Photo courtesy of Flickr, under creative commons license

Photo courtesy of Flickr, under creative commons license

Imagine pushing your car instead of driving it.

There’s plenty of gas and everything works, but you prefer to push the car because you want to be in control.

Although this sounds absurd, it is comparable to how some of us live our lives, with an overdeveloped need to control everything.

The need for control tends to force us into more manageable but less efficient and more difficult methods of operation.

Someone very close to me recently explained that it was this need for control that lead her down a path of addiction, and it wasn’t until she learned to surrender that she was able to escape the grip. 

Outside Powers

The problem is having faith in powers outside of yourself.

It seems like the power of the car is obvious, and controlling it with a gas pedal and steering wheel makes more sense, and to the largest extent it does.

In this example, the car represents a higher power that can bring ease to your life, but you must allow it.

Simple proximity to the power does no good.

My friend went on to explain that the need to control is a regressive mentality that wants as much control as possible, and it isn’t subject to logic.

She explained further that her difficult path to recovery has been beset with many difficulties, both self-imposed and some seemingly external.

Her road to success began with the obvious steps of forced sobriety and heavily monitored progress.

These got her on a manageable path, but it wasn’t until she understood surrender that she really escaped the grips of her demons.

Surrender the Need for Control

In the beginning, I simply asked her how she was doing, which led to how did she do it?

I expected her to tell me that over time the drugs lost their power over her or that she had developed better habits or something along those lines.

Nope.

She told me she finally surrendered. My first thought was that she gave up and that she wasn’t sober at all, but hiding it better.

Again, nope. She said that she finally surrendered and let God participate in her recovery.

This was unexpected coming from her. Although she was never a self-proclaimed atheist, she exhibited a great deal of the characteristics of one.

Once she indicated that she had a spiritual relationship with a higher power I was a little surprised.

Surrender Is Not Weakness

It wasn’t, however, until she began to integrate the spiritual principle of surrender that she truly began her road to sobriety.

Surrender is often conflated with weakness and losing.

This is typically because of a conflict mindset that makes surrender the opposite of victory.

But it is more like changing positions from pushing your car to getting in the driver’s seat and piloting it. The latter allows us to take advantage of the powers of the car, but requires that we release our need to be responsible for every aspect of our journey.

When we do this, she explained, we gain the powers of the blessing around us, like steering and acceleration, and we free ourselves to put work into more useful parts of our lives.

This also replaced her self-centered world view and she started seeing the benefits of helping others.

She said her program required volunteerism, but she couldn’t fully experience the enhanced self-esteem, empathy and personal development until she surrendered. Then it was like a light going on.

Suddenly, all of the counseling, neurocounseling and wisdom that had been shared with her made sense.

She emphasized that this was a beginning and not an end, but that her path was brighter and it took surrendering to open up this path.

Now I watch with confidence as she negotiates her path, fastened in the driver’s seat and not at the bumper pushing.