Admitting Powerlessness: Finding Strength in Surrender

Admitting Powerlessness: Finding Strength in Surrender

The strength in surrender is a hard won battle for addicts who have tried, unsuccessfully, to stop using multiple times. Others still may have difficulty even admitting that they had a problem, to begin with. The ability to let go, and become flexible to an entirely new way of living is a challenging task for even the healthiest individual under the best of circumstances, and for an addict can be like climbing their own Everest.

Admitting powerlessness is not something most people would set out to achieve in their lifetime. Our society is based very strongly on principals of self-reliance and independence. There is a sense that we should be able to figure our way out of challenges and problems. Otherwise, we are somehow weak.

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Even the term surrender inspires images of a white flag being raised by a failed army. This archaic reasoning has more than outlived its usefulness. Thankfully, in recovery, we are fortunate to be offered an alternative. While addicts mostly surrender to win because there are very little alternatives, they are in fact at the beginning of a powerful transformation.

admitting powerlessness step one twelve steps

Recovery teaches us that it takes more strength to surrender and ask for help than it does to independently try to control addiction. By admitting powerlessness, there is renewed opportunity to change. There is a chance to admit that no matter how you’ve attempted to control substance abuse, your ability to determine actions and reactions nearly vanished.

The strength in surrender comes from the moral character it takes to admit that maybe the answer lies outside our own thinking. To be open to alternatives, willing to try something different, requires great courage and integrity. The flexibility developed by admitting powerlessness extends throughout recovery and becomes a spiritual journey of discovering a life beyond the limit of our expectations.

Has admitting powerlessness changed your life for the better? How does surrendering help you in your recovery today?

About the Reviewer: Chris Barnes

Chris BarnesChristopher Barnes has worked in health care for over thirty years. He is a graduate of Alabama State University where he earned a double Bachelor of Science Degree in Social Work and Psychology in 1982. Christopher Barnes is currently the Director of Clinical services at The Discovery House where he has been employed for the past five years. Because of his extensive experience in health care & substance abuse he has an excellent rapport with constituents, clients, and other professional organizations in the counseling/social service community.

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