We are individuals who ought to be able to make our own choices freely. But the addict who still suffers is unable to make wise decisions. That’s because the addict’s will is ruled by compulsion and resides in captivity.
The only way out is with the help of our Higher Power. We addicts cannot think our way to safety. Our self will is taken captive by attachment and addiction. The only response we have to life is to ‘use.’ But how is a ‘higher power’ going to make a difference?
If you are an addict who still suffers – caught in the middle of ‘self-will run riot’ – there is only one decision you can make: Surrender to your Higher Power. Until you have decided to “turn your will and your life over the care of God” you will never be able to choose anything else but the addiction.
We call it “working the steps” for a reason. Studying the steps won’t cut it. Going to meetings isn’t enough. Talking about the steps with another person won’t make the difference for you. The 12 steps are meant to be worked through. You must take the necessary action that is suggested with each individual step.
Hoping and praying won’t amount to a hill of beans until you decide to take action.
Once you have decided to surrender to your Higher Power and then work the steps, you can begin. You have made the necessary decision to begin your journey back to sanity and freedom.
Once the spell of your addiction has been broken, you are in a position that will enable you to make wise decisions. That’s where the help of another person in recovery (your sponsor and others in your fellowship) can start to mean something. That’s where going to meetings takes on its true significance.
12 Step work breaks the cycle of shame in which every shame-based addict is caught. This powerful loop which leaves us powerless can be interrupted. Even though our lives are spinning out of control, it is possible to stop the insanity. We can be rescued from the vortex of this chaotic cyclone if we will decide, once and for all, to surrender.
Working the steps is an exercise of decision making. Surrender must be made every single day, every single hour, and if necessary, every single moment that passes. Surrender must be made continually, over and over.
But if you are willing to ‘turn over your will and your life to the care of God’ you are ready to learn to make good decisions, wise decisions… freely.