How to Surrender in Addiction Recovery



Today we’re going to talk about surrender in addiction recovery and ways you can do this in your own journey. As you may know, drug and alcohol use affects the prefrontal cortex, which is the area of the brain charged with impulse control, self-awareness, and long-term goals vs. short-term ones. As controlled substances continue to wear down this area of the brain, it becomes scientifically more difficult to control willpower, decision making. For some reason, however, addiction programs and family members continue to focus on this concept, which sets individuals up for failed sobriety from the beginning. People who surrender ask for help because they know that recovery is virtually impossible to attain by themselves. In fact, in the 37 years I have been an addictions professional I have not seen one individual who was able to establish and maintain sobriety by themselves (not a one).

A remarkable feat for me personally as I spent many years attempting to get sober. From the ages of 21 to 26, I went to a handful of treatment centers. Going Most people with alcohol and drug addiction survive in, I truly did want to stop doing drugs and wanted the pain to stop. There’s so much more to getting and staying sober than really wanting to stop, however.

Your Safe Space Worksheet

Humility in recovery is an essential foundation for a better life. For instance, it provides us with the willingness to surrender our ego and false pride. It also provides the courage to show our vulnerable side and admit to the problem of addiction.

  • Since the situations in which you exist are likely to change, the terms of your surrender will need to change too.
  • The virtues of self awareness, acceptance, and self-honesty, give us the courage and willingness to be vulnerable, to be truly humble.
  • As we have discussed, surrender is a bit elusive and does not necessarily show up when we need it to.

Nobody likes to give up power in this world, which is why so many people view surrender as giving up. Robin is an advocate for education and volunteers at Coopertown Elementary School. Cindy Patterson accepted her role as Chief Development and Marketing Officer in 2019. Cindy has more than 16 years of experience in non-profit fundraising, most recently serving as Development Officer for United Methodist Higher Education Foundation. Of Development for Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee, a position she held for 10 years after serving as Development Director for Nashville Read.

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From an outside perspective, it is not hard to understand how this condition can present a significant problem for recovery. However, as a person in recovery, it can be challenging to see these symptoms in ourselves. It is vital that we do, however, as it is key to our overall surrender process. It’s no secret that it is hard to achieve long term sobriety. At its core, surrender is rigorous honesty that forces us to acknowledge things that we’d rather forget.

What is happening is that the individual is weighing their long-term goal of achieving a healthy lifestyle with the short-term pleasure of eating a slice of cake. As they prioritized their long-term and larger goals, they can be described as having “willpower.” Keep this in mind as we continue. At the same time, alcohol and other drugs trigger a powerful release of the pleasure-inducing chemical dopamine in the brain’s reward system. Friendship, affection and supportive companionship all trigger a similar release of dopamine in the brain. Another way to view active addiction in terms of surrendering is that it “hijacks” the mind, forcing us to relinquish all control. When our bodies and minds become so accustomed to a particular substance, we no longer have control over ourselves.



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