In recovery, we go through the steps with our sponsor. However, the steps also must be worked in our daily lives. As the Twelfth Step of Alcoholics Anonymous suggests, we must practice these principles in all our affairs.
The principle of surrender that is behind the Third Step must be practiced throughout our daily lives. As we discussed in Step Three: Surrender and the Three Jewels, surrender is about turning ourselves over to a power other than ourselves, whatever that may be. However, step three is not just about making a decision and leaving it at that.
We must turn our surrender into a way of life. If we are being honest, most of us are not in surrender for the majority of our days. Anytime we are upset, anxious, or not in acceptance, we are not in surrender. To be in surrender, we must constantly remind ourselves that something else is in charge. Earl Hightower gives the example of a soldier surrendering to an opposing army. The soldier lays his gun down and puts his hands up. The soldier is fully surrendered at this point; he doesn’t suddenly turn and pick up his gun again. In a similar way, we must fully surrender.
It is only natural that we are not in surrender all the time. However, when we aren’t in surrender we must catch ourselves. As the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous reminds us on pages 87 and 88, “As we go through the day we pause, when agitated or doubtful, and ask for the right thought or action. We constantly remind ourselves we are no longer running the show, humbly saying to ourselves many times each day ‘Thy will be done.’ ”
Surrendering means to let go of our self-will, and let something greater direct our thoughts and actions. As we have discussed, what this power is does not matter. What does matter is that we cease fighting anything and anyone. We surrender to the way things are, and opt to learn from life. Some people believe everything happens for a reason, while others believe everything is chance but we always have the opportunity to learn. Either way, surrender is about staying out of our own way, learning to live in harmony with life, and cease trying to control things.