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What Does it Mean to Surrender to a Higher Power in Addiction Recovery?

Published by Daniel Brooks Moore on

To surrender is to give oneself up to something like in rehab. During active addiction, the addiction itself causes people to surrender their actions, thoughts, relationships, dreams, successes, and personal fulfillment. Many people also believe that addiction hijacks the brain, causing the person to surrender to it.

About the 12 Steps of AA and NA

Similar to rehab, programs like Narcotic Anonymous (NA) and Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) are based on the 12-steps to use surrendering as a critical step to recovery. Specifically, step three is best referred to as the process of surrender and says, “(to make) a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.” This step helps the individual embrace spirituality, admitting they cannot control their addiction and allow a greater power to take over. This process allows a person to embrace the faith that they can achieve the impossible.

One of the first steps taught in learning to surrender in recovery is to permit yourself to say things out loud. When the individual allows themselves to validate their feelings, they then are taught to let go and accept things as they are. They are also introduced to look at situations objectively, which prevents overthinking and overreacting. There can be emotional and even physical pain that comes up with these exercises.

Some of the other steps in practicing surrender are:

Give Yourself Permission to Rest

It is okay not to know everything that will happen and worrying will not change the outcome. Things will happen as they should.

Notice When You’re Looking to Control Things

Once you notice that, pause and think about what you’re trying to control and why. Then relax, and surrender.

Love Yourself

Avoid judging yourself for the feelings you experience and look at yourself from a place of love and not fear.

Open Yourself up to What’s Around You

Try to focus on the things you appreciate around you and in your current environment. It can be as simple as enjoying a good cup of coffee.

Learning to Surrender in Recovery

Surrendering means being open to a different way and realizing that current choices are not moving the person forward. When a person surrenders to a higher power, the prefrontal cortex is forced to engage in a thought process numbed by substance abuse, helping the brain heal.



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