Surrender and Willingness: Disarming the Juggernaut of Self Will
“Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.”
What a critical and amazing Step towards spiritual healing and growth. Many talk about the accompanying principle being willingness, and AA’s Step 3 does involves a great deal of willingness. But for this Addict, surrender is the key.
A co-worker once told me that, “you come to work with your sword drawn every day.” He meant that as a compliment and I reveled in the fact that I relentlessly fought my way through life on (what I thought) were self will and brain power alone.
But no more. Today, this Addict needs to find the willingness to surrender his thoughts and his actions to the Higher Power of his understanding each day. And sometimes several times a day.
My intellect and will power have been great survival mechanisms that have gotten me through strife and tribulation, but without surrendering to the help and guidance of a Higher Power, I was attacking problems that “wouldn’t yield to a headlong assault powered by the individual alone.” I was, in fact, making things worse in many cases.
This Addict has had several “nearly fatal encounters with the juggernaut of self will.” Been there. Done that. Don’t want to go back.
Sometimes I still “break out in a rush of self will,” but these days I almost always nip it in the bud with prayer to my Higher Power to align my will with Theirs.
Even today, just before I read Step 3 in the AA 12 & 12, a heavy tension crept into my jaw and shoulder muscles as my mind began to ruminate and obsess about our financial situation -with my wife preparing to go to work on Tuesday as a federal employee with no pay and several major, expensive home maintenance items dangling over our heads like anvils suspended by fraying rope.
After a fairly short time, I turned to prayer and Cognitive Behavioral to put my thinking on a realistic track -eventually surrendering our financial situation to my Higher Power, feeling at peace staying in the present moment, thinking of the actions we could take to affect our situation, and leaving everything that we can’t change or control in Their hands.
Surrender and willingness have been wonderful balms for my tortured, bedraggled soul, and have enabled me to thrive instead of exist.
I am grateful that life beat me down hard enough that I was desperate enough to seek AA, where I learned to practice surrender and willingness, AND that I have stayed there to continue practicing them.
Note: The sentences or fragments in quotes have been borrowed from the AA Big Book or the AA 12 Steps and 12 Traditions.