I hate admitting I’m powerless, but more important, I’m usually stuck in such denial that it takes something really abrupt (aka painful or uncomfortable) to make me even realize that I might be in a situation where I’m powerless. I think these kinds of life situations should come with some kind of warning alarm, like that thing on newer cars that beeps when you’re backing up. Maybe some kind of loud universal Public Service Announcement: Hey, Jackass, you on Aisle 3, you’re heading for a collision—heads up!
I don’t want to be powerless because for me, it generally means the first thing I’m going to have to do, is nothing—an action step I loathe. Surely there must be someone I can manipulate, torment, soothes, bribe or sway into giving me what I want. When
I applied to 12 very exclusive graduate schools a few years ago and sat waiting for 5 months as the rejections (to all 12) came in one by one, now that was being powerless.
Admitting I’m powerless means I don’t get to control, manipulate, act like a martyr or play the victim (yikes! what are my options here people left?) Of course, acting badly is always an option, but it just makes you feel like crap. Admitting I’m powerless is
acknowledging that my brain is like Rain Man on steroids. It’s a dark desperate place and it will throw me under the bus in a heartbeat if I don’t maintain some sense of surrender in my life.
It is a principle I have struggled deeply with over many years of sobriety, because to surrender means accepting that I don’t always know what’s best—for me, or for anyone else. It means that all things I thought would make me happy: the husband, the children, the house, the large dog (a St.Bernard—she’s awesome!) graduating college, starting a business, driving a Volvo (I don’t own that car anymore—it died and I couldn’t afford a new one) may be great things to do, to have, to experience, but they will not, now or
ever, fill that giant God-sized hole inside my gut. At the end of the day, it will always be an inside job. And that’s why as long as we place our dependence (and it says this in the Big Book) on any other person, place or thing, we will be unable to maintain long-term sobriety.
It’s a God thing people…isn’t it always? Surrender is about trusting that there’s a plan greater than yours, and that if you will
just stop muscling your way through life, it will show up for you exactly as it’s meant to.