A reservation is holding onto an excuse to use during addiction recovery. When you enter recovery, it is important to eliminate reservations and live with the idea of maintaining abstinence. In having reservations, you are not surrendering to recovery in and are still holding onto a crutch that is your addiction.
Common Reservations Addicts Have
A reservation is something we set aside for future use. In our case, a reservation is the expectation that, if such-and-such happens, we will surely relapse. What event do we expect will be too painful to bear? Maybe we think that if a spouse or lover leaves us, we will have to get high. If we lose our job, surely, we think, we will use. Or maybe it's the death of a loved one that we expect to be unbearable. In any case, the reservations we harbor give us permission to use when they come true-as they often do.
We can prepare ourselves for success instead of relapse by examining our expectations and altering them where we can. Most of us carry within us a catalog of anticipated misery closely related to our fears. We can learn how to survive pain by watching other members live through similar pain. We can apply their lessons to our own expectations. Instead of telling ourselves we will have to get high if this happens, we can quietly reassure ourselves that we, too, can stay clean through whatever life brings us today.
The acknowledgment of powerlessness leaves a void, which formerly was filled with mental and physical activity trying to control and manipulate the addiction or the addict. Feelings of anger, loss, emptiness, boredom, depression, and fear arise. The emptiness that was masked by the addiction is now revealed. It is an awesome realization when you acknowledge that you or your loved one has a life-threatening addiction over which you are powerless, subject only to a daily reprieve. Now, with a modicum of trust, one acquires a willingness to turn to a power beyond oneself
Surrender is giving up on our old way of life and getting some help to start a new one. We surrender when we admit we can no longer live life on our own. We surrender when we can no longer make our own decisions and get positive results. We surrender when everything in our life seems to be bad. We surrender when the pain is so great it seems we are dying inside. We surrender when we have no hope! We surrender when we have finally reached a place where we are willing to try a new way of life!
When we make the decision to surrender, we get relief from the pain of making our own decisions. Surrender is positive for us because we have hope. Surrendered, we open opportunities for other addicts to help us with our problems. Being clean does not solve all of our problems. New members have gotten the impression that just being clean will fix their disease,. Unfortunately, they end up using as soon as something does not go their way. We need to carefully explain to newcomers that our 1st Step means we acknowledge we cannot use regardless of events or the actions of other people. Surrender is a personal event. It is the beginning of a personal responsibility. Surrender is the first step in moving towards total freedom from active addiction.
Surrender and control are opposite actions. Surrender means to give up our controlling actions and ideas, our confused perspective about life and to become real. It means we can’t play God unless we are willing to live with the consequences of our actions. We didn’t write the script for reality, we aren’t even good actors. Our true place is to remove ourselves from any unpractical situation our ego places us in, pray for guidance, and let the universe govern itself as it has since the dawn of time.
We do need to work on accepting people, places, things, and situations outside of us as a part of reality. This will bring us to the spiritual principle of humility. If we are not humble we will crumble and turn ourselves into over expectant children of God.
We no longer have to be reactors, but accepters of reality. We react out of fear. We react because we are anxious, and full of self-defeating questions and a lack of spiritual answers. It puts our body into survival mode, looking for a fix. We don’t have to become emotionally involved with our problems, ever. We don’t have to take everything so personal.
We can stop controlling the world to, God has that taken care of. No matter how our ego has told us its our job, its not. Remember who wrote the script. Control is an illusion. Control blocks Gods power, and He’s not the one with power issues, we are. It stops all spiritual growth for all involved. Surrender is our admission of defeat. We cant, He can, let go of the uncontrolables, God has them covered.
In every stage in our recovery we are releasing what we’ve outgrown. In time in our recovery we know God is lovingly guiding us,and refuses to intervene in our lives until we accept circumstances as they are,reality.In all situations there is a degree of denial. It brings shock, numbness, confusion, panic,and a sense of loss. It is a natural, instinctive,and reactive to change,loss,or pain. It is the shock absorber to the soul. The next thing to come is anger, which is a reaction to the truth. We may once again try to find a victim to blame. We can blame people, places, things, situations and God for our feelings. Then we try to bargain with reality. We will unconsciously make deals with people, places, God,and anyone around. We try to set off a chain of events routed in control. When none of that dope dealing addict behavior works we fall into depression. The gig is up. No happy dance for us today. Then when we get real, and spiritual, God steps in.SURRENDER.No more fighting with reality. After surrender we get acceptance.
Surrender is not necessarily a loss,but it’s a pause to invite God into a situation so it can become practical. It means to release the emotional attachment to an outcome. It is a skill we can use constantly in our recovery. To surrender is to truly let go of the uncontrolables. It is a calling card to God, the universe. It allows the universe to do its job, and for us to relax. It is a physical experience: the control we are letting go of is in the muscles, felt as tightness and restraint. To surrender is the act of relaxing the muscles grip and simply let yourself be. The more we want the program the more we will practice surrender. Constantly practice giving up control. Repeat the following exercise at least
three times a day,
Stop for a minute: close your eyes, inhale deeply. Say the serenity prayer, or the third step prayer. Any tension and trouble can be turned over this way. If the daily trouble is still there repeat it until God owns your issues. We cant, He can.
When we are sick of living in the problem, spiritual principles work. When we feel victimized, it is because some person, place, thing, or situation refuses to follow our egos direction. We can learn to be responsible and accountable for ourselves.