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The surrender

Old 03-31-2020, 06:41 AM
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The surrender

Has anyone heard of a surrender involved in AA?

My sponsor just spoke of this the other day when I requested that we talk less, down to once a week. He said I hadn't yet surrendered. To do anything well, play a sport well, you must surrender to it.

It confirmed this sense I have.
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Old 04-02-2020, 08:13 AM
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yeah, i've heard of it

what is this sense you have?
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Old 04-02-2020, 06:46 PM
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Hey fini, how are you holding up?

In what context did you hear it?

I heard it in terms of surrender to the program as a whole. I guess I now view AA as a religion. It has a flexible sort of mystical version and a fundamentalist version. The slogans, the circular reasoning, stinking thinking, the easier softer way, that much of this addenda is also self referencing. There is light and darkness.
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Old 04-02-2020, 07:21 PM
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holding up well here, thanks.
there are various “surrenders” i needed to get to with regards to alcoholism, and taking years to seeing the value of “the program”.
i needed to work a lot of my “surrender” out before i ever set foot in AA or did the step work.
i do not view AA as religion.
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Old 04-02-2020, 07:45 PM
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I would think this pertains to Steps 1, 2, and 3. Maybe look up some other versions of these steps and see what it means to you?
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Old 04-02-2020, 07:51 PM
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This is from Bill's story: "No words can tell of the loneliness and despair I found in that bitter morass of self-pity. Quicksand stretched around me in all directions. I had met my match. I had been overwhelmed. Alcohol was my master. "

Has alcohol got you beat yet? or is there a lingering thought that one day you will master it? - "The delusion that we are like other people or presently maybe, has to be smashed"

Do you have enough power to beat it on your own? Many people do. Many alcoholics struggle with the idea that self reliance has not worked. It's quite a blow to the ego.

Alcohol beat me into submission. I had tried many things. Nothing worked. The AA solution was presented to me, the only untried option. I threw myself whole-heartedly into the program as if my life depended on it. That was my surrender. Through it I acquired the power to live sober in this world.

I had no reservations because there was nothing else. If you have reservations, maybe you know of something else that might work. By all means give it a try.
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Old 04-02-2020, 07:55 PM
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Don't use other people's version or interpretation of AA to be your version or interpretation. They can certainly aid and help shape yours, but the end way you view and use AA should be you.

An egg is an egg is an egg, but different people will view and use an egg differently. Some will make an omelet. Some will make a meringue. Some will throw the egg! :~)
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Old 04-02-2020, 08:18 PM
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I used to think of surrender in negative terms. It was for losers. Me surrender...never!!! I needed to open my mind. If I jump out of an airplane, I can surrender to the reality of gravity and use a parachute...or I can fight the reality and things won't go well.

In many ways surrender is a starting point rather than an end point. It is accepting (AKA acknowledging) things as being exactly as they are, not how I want them to be, but exactly as they are. From that point, i can make a better determination of what my next action should be.
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Old 04-03-2020, 07:17 PM
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I just want to know what I am surrendering to. Surrender to reality as the higher power, for example, or surrender to an awareness of what an addictive substance does. I can get behind that. I'm not interested, or hope to avoid, defining what I think others should and shouldn't surrender to. If I have learned one thing from this, everyone is on his own private trip. We must choose wisely, and fools can also become wise.
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Old 04-03-2020, 07:27 PM
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it is for you to figure out and part of the process of doing the stepwork.
the first thing i had to surrender was my conviction that my willpower alone was my way out.
it simply didn’t work that way for me.

chatting with your sponsorperson might be helpful to you.
have you asked them what they mean when they say you haven’t surrendered?
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Old 04-03-2020, 07:44 PM
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That surrender you speak of came very easily to me. Religious experience was easy, as was subordinating myself to the words of a sponsor, to his particular proscriptions (some of them very eccentric), or to a sense that others, the louder ones, were really on the right track, where I was mistaken. I am coming to see things in another light, this dynamic of authority, advising, accepting advice, the right way and the wrong way, as human beings situated within a broader power dynamic. Like plato's cave. We dare not turn all the way to face reality. We wish to give and to receive, to push and pull within the confines of our own camp fire stories.

You know, I don't think I really ever entertained willpower as an avenue out of binge drinking. I leaped into AA and loved it, and much of what you all say above, I probably would have said.
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Old 04-03-2020, 10:58 PM
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Originally Posted by davaidavai View Post
... We must choose wisely, and fools can also become wise.
You might be "surrendering" already, to the simple fact we can enjoy the exhilaration of a daily reprieve from the compounding damage of physical allergy and mental obsession, and staying, for one more hour, out of the old groove no matter how tough our circumstances seem to be getting (says he).

If my sponsor wants to hear my chatter less, I can chatter to others as well and they often light up and they often add startlingly welcome but simple advice.

Bill wrote the BB when he wasn't long dry. My sponsor is more religious than me and that's just him! I'm wary of "AA fundamentalists" but I know they know that while the step is the step I'm bound to give it my style. The main danger would be if I was treating urgent and serious matters too lightly for my own good, or lazily.

Now we have covid I'm asking myself if I could have got "beyond"step 11 in all these years. Then I'm grateful I could get this far. Calling myself ever onward and not beating myself (or anyone else) up either. And that my companions could get as far as they have. They too have more sober hours ahead of them.
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Old 04-04-2020, 08:04 AM
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Surrender was not a part of my recovery. My recovery was all about regaining control. It was me taking my life back from the alcohol that had stolen it. It was being accountable for my behavior, and taking credit for my success.

