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Surrender: Taking the First Step to End Addiction

Surrender: Taking the First Step to End Addiction

Have you ever thought about giving up and just admitting that you need help?  Are you tired of fighting to escape the addictive patterns that are controlling you?   Are you feeling powerless over your addiction?  Are you ready to accept some hard facts?

Out of Control and Feeling Powerless Over Addiction

I am only asking these questions because I believe that admitting to being powerless is a very scary thing.  All 12-step programs have this very idea of being powerless over an addiction as the FIRST step to recovery.  I had to look into this before I could decide for myself.   Am I not smarter or more powerful than any substance?  Imagine a hot french fry hurling itself toward you and threatening to take you out!  Certainly, I would have the brains to duck and cover. Years ago, I visited a 12-step support group for overeaters.  My agreement to abstain from all forms of refined sugar was the first requirement.  My first meal in a restaurant was pure torture.  I was terrified that sugar may be hiding somewhere in the food I ordered.  I cringed to think that an all-powerful threat to my eventual freedom could be lurking around, while I innocently let it take over my life. Until I could make better sense of it all, I decided to focus on what I knew for sure.  I knew that once any substance is taken into the body, the body has no choice but to accept it for what it is.  Think of putting your favorite sugary drink into the gas tank of your car.  Can your car convert this drink to fuel?  Can your car decide to not accept the damages that are about to happen?  We would never be so foolish as to expect our cars to run on Kool-Aid.  It is just as foolish to believe that our bodies and brains can function well when we are using drugs. Admitting that you are powerless over the effects of alcohol, drugs or addictive behavior is simply stating that you are a human being.  Refuse to see yourself as a powerless wimp and victim of evil forces. There is nothing outside of you that is greater than the power of your mind.  What you focus on can either defeat you or pull you along the path to your eventual goal.  There is no power in a bottle of alcohol or drug of choice. The problem is caused by the addict focusing attention on those things.  When faced with overwhelming feelings, the addict will focus attention toward the “fix.”  Feelings are the way our bodies tell us that we need something.  Once we get a feeling, we head out toward a “fix”. For example:

  • Boredom is a signal to crank up the party animal image and loosen up with your favorite drug.
  • Loneliness can be fixed by pretending that strangers at the bar are your friends.
  • Depression is very easy to ignore when one is moving into the euphoria from the high of the drug of your choice.

For the addict, there is little time put into focusing on positive solutions to real feelings.  A “fix” is always quick. There are better ways to deal with life than a quick “fix”.  Recovery groups can offer help for making positives changes in how to deal with feelings.  Many others have gone through this and we can benefit from their lessons. Remember, I asked you earlier if you were ready to face some hard facts?  Well, total abstinence is one of the hardest facts to face. Total abstinence is the ONLY way to escape addiction!  There is no way around this.  I believe that is why the first step needs to be taken seriously.  I don’t know why some people can take a little of this and a little of that and not become addicted.  For the addict, there is no such a thing as just a little. Admitting that you have a problem takes humility.  Once you have admitted to yourself the truth about your addiction, it is time to focus on living a sober life.

The Battlefield for the Mind of the Addict

Playing games and fighting battles that can never be won will only waste energy. “Choose your battles wisely. After all, life isn’t measured by how many times you stood up to fight. It’s not winning battles that makes you happy, but it’s how many times you turned away and chose to look into a better direction. Life is too short to spend it on warring. Fight only the most, most, most important ones, let the rest go.” ~ C. JoyBell C When a boxer is being beaten, his coach can choose to stop the fight by throwing a white towel into the ring.  The saying “throwing in the towel” means “to give up, to avoid further punishment when facing certain defeat.” For the opponent, it is an instant victory.  For the loser, because he surrendered, it means a chance to walk away alive! Surrender can mean a second chance.  Surrender demands that the fighting stops.  No more inflicting pain.  The fighting ends, and the doctors rush in to take care of the wounds.  Healing can begin. I tripped and sprained both my wrists last week.  The doctor at Urgent Care became my best friend in my time of need.  He was 100% focused on getting me through my awful pain and panic.  Tears rolling down my cheeks made me feel like I had lost control.  The news of “nothing is broken” snapped me out of my fear.  I was able to switch my attention to what was next, and I felt my peace return.  I listened to the next instruction and left with a feeling of hope for a quick recovery. Stay focused on your recovery.  Move toward freedom from addiction and toward a better life.  Deciding to throw in the towel just might be in order.  Surrender can be sweet.  Now, that is what I call a win!

Northpoint Recovery is a private, highly specialized drug and alcohol detox and rehab treatment center located in Southwestern Idaho. We specialize in helping adults, adolescents, and families affected by substance use who require inpatient and detox services. We accept most forms of insurance, credit cards, and private payment. For more information, please visit us at