What Surrendering and Being Powerless Doesn’t Mean
When I first heard I had to “surrender” and admit I was “powerless” in order to not drink another drop of alcohol and to start eating in a healthy manner, I thought the people telling me this were nuts.
There was no way in hell I would (or could) utter such insane words. I wasn’t going to surrender and bow down at the feet of anyone or to anything. I most certainly wasn’t going to admit I lacked power over how I lived my life. I mean come on already, hadn’t I done enough by admitting to how much I drank and how little I ate? What more did they want?
This line of defiant thinking is exactly what kept me lifting a glass of wine to my lips and keeping a fork from them. I had yet to realize the wine and the food were not the addiction. The addiction was control. I was completely and irrationally in need of being in control of all things at all times. The mere idea I would have to surrender my control and admit I was powerless over my ability to curtail the amount of wine I drank or increase the amount of food I ate, sent my head spinning.
My recollection of the days, weeks, even months before recovery are a tad blurry due to too much alcohol and too little food in my system. So while I can’t say for certain, I’m guessing I had a rather defensive look on my face when I was told I had to surrender and admit I was powerless over alcohol and my ability to feed myself properly. What I do remember quite vividly was someone telling me, “You won’t understand this now, but trust me, you will.”
But since I had agreed to be willing and open to what was suggested to me, I dug a little deeper into this idea of surrendering and being powerless. What I found out first was, what they weren’t.
Surrendering didn’t mean I was saying I was giving up. It didn’t mean I was waving the proverbial white flag with a message of, “You win.” To say I surrendered was really my way of saying, “I have no idea what to do anymore. I tried to fix myself and I just can’t. I’m tired of trying. If anyone can guide me to a life less dependent on wine and the number on a scale, I’m ready to listen.”
When I surrendered I wasn’t bowing down, I was standing up with arms raised tearfully and willingly asking for help.
In as much as surrendering doesn’t mean giving up, admitting I was powerless didn’t mean I was weak. The acknowledgment I lacked power simply meant I understood that I no longer had any control of my addictive behaviors. I lost that control long ago. Being drunk and thin went from wanting to be that way to needing to be that way. My ability to manage my how much I drank and how little I ate was long gone. I was unable to stop no matter how hard I tried, what I told myself, what promises I silently made or what I falsely promised others. I could not stop. I had become powerless.
Once I figured out what they weren’t, I stopped resisting the idea of surrendering and admitting I was powerless and started taking action to change.
Yet it’s important to know this change isn’t a one-time occurrence. Since those early days there have been several times I have had to accept how powerless I am over some things and surrender any false belief I can control others.
The mere fact I know when to do this is indeed another example of how powerful a transitioned life can be.
What do you think about having to surrender or being powerless over something? I’d love for you to add your comment here in the “Reply” section.