The Power of Surrender
“The ultimate act of power is surrender.” -Krishna Das
The twelve steps are a powerful approach to addressing addiction and difficult emotions due to recovery. A huge part of this is 1) being honest with yourself about what the issues are, then next 2) having faith in something greater than yourself and then 3) surrendering to the reality of the situation and the truth of your addiction. To surrender is a form of not only honesty with yourself but also of faith that it is safe to give up the thing you were most attached to. Another way of phrasing it is letting go. When we let go of what is causing us the most harm, we open up the pathway to change and healing from it.
But…this is much easier said than done of course. The idea of surrender and accepting that addiction has taken over our lives, is also an acknowledgement that we don’t have the control we thought we did. The experience of uncertainty and the feeling that we don’t have the control we believed we did can be extremely scary. No one wants to admit that life feels chaotic and in many ways is beyond our control…it’s hard. Trying to control the uncontrollable can definitely be a trigger for stress, anxiety, overwhelm, unhappiness and depression to name a few things.
Surrendering to the facts of the situation and our real circumstances liberates us from all of this. By acknowledging we have limited power and there’s a lot more to life than just our own human capacity to manage it, we are liberating ourselves from trying to carry the weight of too many worries and concerns. Surrendering means letting go and moving forward from where we are.
So a mechanism that can be helpful and supportive in this is shifting from a perspective of trying to control to love. We can have more control over our addiction and life when we work towards compassionately and lovingly work on your health and wellbeing…without blaming and shaming yourself.
Practicing being present in the moment, relaxing and not trying to change things around us is an important part of healing. When we are present, and observing life around us…we are not trying to change anything. We are not trying to make things into a certain way. In fact, we are somewhat more at peace with them. By practicing present moment awareness, we are practicing being loving towards ourselves and the world around us instead of trying to control or fight it. When we practice present moment awareness, we are also embracing an uncertainty that we may perceive around us. We are living in awareness and acceptance of it. Practicing present moment awareness is also helpful for managing cravings, addiction and triggers that can arise and flare up.
Some ways to practice surrender include:
-Notice that you are wanting to control things and instead pause. Allow yourself to practice mindfully being aware of what you are trying to control. Notice the physical sensations and any thoughts and feelings that arise.
-Let yourself rest in a sense of uncertainty and openness to life. Can you look at something without labeling it? Just observe and notice it? For example, looking at an apple, can you just notice and be present with observing the apple? Or do you need to label it, judge it and project a bunch of thoughts and feelings regarding it and anything else that comes to mind when you think of it? Just be present and practice being comfortable with not knowing.
-Practice loving and being kind to yourself in this moment and everything around you. When we shift towards more of a gratitude, appreciation perspective instead of a fearful, stressed, controlling one…it becomes easier to be in acceptance of the way things are and to let go of the need to control or be attached to things that are not healthy for us.
-Allow yourself to vent in a limited capacity. If we allow ourselves to vent too much we can be turning ourselves into a victim or creating more negativity. However, a certain amount can be helpful for preparing yourself to feel that it is safe to practice surrendering and letting go.
-Remember that surrendering doesn’t mean giving up. Surrendering means instead of fighting with life, you are accepting things. Acceptance doesn’t mean it’s ok. It means you are acknowledging the reality of a situation and deciding to take whatever positive action you can from that position. Instead of spending your time focusing on resisting and fighting ‘what is’…you are spending your energy on observing what is and taking the positive steps you can from there.
If you are still unclear about what surrender means to you in terms of your addiction and recovery…I challenge you to make a collage or journal on what it means to you. You may be surprised at the blocks or confusion you have on it, and so thinking it out and spending some time reflecting on it may be helpful!:) You’ll be happy you did!
An important part of managing challenges during COVID is practicing present moment awareness and living in acceptance. Mindfulness and letting go can be very helpful while you are working through your addiction. Silver Lining understands that you have spent a lot of time dealing with difficult emotions and triggers during your time using drugs and alcohol. These experiences impact your sobriety and a treatment plan for living your best life in recovery. Our policy of treating small numbers of people in each group allows us to get to know you and the exact type of help you need to learn to be kind to yourself and achieve your goals. We help you flourish now and in the future. Let our Huntington Beach location be where you begin again! Call us today for more information. (866) 448-4563.