Sunday, January 04, 2009

Step One


Surrender usually means admitting we are powerless over "this thing". Of course, it is very hard for us to do this. Alcoholics, for example, must say, "I'm powerless over alcohol." We have to surrender to a Power greater than ourselves and we have to let go of the outcome.

A lot of people see surrender as a weakness, but those of us who have had some experience with surrender know that it is the way we get true strength. All the people who are remembered as successful military commanders, for example, had one thing in common: they knew how to surrender or retreat. Custer didn't, MacArthur did.

Until we fully concede that our uncontrolled use of alcohol has made us ill we will find no reason for treatment of this illness.

Because our alcoholism is self-inflicted and develops so slowly, we are averse to look upon it as a disease. Thus we retard our recovery with egotistical thoughts of false security.

Most sick persons require exacting care. They rarely ask a surgeon to partially remove a malignant growth. That doesn't make sense. Yet many alcoholics come into AA seeking temporary relief from alcoholism, which can become as serious as any malignant disease. A realistic view toward alcoholism is our first step toward recovery.

Paradoxically, admission of our weakness soon becomes a source of new strength. Make it now and avoid the future reservations that bar success.

(This is part of an exercise I give to sponsees. It's followed by a series of questions.)


Bill said...

I was very excited to read this post this morning because:
a) you were awake & blogging
b) I can steal this

Our local phone lines have been really busy over the past couple of weeks. As we know too well, this is not the most wonderful time of the year for the alcoholic who still suffers.

I particularly like the analogy about military commanders. Most of us have tried to win this battle with willpower by ourselves, and we lost. It bewildered & demoralized us.
Bill W wrote that a frontal assault with willpower does not work; only surrender to the powerlessness. We need willpower for things like going to meetings when we don't want to, asking others for help, and taking steps that are unfamiliar and uncomfortable.

p.s. are you going to list the questions tomorrow?

~Tyra~ said...

Thank you for this.

Scott W said...

The war is over and I lost. Recovery couldn't start for me until I realized that simple truth. It's the paradox of 'surrender to win'. And it's a glorious thing.

Mary Christine said...

I love the analogy of "partially" removing a tumor.

Pam said...

I was so happy when I found out that surrendering was an option. I had no idea that there was a way out for me.

J-Online said...

This is great. I love the analogies. Makes perfect sense

Gabriella Moonlight said...

this is great. the analogies work for me greatly too. it's amazing too finally admit to my inner most self because i have come to realize freedom in that...thank you.

steveroni said...

Analogies work for me also (Sponsee aske, "What's an analogy--is it like an allergy?)

And especially, "Hey doctor, please just remove half of my cancer! I'd like to keep the other half, just in case I want it back some day"!

Syd said...

Good stuff Dave. The outcome for Custer was bad. I was ready to give up when I came to Al-Anon. But I still needed to learn that I was powerless over people--and that meant all people, not just alcoholics. That took a while.

Kathy Lynne said...

I am stealing it too. I am not a sponser yet, though I mistakenly tried. I do have 2 women that I am working with to get them to find a sponser. This will help. thank you.

Anonymous said...


This was very powerful for me- Thank You so Much.

3 meetings in,