In the first installment of this series, we explored the Nature and Power of Honesty. In the second installment, we focused on the Nature and Power of Belief and Hope. Today, we will explore the Nature and Power of Surrender. This step confronts, conflicts, and challenges us to sacrifice self. It is the first step where action is required. A step that is radical in its approach. While the first step helps us understand and acknowledge our own weakness. The second step helps us prepare by realizing the need of a greater power than ourselves in order to restore hope. This third step requires we step out in great faith. It is a step of deconstruction and reconstruction.
Made a decision – a very radical decision
Our greatest desire and barrier to a sustaining and long term sober lifestyle is that of our illusion of control. We obsess over our need to control – people, places, things, and events. This is true when a person attempts to control, on repeated occasions, the compulsory need for alcohol/drugs and/or other problematic behavior. However, we make a conscience decision that is complete and total. We give up our ultimate need of control over our own lives to that of a Higher Power. What does this look like? How does it help us in recovery?
It is coming to the end of our own self and self-righteous desires. It is the confrontation of the reality we have been kicking at the goad. Based on an ancient Greek Proverb, it reflects an agricultural concept. A farmer used a Goad (today, it is called a cattle prod) in which he’d guide the oxen in the specific direction needed. The oxen, sometimes rebelled and kick against it. The goad, made with an iron point, would go further into the animal’s flesh. This caused even more suffering. In Philosophy, we kick at that which is harmful, yet driving us toward a certain direction.
At the very core, we realize our own deficiency and will power. Recognition of hope in something more powerful and greater than ourselves moves us toward relinquishing our lives over to that Higher Power. It is a radical surrender. Meaning, it is complete, and total.
Surrender is required for deconstruction
The first part of our recovery process begins by deconstructing our ego, our self-centeredness, our selfishness, and our critical and manipulative false beliefs. It is the deconstruction of our own illusions and disillusions.
This step, also, requires that we step outside of ourselves and forces us to begin exploring what standards of conduct are more socially acceptable. This is compared to the behavior motivated by distorted and false beliefs. It requires we relinquish:
- Old attitudes and false beliefs and values
- Old patterns of living that have produced pain and suffering
- resentments, bitterness, and unforgiveness
- Shame and guilt brought on because of our substance use
- Fears and barriers that prevent us from growing and restoring sense of true self/soul
Once we place our faith in a Higher Power and completely and totally surrender our lives and will over to our Higher power; are we able to begin the process of deconstruction.
However, we want to remember that there needs to be something that replaces the old attitudes and beliefs. If there is no replacement, then we become disillusioned, despondent, and desolate.
Reconstruction of the authentic soul
The pathway of recovery is the reconstruction, or restoration of, the authentic soul. This is accomplished as we work the steps, attend our meetings, and develop new way of living through fellowship with others in recovery. It promotes healing, realignment with true values and beliefs, and fosters empowerment and freedom. We are guided in finding meaning and purpose in life.
This process requires trust on our part. It is putting into action our faith we discovered in step two. Trust in others who are working a healthy recovery program. Trust in ourselves to change and move through the recovery process. Trust in our developing of new attitudes and beliefs.
It also requires our understanding of the process. Understanding of what it takes to live one day at a time. To make a conscious effort to reshape our thoughts. Understanding of how our emotions work and the influence they have on our lives. Understanding of the consequences of continued substance use and the continual despair inherent in continued use. Understanding of faith and hope, and how we are healing day by day.
Restoration is the act of turning from that which brought destruction in our lives and turning toward that which will bring restoration in our lives. This includes the act of forgiving and forgiveness, to make a commitment toward our own healing process.
Finally, it brings us to the reality of the new life offered through the process of recovery. A new identity and understanding of who we truly are. Finding our own sense of worth, empowered freedom, sense of fun, and sense of belonging: we become renewed in knowing our meaning and purpose.
To turn from our old ways and toward a new way requires commitment. It requires hard work, patience, persistence, and faithful perseverance. This third step is the step of readiness for engagement in the necessary efforts toward change. It is also something we commit to every day.
This commitment to reconstructing our new sense of authentic self is based on these truths:
These 8 principles will be further explored in a separate article. Suffice it to say, our recovery warrants a process of healing, of change, and of our commitment toward a new way of living life that is free from substance use. It becomes a life we work toward recovering. And, it is a life we experience when we come to realize that there is a required sacrifice to give ourselves, and our will, over to something greater and more powerful than ourselves.