Monday, September 22, 2014


I heard it again at a meeting. "You'll never win your fight with addiction until you surrender." A dozen different ways, this sentiment is stock advice at Twelve Step programs meaning: Doing it yourself your own way hasn't worked, isn't working, and won't work in the future. Turning the treatment of your disease over to the program is the "surrender" referred to in slogans and advice.

When addicts seeking recovery first hear this, it doesn't sound right. If I'm in a fight with a disease, the answer is to surrender? Surrender to what?It doesn't sound right because, in my opinion, it isn't right. I remember quite clearly my first surrender to the disease of addiction. I was looking in my bathroom mirror getting ready to, once again, take those damned pills. I looked deeply into the reflection of my own eyes, realizing that I was addicted to those pills just as I was addicted to alcohol."I guess this is just one more thing I'll have to put up with," I said. White flag up, I surrendered unconditionally, no more looking for answers, no more fight left in me. That, brothers and sisters, is surrender.

So how, then, did I get and stay clean? Okay, what my little army had to throw into my battle against addiction was woefully inadequate. What I needed were allies; strong, reliable allies with excellent fighting credentials and winning records. A rehabilitation center was my introduction to the allies I needed in my war against addiction. First I needed soldiers and a plan (12 Steps, meetings, other recovering addicts, and not picking up). Second, I needed a pathfinder to show me where the sound footing was and to steer me away from the quicksand, blind canyons, and thin ice. I would learn to call this ally a "sponsor." Third, I needed heavy artillery and a medical unit: Some sort of power that can shield me when I'm under attack, heal me when I'm wounded, and that can locate the me that wants to be a human being instead of a slave. I would learn to call that ally my Higher Power.

Don't surrender; Make alliances that can keep you clean and contain your enemy.


Pdogge said...

Hello again Barry and I am sorry to hear you are poorly. Life is like this sometimes...not always fair except when it is. I am glad to see you blogging again as you are well liked and respected by some of my local alky mates. When I know of an AA friend that is not well, I pop round to wish them well and take them my copy of your "Yesterdays Tomorrow" for a loan. You have assembled much wisdom Barry and it is much appreciated.
The other day before our Meeting a newish member asked me what was my favorite passage from the Big Book. My reply - The Promises, but especially the reminder that My HP has done that for me which I have been unable to do for myself and for which I am most grateful.
An old Alky once shared in a meeting that he thought "really grateful" alkies rarely picked again. I thinkhe is right.
Take care Barry
Your recovering friend in NZ, Neville L

Pdogge said...

oops..."picked up"again.

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