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How do you actually surrender?

Old 06-19-2018, 12:50 PM
  # 21 (permalink)  
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I don't know if "surrender" is the right word. I think what I experienced was an "acceptance" or "recognition" that (1) I'm alcoholic in the sense that I can't control or moderate my drinking, (2) that I'm an addict, and (3) I can never drink again.
Once I accepted that, the pieces all fell into place for me in virtually every sphere of my life: my relationships, my work, my physical health, my mental health, my appearance, my financial well being, everything came together for me, and once I was able to be honest about my drinking, I was able to face up to certain other psychological or emotional issues I had or have that I wasn't honest about and start addressing those issues too.
I've been sober for over two years. Even now I tear up at how much SR and everyone here has helped me.
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Old 06-19-2018, 01:41 PM
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I read a book called "Unhooked" a few years back...written by a psychologist who specializes in addiction and eating disorders. I would highly recommend it.
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Old 06-19-2018, 02:54 PM
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For me surrender is about acceptance, letting go, and not trying to control things.

Or as has been said here, "living life on life's terms."

I've listened to this clip from Wayne Dyer more than once which has helped me:

https://youtu.be/puauD9_uyNk

Alcohol for me was a way to mask or hide.
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Old 06-19-2018, 04:41 PM
  # 24 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by SnazzyDresser View Post
The idea of surrender isn't necessarily an integral part of quitting drinking. I know I don't frame it that way to myself, never have. The important thing to me is staying away from alcohol and building a healthy happy life without it. That's my victory.
I like this perspective. I never hit bottom, but decided to stop digging.
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Old 06-19-2018, 05:20 PM
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For me surrender (in an AA sense) was allowing my actions to be guided by a power greater than myself. At first this power was the suggestions of the Group Of Drunks I found in AA meetings. As my conception of a higher power evolved I came to play by better rules

The question was not one of giving up my will (my power to choose) but to allow it to be guided by a force greater than myself.
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Old 06-19-2018, 06:05 PM
  # 26 (permalink)  
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I don't look at it as surrendering as much as I closed a door. Once I figured out why I drank, let go of resentments and started working on me more from a psychological and spiritual angle, it became easy. Once I realized I cannot moderate, can't stop once I start, once it started affecting relationships and my own self worth, it actually became easier. The day I quit drinking, I hadn't drank much that weekend. Two glasses the day before that were left in Saturday night's bottle. The weekend before that, family vacay and I had a few, but not drunk. I knew it bothered my husband so I said, I am going to quit drinking and I did.
My surrender was acceptance and the process I took to close the door permanently. Quite simply, I had enough. Over 40, nice family, career, community involvement, it was time the inside matched the outside. Removing alcohol allowed me to work towards that. Part of it is bargaining, I started a month, worked up to a year, now my goal is a decade sober. It is working and it is making me focus on sobriety. Which lets me keep that door closed.
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Old 06-19-2018, 06:42 PM
  # 27 (permalink)  
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Simply acknowledging that when I drink, bad things happen and being done with it. Admitting that I can't control it and that the only reasonable choice is for me to stop before I kill myself or worse - someone else. Just letting go. I don't need a reason, I don't need to explain it, I don't owe anyone an explanation. I just am done with booze.

The relief that comes with that.... it's pretty awesome.

That's pretty much it for me.

As for the other stuff....

Use the door of sobriety to go to work on the depression and anxiety. That stuff is there for a reason. It may be physiological, it may be psychological, it may be a mix of both. But have hope - our brains can rewire if we put ourselves in nurturing, positive environments. It may take awhile, but it can and does happen. Of course, none of that happens while drinking and none of that happens quickly.

Sometimes - very often - I find that my anxiety is a direct result in my expectations. I've set goals - tangible goals - and remind myself when I start feeling anxious that I have a plan and to trust myself. That helps. Also helps to force myself to get out and about and get myself occupied so that I'm not stuck in my head.

And then, of course, some days just suck. So sometimes I just hunker down, eat some good (healthy) comfort food, and binge watch YouTube or a TV show or something. I think every now and then it's ok to just say screw it, I'm going to rest and check out for a bit.

Main thing is to learn self compassion. You have to treat yourself well.

Hope any/ some of that helps?

-B
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Old 06-19-2018, 07:25 PM
  # 28 (permalink)  
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My sponsor suggested I learn the third step prayer. It was in this process and in taking the third step the action of surrender began manifestation.
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Old 06-19-2018, 08:16 PM
  # 29 (permalink)  
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I think this is difficult for a lot of people. What I was asked to give up in my professional life by a number of sponsors was more than I was willing to do. They needed that as a sign of surrender. Since I could not give it, I could not do all of the AA program.

