A few nights ago I was sitting in a book study with my sponsor and sponsor brothers – and my sponsor, Chris D., said something I’d heard before but loved hearing again….
“Each of our 12 Steps is designed to have us surrender something.”
Now, I’ve heard that said before and have heard it said in many different ways, but I loved the reminder that I’m called to let go of the liabilities that no longer works for me – the causes and conditions of my failure.
I don’t know if you’ve ever done this or not, but I have the Big Book on my tablet and did a word search for the word “surrender.” I was surprised to find that it’s not in our book until the personal story in Part 1: Pioneers of A.A., “The Housewife Who Drank At Home.” It’s not in the fist 164 pages of our basic text. Those pages DO talk about letting go, abandoning, etc., but the word itself isn’t used.
I learned pretty early on when I started taking the Steps that I was going to have to begin to surrender some things, thoughts, belief systems that no longer served me. I don’t remember it being called out that way by those I was working with, but today, I can truly see how surrender is vital to my personal happiness. For me to have that “personality change” Bill writes about on page 567 in the Appendices “Spiritual Experience,” I was going to need to begin surrendering old ideas in favor of new ones.
When I created the Step Study on this site, I spent a great deal of time considering in each Step what I was going to need to be willing to let go of. While this is certainly not an exhaustive list, it is a great start for me to be aware of what I need to relinquish in my life to start living the life you promised me beyond my wildest dreams.
In each of the Steps, I get to surrender…
Step 1: The delusion that in and of myself I have power, and the belief that alcohol is my problem
Step 2: My desire to control everything myself, and my belief that I am responsible for the outcome of my life
Step 3: The person I was before taking these Steps and my belief that I know better than God what is right for me
Step 4: Fear of looking at who I was, and any desire to regret the past
Step 5: Fear of sharing my inventory with another human being
Step 6: The desire to hold onto my defects of character no matter how familiar or comfortable they are
Step 7: Belief that I can become less of my character defects on my own or remove them myself
Step 8: Fear of telling the truth, my need to point out “their” part, and fear of the outcome
Step 9: My hesitation to take action, fear they won’t accept my amends, and fear of the outcome
Step 10: My belief that I don’t need to enhance the inventory I did in Step 4 each and every day and identify “defects du jour”
Step 11: My belief that meditation is hard and only for those more spiritual than myself
Step 12: Fear that I don’t have anything to give, and laziness in practicing these principles in all my affairs
I’m grateful beyond measure that today, I am willing to ask God to remove from me those things which I find objectionable. 1.) The willingness to see them as objectionable and 2.) the action of asking God to remove them from me is where surrender starts for me. I’ve had some “white light” surrender experiences to be sure, but honestly this simple two-step process can also produce great results.
Active work in the 12 Steps can aid in my surrender today and provide me that quite place in bright sunshine I’ve always wanted.
In love and service,