What is Surrender in Sobriety and Addiction Recovery? Alcoholism, Drug Addiction, and Substance Use

What is Surrender in Sobriety and Addiction Recovery? Alcoholism, Drug Addiction, and Substance Use

So what is surrender? It might not be
what you think. And it’s what’s needed to win in sobriety. So in this video we’re
gonna be going over what it means to surrender. And how you can use it to
succeed in recovery. So you’re probably thinking, “why would somebody want to
surrender?” Life is all about fighting, succeeding, survival of the fittest and
for a lot of people fighting means survival. Your childhood could have been
full of alcoholic parents, or no parents, or homelessness and the only way to
survive is by fighting. But let’s go over what surrender actually means when we’re
talking about addiction and I’ll preface this by saying this is from my personal
experience. Why does recovery depend upon surrender?
Almost every spiritual path or quest for freedom begins with surrender and you
could say that learning anything new depends upon surrender. It’s saying
“there’s something I don’t know” and “I’m open to the idea that somebody else
knows something that I don’t know.” So really it’s about remaining teachable. But I
love to be the know-it-all. I loved saying I know what’s best for me.
I can get myself out of this or anything. But drug and alcohol use beat me into a
position where I couldn’t say that anymore. My best thinking no longer got
me out of jams — they got me into them. So here’s another way to think about it.
When a soldier surrenders it’s usually when they can’t fight on any longer.
They’re either outgunned or they’ve run out of supplies. When this happens the
soldier puts down their weapon, raises up their hands, and will wait for the next
order. The enemy soldier, usually with a gun, will tell them where to go and what
to do next. In this example I was that soldier that was outgunned by my
thinking, my alcohol use, and my poor decision-making. And “I ran out of
supplies” meaning the resistance I was giving to justify my using was depleted.
I no longer had the strength to carry on drinking and using. I was finally
exhausted and so I put my gun down which wasn’t actually drugs — it was my self-will.
My self-will was the thing I used to fight everything off. I forced people to
get the things I wanted. I threatened people with it.
I literally used it as a weapon. So after being outgunned and out of supplies, I
put my weapon down or else this enemy soldier would shoot me. And that enemy
soldier was overdose, it was alcoholism, it was thoughts of suicide. I could have
chosen not to put my gun down — my self-will but it would have come with
terrible consequences. Now, most importantly, I put my hands up saying “I
give up” and I waited for this enemy soldier to tell me where to go next. So I
needed to take direction and I got that direction from other people in recovery.
I couldn’t just stand there with my hands up and expect things to get better
all on their own. No, if I did that, then that enemy soldier would beat me on the
head or kick me and tell me to move. So I had to take direction or else I would
suffer the consequences. When I think about it like this, then it doesn’t seem
like I have much of an option anymore. Before, I thought I could keep fighting
the good fight by drinking and using drugs. But I was more like that soldier
in the trenches, surrounded by the enemy, and running out of ammo. The delusion
that I was in control wouldn’t get me out of that situation. So I had to see
the situation for what it really was. I didn’t surrender and fail. I
surrendered and, for that, I got to keep my life. My literal life. Because I would
have been dead if I kept fighting on. Surrender is not failure — instead this is
my greatest strength. By turning over control of my addiction recovery, I gave
myself the opportunity to regain control of other parts of my life. I had to trust
that others can give me advice. If I continued to try to control my drinking
and using then it would only be postponing the inevitable. There would
come a day where I would lose control and something would happen that I didn’t
mean to happen. I had to have enough misery and chaos in my life before I was
ready to surrender. And that was a huge blow to my ego — to surrender my will to
do whatever I want. But what good is ego if it gets me dead
— not that good. And if you say “well, Nick, I don’t know how to surrender” — well, I
didn’t realize that I was kind of surrendering already. And I was
surrendering to drugs and alcohol. I recognized that I couldn’t make myself
feel the way I wanted to so I gave control over to drugs
an alcohol. It gave me the power because I surrendered myself to it. I didn’t
resist not taking drugs and alcohol. So knowing that I already knew how to
surrender, because my drug use was one big surrender to drugs and alcohol, I
could sense that surrender wasn’t impossible. It did and it still does hurt
my ego to surrender. But for how long will I continue to hide out in that
foxhole, being shelled and shot at by the enemy, all alone, before I start to see
there is no winning there. So thanks for watching today’s video on surrender. Tell
me what you think about surrender in the comments below. If you liked this video
make sure to subscribe for your daily dose of soberness. And I will see all of
you tomorrow in the next video!


  1. Must say, infectious diseases are compounding our sober fellowship. We must expand now and learn about these… they will steal sobriety, bad juju for us addicts and alcoholics. Needs to be said. Tick borne diseases are a serious situation. It requires surrendering in new levels and trusting an HP to the fullest of capabilities. Every principal will apply. Lyme and other tick borne infections are pushing sober folks to help. There's a reason for more awareness about this topic. Ask me anything…. I'll share this journey, surrender is vital

  2. Psychobabble-er wanting to change a definition of a word – Surrender means to have to give in, and if not to God then, to people like you and other sponsors – Either God is everything or nothing look before you preach/teach!

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