There a a lot of good things in AA. If surrender is not something you are capable and willing to do, then do not. Just take the things that are helpful for you from the program.
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Old 06-20-2018, 01:15 AM
  # 30 (permalink)  
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Thank you all so much.. the message helped a lot. I guess I am going through an existential crisis phase - I'm sure my sponsor means well, but he emphasizes that 'none of us surrendered until we were ready' and that 'I'll know when I am ready' etc. It puts me in a hopeless situation.. as if waiting for some magical rock bottom.. I almost feel scared to even try to stop drinking again, I'm just petrified of failing, of letting myself and sponsor down etc.. perhaps the sponsor is a bit heavy on the powerless/self will run riot part. That ANY attempt at controlling from my part is bad. What started happening is that while internalising step 1 and 2.. I began to LIVE UP to the fact that I am powerless and an alcoholic.. so I end up drinking to black out for that very reason almost.. like there is no hope so its just something that I have to do to myself... aaanyway.. Hoping to pull myself out of this one and give myself another shot, and hoping the psych would help!
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Old 06-20-2018, 01:28 AM
  # 31 (permalink)  
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lonewolf, does your sponsor happen to have had the same experiences as you? did youre sponsor take his drinking to extremes or did he surrender at the stage youre at?
in the bb theres a set of stories titled, "they stopped in time." heres the prelude:
Among today"s incoming A.A. members, many have never reached the advanced stages of alcoholism, though given time all might have.

Most of these fortunate ones have had little or no acquaintance with delirium, with hospitals, asylums, and jails. Some were drinking heavily, and there had been occasional serious episodes. But with many, drinking had been little more than a sometimes uncontrollable nuisance. Seldom had any of these lost either health, business, family, or friends.

Why do men and women like these join A.A.?

The seventeen who now tell their experiences answer that question. They saw that they had become actual or potential alcoholics, even though no serious harm had yet been done.
They realized that repeated lack of drinking control, when they really wanted control, was the fatal symptom that spelled problem drinking. This, plus mounting emotional disturbances, convinced them that compulsive alcoholism already had them; that complete ruin would be only a question of time.

Seeing this danger, they came to A.A. They realized that in the end alcoholism could be as mortal as cancer; certainly no sane man would wait for a malignant growth to become fatal before seeking help.

Therefore, these seventeen AAers and hundreds of thousands like them, have been saved years of infinite suffering. They sum it up something like this: "We didn't wait to hit bottom because, thank God, we could see the bottom. Actually, the bottom came up and hit us. That sold us on Alcoholics Anonymous."


on this
That ANY attempt at controlling from my part is bad.
are you referring to controlling drinking or controlling life?


how about this- why think about surrender? there actually isnt even any mention of that being a necesity to start recovery.
what the program does say
If you have decided you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it-then you are ready to take certain steps.

do you want what we have?
do you know what it is we have?


youre not in a hopeless situation, lonewolf. theres hope for ya. that word alone if HUGE. i think you have to believe there js hope because there is.
plus, ya deserve a living a life free from alcohol- you deserve to life recovered.
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Old 06-20-2018, 01:36 AM
  # 32 (permalink)  
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on this
That ANY attempt at controlling from my part is bad.
are you referring to controlling drinking or controlling life?

The emphasis is to stop controlling my life rather totally.. the way I understood it. The emphasis on 'not playing God'.. The problem with that for me is, I hit a wall and basically am struggling to even function on a day to day basis. No motivation/vigor for life etc...as soon as I sober up, start doing my things (work etc) with some form of positive determination, I think - oh no, self will run riot again!

so perhaps the sponsor/group is taking the whole 'turn your life and will over to God' a bit too literally?
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Old 06-20-2018, 02:24 AM
  # 33 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by LoneWolf04 View Post
on this
That ANY attempt at controlling from my part is bad.
are you referring to controlling drinking or controlling life?
There are some nuances here I think.

Regardless of spiritual disposition I think the following applies? There are things about our lives it's appropriate and even necessary to exert some measure of control over - willpower, planning for the future, etc.. That said, in times I find myself discontented - anxiety, etc. - it's usually because I'm going too far and trying to push a river so to speak. Impatience has a lot to do with that. There are simply things about the world, universe, my life, etc. that I can not control.

