From fear to freedom: learning to surrender

Thx Matt, I’ll keep practicing surrender and staying on the Path, (Pema says constantly think of others :+1:)
I’ll practice prayer some more and be willing to be patient, and -justvremembered I’ve so much to be grateful for,
Ty Lordy for this life in recovery :pray:
Hope you enjoy your day Matt, and Godspeed :hugs:


I catch myself holding on to:

  • my will (“will” here meaning control of outcomes: I want or “need” X project or task to become Y result); I cling to my will - it often shows up as worry and fretting; being preoccupied and distracted by things that are mostly outside my control (for example, “when will I be able to pay my loan balance down”, worrying about where that money will come from; I don’t control where the money comes from; what I do control is A) choosing to recognize and surrender my wilful preoccupation and worry, B) taking a few minutes to re-centre myself and connect with supports here on Talking Sober and in my recovery contacts, and C) taking the next constructive action that is in my control (which in this case is preparing an estimate for a client who’s asked me to put one together) - and those three actions will put things in place so the money I need can come to me, according to the natural pattern and flow of my sober life (and most of the external stuff in my life, including who decides to hire me and pay me, is not in my control; I need to surrender that))

I am surrendering my wilful clinging to worry. I am letting that go. I am not neglecting what is important, but I am finding freedom by A) acknowledging the things over which I have no power (which are the things, external to me, that I am worrying about), and B) centring myself on the tasks and choices that are in my power.

Powerlessness / Power

Two sides of the coin of surrender;
Two sides of the coin of freedom.


Wow this is so beautiful :blue_heart:


End of the day and going to bed sober. I’m grateful :innocent:

Today was another day of things falling into place. This whole week has felt like it’s “clicking”: the right person and the right opportunity at the right time. I think this is the result of surrender.


This week was full of serendipitous stuff, things I didn’t plan for but where they just “clicked”: projects finishing ahead of schedule and me getting paid (I locked in 4% of my annual earnings this week), and finding good staff, etc etc. Stuff I’ve worried about for months.

I think all this happened because of surrender. The actual action of surrendering, I mean. Surrender is not the same as doing nothing. Surrender is a conscious act, a decision to try to “live what you are” instead of trying to avoid what you are. Surrender, so far, is requiring me to let go of the idea that I need to be some grand designer of my life - it’s requiring me to let go of pride - and instead to focus on doing small things every day.

The addict voice is still whispering to me, like someone knocking at the door (someone I’m not letting into the house, but they keep knocking). I have called my sober contacts, I have gone walking with my spouse, I have spent my day doing constructive things (I was at the Bahá’í centre for spring cleaning most of the day), I have said prayers, I have talked directly to my higher power. It works, I definitely feel a re-centring with these activities, but it is one hour at a time today. There’s something going on for me emotionally and I’m not sure what it is.


Nature amazes me. On our walk today before dinner, we came across this fallen tree in the forest by our house. (There was a tornado last summer and it tore a swath through the first here.) The tree is still alive. The branches are full of new green leaves, ready for the spring and summer.

This to me symbolizes opportunity (it is everywhere and we only see it if we open our eyes to what’s possible where we are, instead of where we imagine we could or should be) - we have to be humble and let go of our pride (“I should be a tall tree everybody looks up to”) in order to find the growth that’s all around us, always - but it also symbolizes surrender.

Surrender, to me, is an aspect of the natural world. It’s an aspect of our natural, balanced state. We surrender constructively and creatively to our circumstances, not in the sense that our circumstances are something we’re resigned to, but in the sense that being open to new spaces and new ways to grow (like this tree, continuing to grow even after being flattened by a tornado), surrendering my preconceived notions of what growth is and how it should look and feel -

That’s how I learn and that’s how I grow. Healthy surrender, surrendering my preconceived ideas, my assumptions: that’s how I grow.



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The willingness to let go of (to surrender) self, to let go of the imagined idea that somehow, my addiction - which is always self-centred; addiction and self and isolation (with self) go hand-in-hand - the idea that somehow my addiction brings me something, anything valuable: willingness is one of the gifts of sobriety.

Willingness; willingness to surrender the character defects, the dysfunctional behaviours I’ve held onto for so long.

Tom K talks about that willingness here (this podcast is Fireside Chat; it’s a podcast hosted by Sexaholics Anonymous member Daniel T):

I was listening to this during my walk before breakfast this morning. I like it when an interview makes me stop and ask, ‘Wait, do I know what I’m doing about this?’ Do I know what I’m willing to let go of?

I’m still learning. I don’t have a clear idea of exactly what I’m surrendering. I have a list of the messed up stuff I’ve done with my addiction, but that’s not really what I’m surrendering. What I’m giving up is my attachment to the cause of that messed up stuff.

This is a process of excavation. It’s a painstaking process: I’ve got layers and layers of history to excavate here. Each day I uncover some more.

(One thing I’m grateful for is I’ve always had a passion for history. That makes this process kind of an adventure for me. It’s embarrassing and sometimes soaked in regret and pain, but it is an intimate and empowering history.)


Willingness is stressed so heavily in AA, and after several months attending my group and being sober, it finally clicked as to why. Hope allows for a crack in the door, willingness is what walks us through. Love your reflections.


