Wednesday, November 4, 2009

What does surrender look like?

Surrender. Let it go. Let go and let God.These are words that we hear in 12 step meetings and say to each other in between. When it comes to relating to people, places and things outside of ourselves, sometimes it's either surrender or die inside. Yet, we often hold on, afraid of what will happen if we let go.

Indeed, one of the hardest things to face is that addicts need us to be role models of sane living more than they need us to take care of them.

So, what does it mean to surrender and how do we do it?

First of all, for our purposes, we will define surrender as " to give up". In order to keep the focus on ourselves, we need to give up control of another person, place or thing. We relinquish this control to the care of the Higher Power of our understanding. And the reason why we do so is that we are finding that the controlling we have been doing has not been achieving the result we wish it to achieve... and even if it has been, the price we have paid for that control, in terms of lost peace of mind and sanity, has been far too high.

"But," any good codependent will counter, "if I don't control my addict/husband/wife/brother/grown child, etc., they'll fall apart! They need me to take care of them. Believe me, I'd like nothing more than to let them handle their life, but without me they'd fall apart completely. And i just couldn't cope with that! It would kill me!"

So, then comes the next question: How good a job are you doing? And at what price to you personally?

The fact is that most of the time, when we are  taking care of things others are perfectly capable of taking care of themselves, a few things happen:
1. we stop taking care of important parts of our own lives
2. they come to rely on our help and don't use or ever develop their own capacity to take responsibility for their own lives.
3. even worse than that, when we use our time or money to handle their responsibilities, they don't have to use theirs...

In the case of an addict or alcoholic, this can be deadly. Literally. After all, they have to do something with their leftover time and money. - Wait, I know, could it be buy and use drugs???

When we say "uncle" or "I give up God. You help him." we are starting a new journey toward taking care of our lives and being the role model of sanity that we are promised to become by working the steps.

Let's look at this whole idea of why we don't want to surrender:
There could be a few reasons: fear of what will happen to the addict, fear of how we will cope with not knowing, fear of how we will cope if something happens to the addict, and no idea of how to live our lives without the addict at the center of it.

To all of these there is a simple answer.
First, realize that you are not God. That what you have been doing has not been working, that in fact it is hurting not only the addict, but you as well.
Second, realize that there is a Power greater than you who will help you live a happy and sane life and can potentially do the same for the addict or alcoholic in your life, if you will JUST GET OUT OF THE WAY.

It's the simplest idea, yet so difficult to implement. When we have wrapped our lives around others for so long, to simply unentangle our grasp can be a major undertaking. That is why the idea of surrendering, of letting go, is so powerful. We are not simply abandoning our loved ones. Rather, we are giving them over to a Power that can truly make a difference in their life, should they decide to participate.

In the meantime, when we let go, we can build a happy meaningful life for ourselves.

So let go and let God. Allow your addict or alcoholic or other loved one whom you have been carrying to grow up by no longer carrying them. Let God carry them and you.

And remember, you don't have to go it alone! There are 12 step programs for family members where you will find others who can help you walk this path successfully along with them!

And if you feel a coach would help, feel free to give me a call as well.

Until next week, Focus on Yourself!

Please post your comments and questions. I would love to hear your perspective!

All the Best,

aka recoverycoachbev
786 859 4050
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1 comment:

Unknown said...

I am a minister at my church and ive been struggling with my walk in the Lord because of my two teenage sons that are wanting to change.This message has blessed me richly.