Most important is that I've admitted that the way I interact with alcohol is bad bad bad and so I simply have to stop trying to "manage" it and just quit drinking period. I can say for me that once I made that decision - and let go of the "managing it" piece I felt a great sense of relief almost immediately... even if there is/ was a small mountain of crap stacked up that I had to face.

Knowing the difference is the trick... and I think it only comes from practice and doing. I'll never be perfect at it, but I'm getting better - and that's very much where self-compassion comes in. We have to give ourselves some slack from time to time.

Last - you said something like "I guess I'm going through an existential crisis phase." Damn right you are. And it's ok. You aren't alone for sure. Be excited about it! This is a decision and a time in your life that you get to embrace and define what and how you want to move forward!! It's entirely to be expected that you would experience some anxiety and even a bit of depressive responses to it. You aren't alone in that either. But I'm 99% - unqualified of course - but 99% positive it DOES get better over time. Staying sober opens the door.

It seems to me there are a lot of things in the world in our face constantly downplaying or discouraging us from recognizing the seriousness about drinking and the extent to which - especially in the early days/ week - we should go to make it the #1 priority and #1 defining moment in our lives. I wish - and think it would be helpful - that more people would give this thing it's due recognition and exert the energy it deserves.

But remember - this decision to be sober and to address some of the underlying issues is a GREAT decision. It's courageous, empowering, liberating. The roses smell damn fine on this side of it. Make sure you take time to pat yourself on the back - even, hell especially for the small things. It's the small things that provide the momentum and do the real work of defining our lives.

Whew... rant done. Keep trucking you got this. It can be hard at times. But heck, at least you are feeling things, living through things, instead of just being numb and watching the inevitable doom stack up.

-B
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Old 06-20-2018, 02:30 AM
  # 34 (permalink)  
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Thanks Buckley. I can really relate to when you said about being discontented and anxious when trying to take things to far. Earlier this year I managed two months dry, and my life improved tenfold, things started 'falling into place' and as I become more and more active in doing the things which contribute to better quality of life... I think I took things too far. My sobriety became based on the perfection of my daily routine - work, keeping house clean, exercise.. and I guess its the same side of the addiction coin.. I became dissatisfied, thinking its still not good enough etc. Then came a wave of anxiety/depression which lead to a very bad relapse... Just need to figure out a balance I guess for the next sober period..
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Old 06-20-2018, 05:46 AM
  # 35 (permalink)  
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I think this is a great question and has been very important in my sobriety. I prefer acceptance over surrender, but its very similar. Once you accept or surrender the fight is over. Until then it is a tug of war between your AV and the rational part of our brain that knows we need to stop drinking. I fought it tooth and nail for months. I saw as a flaw in my "perfect" self. It was difficult, but then I finally accepted I am losing this battle and will certainly lose the war. So I stopped fighting and got busy with sobriety.
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Old 06-20-2018, 06:12 AM
  # 36 (permalink)  
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If I look at the program - the steps, as 1 is the problem, step 2 is the solution and 3-12 are the instructions, it makes things less complicated.

I couldn't get tied up in what does this mean or what will happen when/if I do this. I just did and then over time understand. I take the action suggested and leave the results up to my HP.

Here's the rub for me and why I am, like the original AA'ers a big believer in doing step immediately with a STEP sponsor who is will;

"We are unable, at certain times, to bring into our consciousness with sufficient force the memory of the suffering and humiliation of even a week or a month ago."

I proved many times as others here and elsewhere demonstrate daily that I sober up for a time and think - Gee, maybe I wasn't so bad after all and then proceed to drink , again.

"But these are essential" Honesty, Openmindedness, Willingness = HOW program.

It works if ya work it........
Best to you friend, you're not alone
Fly
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Old 06-20-2018, 07:16 AM
  # 37 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by LoneWolf04 View Post

so perhaps the sponsor/group is taking the whole 'turn your life and will over to God' a bit too literally?
members can do that for sure!
the thing is on step 3
made a decision to turn our will(thoughts) and lives(actions) over to the CARE of God.
its just in the care.

we still have to use our own power and thinking for after all, God gave us brains to use.
we still have to control, our lives. God is the director, we are the actors.

the control part that i think you may be referring to has circumtances for that. the BB gets into detail on that at the bottom of pg 60- gives examples of self will run riot.
we have to have control and make plans. however, its good to remember them plans may change and what we may have under control may need some adjusting.
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Old 06-20-2018, 10:21 AM
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I surrendered for years - I gave in over and over to my addiction.

I no longer surrender. I don't drink.
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