The actual definition of "surrender" describes a behavior change and not much more. I don't think it defines surrender as a good or bad. We each have to decide for ourselves if it's the right approach in a given situation.
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Old 04-04-2020, 08:14 AM
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I think AA is like any other religion. There is a core of usefulness and truth that eventually gets wrapped up, or was wrapped up from the beginning, in a dogmatic super structure of power dynamics, hierarchies and practices. The release from the craving is a deeper conformity to the alcoholic society in its microcosm. This is like one surrender. Quit struggling. Or, leave it behind and understand you have choice to build your life unbound by fear, false connection, the sense that you are doing something wrong or are of the wrong opinion.
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Old 04-04-2020, 09:02 AM
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That said, I think being an AA fundamentalist might be a useful way of breaking the cycle.

Also, I think you can practice the core steps without the other dark elements, i.e. the disease that tells you that you don't have a disease, or, anthropomorphism alcohol (cunning, baffling, powerful). One can come to shape their own practice without constantly submitting to an untrained authority figure or a collective group one.

Bill Wilson wasn't a god. He wrote a text with a lot of sense and a lot of nonsense.
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Old 04-05-2020, 12:29 AM
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I wonder if it is something like this. My battle with the booze was just one element. Underlying it was the idea that I could control and manipulate my life and the people in it to be as I wanted it to be with no submission to God or any kind of moral authority. In a sense I was my own god. Solutions and help were pushed my way but I could not make use of them, instead once again trying it my way. Always one more try and one more failure.

I don't recall it specifically, I am not sure my spiritual thinking was at all developed, but perhaps my initial contact with AA, and some other people willing to help, first brought to light the idea that I lacked the power to live successfully and maybe I needed to seek out some Power. "God nonsense" would have been my reaction. I resisted and persisted in trying to do it my way, almost like I was fighting Him off - although I was not aware of any conscious belief at the time.

Eventually I was beaten. Perhaps the surrender was being willing to let in the Power, to be willing to live life on spiritual terms instead of my own. Once through the wreckage clearing part of the steps, the channels were clear enough for the Power to flow. From there it has been relatively straight forward. "What is thy will for me today?" and "Thy will, not mine, be done"

My journey has never involved authoritarian sponsors, and AA has never pushed me in any direction whatever. They just showed me what had worked for them, and blow me down, it worked for me too.
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Old 04-05-2020, 04:17 AM
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I was unaware that the steps of AA were very heavily influenced by the Oxford Group, which was a fundamentalist group made up exclusively of white Christian men of a certain economic class. The six steps used for religious conversion were "complete deflation, belief/dependence on HP, moral inventory, confession, restitution, help others in need".

I have to say I feel much better knowing this about AA, as it confirms my suspicions of it's origins and core beliefs of its founders, and makes me feel less crazy for assuming so. I am completely accepting of other people in recovery being overtly religious, I'm just not completely accepting of being fed the line that the program was or is designed to be spiritually accessible to anyone.

Personally, in my recovery I have sometimes found it useful to anthropomorphize alcohol (as the AV) which as it turns out can "shape shift" into other forms of addiction and obsession. "It" lost its power over me not because I was victorious in a battle against it, but because I learned how to disengage (which can and does include other spiritual perspectives) and operate from a place of neutrality. Surrender isn't necessarily a relevant term as my end goal in that metaphor is to achieve/maintain autonomy rather than anything relating to submission or domination.
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Old 04-05-2020, 10:48 AM
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Its interesting how it went from a Christian movement to something that purports to be otherwise. I am not against Christianity either. The AA religion though can be practiced by an atheist. This isia huge popular misconception, that God is necessary for religion. The AA religion is usually found in it's slogans and dogmas. The disease that tells you you don't have a disease. The sceintistic writing of doctor silkworth. The readings of scripture, pilgrimages to akron, gratitude lists, father figures with tats, pecking orders, a love for correlation, the testimonials, an implicit idea that one should surrender to the entire edifice co existing with more moderate reform movements. The brain washing. That said my brain may have needed a wash.
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Old 04-05-2020, 02:09 PM
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I most love the autonomy part. With the hangovers (which used to last months between binges, really) I couldn't decide anything. Now I love doing what I want, when I want, if I want, how much I want, and why I want.

That is "Good Orderly Direction", like the finger post that tells me which way the conference centre, the park and the bus station are - it isn't taking any decisions away from me or my responsibility as to my timing.

"Self will run riot" was amok because trapped and deformed. Now my will is relaxed, alert, imaginative and exuding wellbeing.

If I tilt my head right back (a contortion) what is beyond the end of my own nose becomes "higher".

"Thy" will boils down to having my own true capacity for will.

You're right fundamental-ists in the sense of keeping it as simple as it is, are in contrast to those I called fundamentalists merely in terms of seeking to impose a set of procedures.

For example one man (a good man) occasionally says one can think "too much" whereas I benefit from thinking more, and more widely.

My favourite "slogan cards" are Give Time Time and Think Think Think.

Thinking is my favourite hobby. In the hungover months between binges I couldn't think!

I'm "surrendering" stagnation to the real me, that amazing bloke!
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Old 04-05-2020, 04:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Found View Post
one man (a good man) occasionally says one can think "too much" whereas I benefit from thinking more, and more widely.
Many of these well know sayings are repeated with the best intentions by good people. I don't doubt the sincerity of "one man (a good man)." But the accuracy of that statement is worth clarifying first and then debating. Obsessive Compulsives may indeed think too much, except the nature of what they do is not thinking, but just repeating things over and over. When it goes on for more than two minutes, it's simply spinning wheels. It's time consuming and takes an inordinate amount of energy. But I don't call this thinking. Much of the same can be said of worrying, or clinging to resentments with thoughts of revenge.

I know my own recovery involved a lot of problem solving requiring thought, self appraisal, making of mental to do lists, and setting goals. None of this was perfect in execution. I considered blind alleys, and caught myself wandering off in pointless directions from time to time.
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