Surrender is a word I never liked! For me it conjured images of a leader in an ancient battle handing his sword to his foe or a boxing match where they throw in the towel. The word surrender felt like defeat. Yet in Step One I was asked to admit powerlessness. In Steps Two and Three I was asked to surrender to a Higher Power. I listened to the experience, strength and hope of fellow members but I couldn’t shake how the word made me feel. So, I started pondering what was behind my feelings. After much reflection and journaling and talking with my sponsor, who by the way never told me what to do or feel, I realized that I didn’t have trust. I didn’t trust God. I didn’t trust myself.
I wondered, “What would it be like to have that kind of trust relationship?” I wrote lists about unconditional love and what that would be like. One quiet day sitting in the back yard listening to the birds, it occurred to me that I had surrendered to the program. The members of the fellowship had proved they were trustworthy. They loved me no matter what I shared in a meeting. I never had this kind of love and acceptance modeled for me in my life.
I realized I had suspended my cynicism and doubt when I listened to their stories. I recognized that when I was in the meeting room I had surrendered the armor of my defense behaviors so that I was open minded and open hearted. It was trust that let Listen and Learn, which is now a slogan that I use often. It was a surprise to me that I had slowly surrendered my fears and trusted the group and the program. Years later I realized that in my early recovery the program was my Higher Power. That’s where I placed my trust.
Experiencing unconditional love in meetings, I considered the possibility that my Higher Power could love me like that. In my imagination, I saw God looking at me with loving eyes, of holding me in loving arms and delighting in me exactly as I was without me needing to do or change anything about myself to receive that love. I could almost hear God asking me, “Will you let me love you?” God was working for my good though my trust in the program so I could experience unconditional love and then come to believe in a Higher Power of love. As I took time to have inner quiet, reflecting, journaling, seeing my sponsor every two weeks and attending meetings my Higher Power took my hand and led me to the peace and serenity I desired for so long. I had a spiritual awakening. I learned Love. To this I can joyfully surrender. Unconditional Love. God loves me. I love me. Now I can trust both of us.