A new understanding of surrender

Last night, I got a text from an old using buddy. In fact, J. was the one with whom I reconnected on my last relapse. He actually called me on my stuff then — talked about recovery — and had us pray together. In a sense, he pulled out of my rut and called me back to a more serious and honest recovery. So, like a little brother, he has held a special place in my daily prayers over the past 40 days.

Sadly, he’s still caught in the grip of the disease. He wasn’t texting to see how my Christmas shopping was going. When I replied with questions about his recovery and told him I would be here for him if he needed to talk or go to a meeting, the texting stopped. My heart broke. I said a prayer for him and drifted off to sleep.

Today, I was sharing with a friend about the late night contact. I talked about how there was no temptation to do anything more than help. I shared that even had I been out at my house alone or somewhere on my own (vs. where I am now with a roommate), I probably would have been ok with the text. “I didn’t call anyone as it was late — but if I had been alone, or had problems letting go, I would have.”

That’s when my friend pointed out I still was looking at this the wrong way. I was talking about my strength and my ability to say no. I wasn’t talking from a position of surrender, giving up control, and admitting powerlessness. It’s the cunning part of the disease – wanting me to believe I can handle things like a text from J. With that false pride, next time I might put myself in a risky situation because I think I can handle it. Or, I might not call as quickly as I need to and succumb to the temptation. My friend even cautioned me that praying isn’t sufficient. Like the 5th step in our fellowships tells us to share with our Higher Power and another human being, that triangle of confession is at the heart of admitting — of finding the humility to acknowledge true powerlessness and lack of control to God and another human being.

Good insight. Focus on surrender, not strength — on powerlessness, not ability.

I continue to pray for J – because at this point, that’s the best I can do for him. To think I can save him, or be there for him is truly naïve. The temptation to pick up would be too strong. My recovery comes first – and if I honestly want what’s best for him, I need to keep him in my prayers — asking for God’s will, not mine. To vainly try anything but surrendering him to my Higher Power is really more about my disease, my wants and an unhealthy codependency than it is an honest desire to see him do well.

The good news is I know God’s will is for him to be clean and to find freedom. It’s just a question of when he hits his bottom and accepts that he is an addict. He has some knowledge of recovery…so I pray that his bottom isn’t too low.

Letting go…

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I see life as full of possibilities and the world full of beautiful people possessing unique and often untapped talents. I’m a learner and connector, seeking ways to leverage the abundance in this world through strong community.

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