Compliance vs. Surrender

If you were to read through the twelve steps, you might find that the wording, at least for the first few steps, has a distinct feeling of “surrendering” to it, particularly surrendering to a higher power.

There are two ways we can approach recovery: by simply complying with what is being asked of us, or surrendering our power. Surrendering, as you’ll learn in this article, is a much more effective approach to lifelong recovery.

What is the difference between complying and surrendering, and why do people who surrender have more success in their sobriety? Keep reading to find out.

What is Compliance?

The word compliance implies blindly obeying what others are telling us to do. When we’re complying, we may not even want to do what others are asking of us.

Many people will comply with the wishes of their friends and family and enter treatment. However, they may not have a true desire to recover from their addiction, and we know that a person has to want to recover in order to do so successfully.

Someone who just complies in treatment may be seeing it as a temporary solution that will keep their loved ones happy. They may also be trying to “fake it until they make it” and go through the motions of working towards sobriety without actually understanding and feeling the importance of it.

In order to successfully recover in treatment, it’s not enough to simply comply. Instead, a person must surrender.

What is Surrender?

Surrendering, on the other hand, happens when we realize there is no exit plan: committing to recovery is the only way to live a full and happy life. We realize we can’t do this all on our own and we allow a higher power to guide us through.

When we surrender, we’re taking our ego – the very thing that got us into this situation in the first place – out of the picture. According to Bill W., one of the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous, “The attainment of greater humility is the foundation principle of each of AA’s twelve steps.” Bill W. also stated that “Without some degree of humility, no alcoholic can stay sober at all.”

Nothing good can come of letting our egos control our thoughts and actions. When we are humble and let go of our ego, it allows us to accept our lives the way they are in this moment. We accept that we are where we are and that’s okay.

Learning to Surrender

It can be difficult and downright scary to give up all power and control and place all your faith in a higher power. You may have heard the phrase “trust the process” – that’s exactly what you need to do when you decide to surrender.

In order to trust the process and let go, you need to believe that the end result (in this case, sobriety) will be worth it. Your own life will improve when you are sober, but that’s not all. The lives of your friends, your significant other, your parents will also improve. All the while, feel gratitude for each experience and imagine yourself succeeding, living healthily and happily 10, 20, 30 years from now, free of the prison of addiction.

To maintain your surrender and connect with your higher power, commit to a prayer and/or meditation practice. Explore your spirituality and you’ll find that you have more faith in the unknown. Then, surrendering control becomes a little easier.

If you have been suffering from addiction and are ready to surrender, you’ve already got the right attitude. There are numerous 12-step programs out there that can help you recover for life. At Any Length, we have trained recovery specialists standing by, ready to help anyone on their journey toward lifelong recovery. To start on this journey, give us a call today at (512) 746-7036.

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Any Length Retreat is a 5 acre ranch in Austin, TX where addicted men and their families find lifelong recovery through the application of the Twelve Steps. Contact us to tell us your story.

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