When I first heard the word surrender after I went into recovery it was an alien concept. I wasn’t one of those wimps who would surrender to anything. I’d fall on my sword first! The idea ran counter to everything I’d learned, everything I believe in. After all, I was the guy who fought the law for much of his life, even though the law always won.
It seemed like I trusted no one when I was young. I rebelled against everything. Because of the rampant alcoholism in my family I trusted no one's decisions but my own. And instead of surrendering to others ideas, I went to the ultimate and thought I controlled everything. And of course this idea is what caused me to spend a lot of time incarcerated for many years trying to figure out how to successfully drink alcohol and shoot heroin.
The real surrender for me came the day in 1991 that I admitted I was an alcoholic. For some reason, I always held out against the idea of admitting I was powerless over alcohol or anything else. I knew I was powerless over heroin and other drugs. But I only admitted that because I kept getting arrested repeatedly for drug offenses. I think I held out alcohol as being okay because it was legal. Yet, every time I drank I went out the door one more time because when I drank for a week or so I ended up with a needle in my arm.
It’s still a fascinating revelation to me that from the day I admitted I was an alcoholic my life changed. Even though it might sound like some 12 step drama, it was an epiphany when I finally admitted that I was an alcoholic. Although it didn't happen in a flash of lightning, my life entered a path I'd never been on before. All of a sudden I was in acceptance about many things I‘d denied. I no longer had any reservations. There wasn't a molecule in my body that said "oh, you can have a drink."
I had over and over again proved to myself that I was powerless over alcohol, and any other alien substance I put into my body.
Surrender opened the door for me to the promises of the 12 step program. Once I surrendered life started on a different path. Never again was I to go to jail, be homeless, jobless, or living in a muck of despair.
Even though it seems counter-intuitive, my surrender set me free to do a lot of wonderful things with my life.