Practice These Principles
Living the Spiritual Disciplines and Virtues in 12-Step Recovery

Reflections in Recovery

Surrender: Transitive and Intransitive
(Posted October 8, 2012)

If we have trouble with the idea of surrender, it might help us to reflect on the fact that we do it all the time. When we hold a grudge against someone, we are surrendering to a character defect and diseased emotion. The choice is between surrendering resentment, and surrendering to resentment.

We are frequently faced with such a choice: surrendering to a flaw in us or surrendering that flaw, giving in to one form or another of our disease or giving it up, holding on to it or letting it go. We can yield to anger, fear, dishonesty, intolerance, and our self-centered passions and desires, or we can turn them over.

One form of surrender perpetuates our disease and keeps us in bondage to conflict and contention; the other releases us and sets us free to live in peace with ourselves and with others.

[Image: In the middle, Dr. Harry Tiebout, psychiatrist friend of AA who treated Bill W. and learned about surrender from Marty M. and another alcoholic woman; Bill is to his left and Dr. Bob to his right.]

For PTP passages on surrender, click on excerpts. See also “The Discipline of Surrender," in "Practice These."             


For other posts, please click on Reflections.