Five Signs that Demonstrate You’ve Truly Surrendered

Five Signs that Demonstrate You’ve Truly Surrendered

I’m confronting new frontiers of things I have to admit I am powerless over, so I’ve been spending a lot of time reflecting on the spiritual principle of surrender. It’s the principle behind Step 1 of the Twelve Steps.

Step One in AA’s 12×12 suggests we will never recover without an admission of complete defeat.

It sounds clear enough, but I know from my own experience that it’s often not as clear-cut as that.

I don’t know about you, but as much as I know I’m powerless over certain things, my mind still THINKS, still tries to figure things out.

Minds are created to do that, you know.

And that leads me to this question: Where’s the line between true surrender and just acknowledging that my mind still wants to figure things out, you know, just doing what it was designed to do?

Because I know I can get stuck in analysis paralysis, I decided to look back at other places in my life where it was clear that I had surrendered and then take a little inventory of what I did that made it clear I was surrendering.

Here’s what I was able to identify:

1. I was willing to do, and ultimately did, things that made me VERY uncomfortable.

In other words, I stopped doing the same things over and over again expecting a different result.

2. I reached out to people when I was afraid, or stressed, or feeling other deeply uncomfortable feelings.

I was willing to act on the knowledge that our disease, whatever it may be, thrives in isolation. Recovery thrives through connection.

3. I acknowledged it was hard and gave myself credit for the work.

This meant I let go of unrealistic expectations.

You see, often my unrealistic expectations show up in the form of believing something should be easy when it’s really quite difficult. The program principles are simple. But putting them to practice in everyday life can be challenging.

The recovered part of me believes that 12 Step work is PhD-level emotional work. My ego, which wants to keep me small and sick, will keep telling me it should be easy so it can keep me stuck.

4. I was open to seeing, and therefore recognized, the things that I had been doing that were unmanageable and insane.

I was willing to be humbled by the truth. When we first walk in the doors, the truth is not pretty. It certainly wasn’t for me.

5. I was willing to let it take time.

This was the hardest one of all, in my opinion. Because when the denial lifts and I start to see the insanity I’m creating by not surrendering, man do I ever want it fixed NOW.

However, this thinking is still part of my disease.

In one of my programs, people often wish you a slow recovery. As uncomfortable as it makes me to hear it, I understand why. Sitting with any of the program principles is one thing that allows them to truly sink in.

But this is also the point at which I know I’m ready for Step 2, because this is the place where I most need to trust in a power greater than myself.

This is also a place in which I surrender the conditions under which I’m willing to recover. For me, this is one of the conditions that is most difficult to let go.

So, those are my five signs that you’ve truly surrendered.

Now I’d like to hear from you. Do you have any other signs by which you know you’ve truly surrendered? Which one of these is the most difficult for you? Share your experience, strength and hope in the comments. I read every one.

Step 2 and Your Relationship to Power

Step 2 and Your Relationship to Power

I don’t know about you, but I really struggled with the spiritual basis of the Twelve Step program.

Fortunately for me, and I suspect for many of us, I was desperate.

And I was also hearing people tell my story. And for the first time, I knew I wasn’t alone.

I understand today that that experience right there IS an experience of a Power greater than myself, but I didn’t see it that way at the time.

So I want to talk about one of my blocks, just in case it could be helpful to you.

My biggest block to the spiritual basis for this program was my relationship to power. More specifically, this block was my experience with people in my life who had power over me.

Needless to say, those people did NOT use the power they had over me in loving ways.

Which meant that coming to believe that a power greater than myself could restore me to sanity was a huge leap. It was a chasm I struggled for a long time to cross.

If you’re facing this chasm, here are some suggestions for making the leap.

  1. Pay specific attention to people who do loving things for you.
  2. Write that shiz down!
  3. Collect all these notes in a box, or keep them all in a notebook.

Do the same thing for any kind of small blessings, and of course big miracles, that happen in your day-to-day life. Pay attention to them. Write these occurrences down. Collect them all in that same box or notebook.

Then regularly go back to that box and read them aloud.

This practice is what I call a God file. And it does wonders the for the negative subconscious messages that sabotage the spiritual work we’re trying to do in this program.

(In fact, as your coach, it’s important for me to insist on the reading aloud part, especially if you can do it with emotion – that’s what makes it so beautiful for reprogramming the subconscious!)

If you’ve ever heard of a Happiness Jar, this is a similar concept. But it’s important to call it a God File – or Higher Power File if you prefer because we’re using it to learn to trust that Power.

So, now I’d like to hear from you. What actions have you taken to help you better trust in a Higher Power? Share them in the comments below. I read every one.