and began to see a little light, until the light became like a sunny day. I had an epiphany, and realized my unmanagability to stop doing those things that kept me from living anything that resembled a good life.
That epiphany revealed a paradox. I must lose to win. I had to lose every thought of trying to control drinking or drugging. I know that not everyone who reads these blogs have had a drinking/drug use problem, so I’ll give you an example.
In a broken relationship, one of the two may have the notion of returning the relationship to being a couple again. So they call their partner and express their desire to get back together. Unfortunately, the other party doesn’t feel the same. So the one calls the other many times daily, follows the other everywhere they go, relentlessly in pursuit of making the other agree to getting back together…all in vain. The pursuee now detests the pursuer, and never will desire to being with this controlling monster again.
Had the first party not called after the initial call, saying they wanted to get back together, and just went on in pain, the second party may have had time to think, and desire to get back together as well. It’s our ego-centric notion of controlling the other, thinking we will win by our own power, or our will power, that takes us to utter defeat.
When we surrender, we can receive the needed help. When we surrender, our broken life becomes repairable because we want to be fixed and listen to advice, taking necessary actions to get well. When we’re surrendered, we give God something to work with. He can re-work us into a vessel to refill. Surrender is losing, its dying to self, its losing to win. This is where the broken, defeated alcoholic/addict starts to recover. This is where the light comes on.
People come into churches with the notion of getting their life together. Sometimes these folks have been beaten up in life by addictions, divorce, bankruptcy, job loss, and a host of other reasons. Nonetheless, here, as in AA/NA, people come in to see what’s inside, if this is real. Once they hear and believe, then surrender their control over to God, their lives are transformed. As in recovery, they lose to win. Why does this have to be the way for us to truly succeed in recovery, or in the transformation from darkness in light? Why can’t I have a role in controlling my own life?
“You shall have no other gods before Me.” Exodus 20:3 (NKJV)
We don’t want to hear of anything that takes away our position of running our universe. The secular world says its puritanical to think we cannot make decisions in our own lives without prayer. It’s our life, we shouldn’t have to consult an unseen force to make us do the right thing. What feels good to you is the right thing. And the notion that a God would actually concern him/herself with you, if there even were such a deity, is absurd.
This is the way of thinking in our world today that have helped us reach the point of epidemic, where drugs and alcoholism are concerned. These thoughts control our education, our courts, the movie industry, and nearly all media outlets. And look where we are. We have controlled our environment into chaos, placing ourselves in the position of God. We may not worship statues, we do worship other gods…ourselves.
The first of ten commandments wasn’t given to enslave our lives. This law was given to protect us from our own misguided drives to rule everything and everyone. When we recognized there is no god to before the only God, we experience the broken chains of self-will that enslave us. Freedom comes when we die to selfish desire, and become desirous of putting others ahead of us, under God’s leadership. His rule brings joy and peace, not tyranny.
People who have gotten free of their addictions are well aware of this truth. You cannot convince them that they have control of their life. The proof is in their control led them into complete ruin. If you look around in your own life and see areas of struggle, maybe your children won’t hear anything you say, your spouse lives at the local saloon, your boss doesn’t see your worth, etc. Just give up, surrender, forget about it, tell God…this is your problem now. I give up. If you want my success or failure, I’m okay with that.
Now you have given Him a vessel He can use. He will do extraordinary things, you will know complete victory. Or leave things as they are, keep trying your way. Keep doing what you’re doing, and you’ll keep getting what you’re getting. The transformation is real, it’s lasting, but we must know it is not a one time action. Daily surrender to Him. He in turn will rule and orchestrate a beautiful life for you.
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all. Keith