I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had no- where else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for that day.” -Abraham Lincoln

Many have wondered, “What does it take to lead a sober and drug-free life?” The answer is simple: surrender. The answer is simple but not easy.

When we finally admit our powerlessness over alcohol, our powerlessness over narcotics, our powerlessness over whatever substance or behavior has us defeated, we come to a fork in the road. This fork is where we either continue on to the bitter end or find a new way of life. At this point which is often referred to as ‘beaten into a state of reasonableness’, we admit defeat. We face the truth: clearly, we are in the grip of a continuous and progressive disease that gets worse over time, never better.

Literally, hundreds of thousands of resources are available to assist people suffering from the disease of addiction. Most communities abound with services created to help move people from addiction to recovery. From in-patient treatment to counseling centers, from therapists to detox facilities, the list goes on. Their intentions are noble, their visions are grand. But none can offer the fundamental ingredient to turn the key. The fundamental ingredient is surrender: the pivotal point when all efforts have failed, the way out seems impossible, and when ‘life caves in on itself’.

This profound act of surrender has helped millions of people begin their recovery process. Many people gather in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous and any number of sister programs to use the 12 step recovery process. Most of the men and women in ‘the rooms’ came broken under the lash of the disease of addiction which they neither recognized nor understood. Powerful emotions like rage, anger, sadness, and depression often accompany the vain attempts to drink or use like others. Often referred to as the “gift of desperation”, true blessings lie embedded in these challenging emotions. When channeled properly, these feelings lead to a new way of life.

Admitting powerlessness is an act of surrender. An all too common expression in the rooms of AA is, “Surrender to Win.” We learn to live one day at a time and we find a place of peace and serenity. We begin to find freedom in the midst of desperation. We learn to rely on a Power greater than ourselves.

Some of us have a moment of clarity, handing it to us on a silver platter. Others learn slowly over time by watching the powerful examples of those who demonstrate their willingness to surrender.

The path of recovery is a journey in self-discovery. One of the most important relationships you will have is with yourself. No one can do it for you, but you don’t have to do it alone. Surrender to have a life beyond your wildest dreams.


This article was written for ‘All 4 Your Addiction Recovery’ magazine in July of 2013

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