I love this. Thanks! :innocent:

Life is the dancer and you are the dance. (Eckhart Tolle)

I love this image of surrender. I was reminded of it in my reflections tonight when I was struggling to let go of my worry. I’m worrying because I’m trying to be the dancer. That’s not what I am. I am the dance. When I accept that, when I surrender my idea that I am / should be the dancer, that’s when I start to get free.


Surrendering the obsession (the obsession and “romanticizing” my addiction, like it’s something I should go back to) -

I am grappling with the obsession today (and have been for a few days). It’s like a squeaky wheel, it keeps making noise while I’m trying to move through my life:

squeak (‘just a little bit would be fine, c’mon’)
squeak (‘it’ll only be a few minutes’)
squeak (‘you’re already obsessing over it now, the only way to make it go away is to do it’)

Bullshit! I call bullshit.

I’m sharing about it here to get it out of my head. For me this is one of the more challenging parts of surrender. That “squeaky wheel” of obsession lingers. (I should probably figure out what’s making the wheel squeak, and then fix that. I’ll reflect on that :innocent:)


Squeak squeak squeak…

Fuck you, addiction. Not today.

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Another thing I’m holding on to:
Helplessness and self-pity (because those were the mindsets that gave my addiction a perfect place to live).

Business is picking up for the summer: good. I have projects ready to go.

I haven’t organized my schedule. Not the end of the world, but it means I’ve got projects up in the air and I’m not sure when they’re starting. I’ve got clients contacting me and I am wincing, thinking, ‘I should have organized this last week!’ (or two weeks ago)

Part of me burns with embarrassment. That part of me wants to hide.

I can’t hide and I won’t hide. I will make some calls this afternoon to organize things, set up what I can, make a few calls and some apologies, and get things moving. I feel the sting of dropping the ball but that’s ok. What matters is I’m working with what I have today; I’m not avoiding and escaping.


Borrowing from my own well-being (my healthy self-care) to care for others / perform tasks for others.

I surrender that. I give it up.

I had a late night working yesterday (estimates, project planning / management) and slept in later than normal this morning. By the time I was up with my clothes on, it was my typical time to go to work.

Does this mean I cancel my morning exercise? My step 4 reflections / journaling?


To be present with myself and to be caring for myself (nutrition, physical motion / activity, etc) is a requirement, for me to be present and constructive in projects with others. My clients and my staff gain nothing from having me neglect my health.

The only thing that benefits from me neglecting my health is my misaligned sense of duty. Duty - if it is healthy presence and constructive growth - is never at the expense of one’s own health. Since I am part of a community, taking care of my health (even during the work day, by going to the gym now, before lunch) is part of my service, my duty, my healthy presence.

I’m going to the gym! :muscle: :innocent:



I am giving up self-compensation: for example, impulsively buying and eating junk food - not just a little, but actually really big quantities - alone in the car, in the afternoons.

What is it about that behaviour that makes it “fit” in my life? The only way that fits - that kind of solo-snacking, sneaking snacks before getting him one for dinner - the only way that fits is if I’m “getting away with something”.

Like my addiction. Something I hide; something that keeps me distracted and off track (in the same way bingeing before dinner keeps my body’s nutrition off track).

Is it wrong to have treats? No. This isn’t about right and wrong. This is about living vs escaping from life.

Living is about being present and savouring. So enjoying a fresh baked pie with my wife is living.

Escaping from life is eating 2.5 large bags of licorice in the car, solo, on the way home after a long day of work. Why am I eating that licorice? I’m not savouring it; instead, I’m shovelling it into my mouth. Where’s the savouring (or the living) in that?

Self-compensating like that feels like a kind of self-pity for me: at least I get to do this after scrambling all day “doing things for other people” (which itself is a mindset that emerges from my misaligned sense of duty, but that’s a separate reflection).

I surrender this self-compensation. I’m not a pity case. I’m a human. I have space to be: to live, to breathe, to savour my life; I don’t have to bury myself in something distracting.



Worrying is a thing I need to surrender.

I’ve been worrying off and on my whole life, but I’m conscious of it in a different way now. Like this morning:

  • 5:30 am, making breakfast, fretting that I’d be late for my appointments this morning (which don’t start until 8:00! I’d already set them up at reasonable times)
  • 7:05 am, getting into my car, fretting that I was behind for the day, that I was off to a slow start and everything would be slowed down by my “lateness” (which again, wasn’t true; I was well within my buffer)

The truth is:
I was sober yesterday and used the opportunity to plan my day for today. As a result, I’m not scrambling; I’m ok.

Worrying and crisis thinking. I cling to that because it’s familiar. But I don’t live that way any more. I can and should let that go.


Thanks for the insight in your process. Luv reading it and can relate to a lot.


This was me pre-recovery. I so feel you, Matt. And you are doing the work to stop the madness between our two ears and let our HPs’ deal with it.


How is it going, Matt?
I can relate to the being stressed about being late. My mind is constantly calculating time when how if. Will I have enough time to do this or that. When I leave late for work, I will have to stay longer and can I do what I want and have to do afterwards. All this calculation is tiring and I still have no real tool to say: you know what: stop and shut the fuck up for a second.