Definition of Surrender:
Stop resisting and submit to an authority.

Synonyms of Surrender:

Capitulate, concede, submit, give way, acquiesce, relent, etc.

These notes are from recovery in AA and/or related 12 step programs. Readers are encouraged to click external links for more detail. We hope you find them helpful.

Love in fellowship.

Surrender is only the beginning. Once we surrender, we need to learn how to live in the peace we have found. –Just for Today | More…

True surrender is not simply surrender of our external life but surrender of our will— and once that is done, surrender is complete. And after you surrender— then what? Your entire life should be characterized by an eagerness to maintain unbroken fellowship and oneness with God. –Oswald Chambers | More…

Surrender to what is. Say “yes” to life… and see how life suddenly starts working for you rather than against you. –Eckhart Tolle | More…

If we can surrender to God’s guidance, it will cost us our self-will, that “commodity” so precious to those of us who have always thought we could and should run the show. –A Day At A Time | More…

The most important part of the A.A. program is to give our drink problem to God honestly and fully. If we let God have it and keep it for good and then cooperate with Him, we’ll stay sober. –24Hours | More…

Surrender may defined as exchanging one set of circumstances for another — Unknown

Knowing ourselves makes our lives better in recovery. But it does not give us sobriety.
Sobriety starts with surrender to our Higher Power. We need faith and strength we get from a Higher Power. –Keep It Simple | More…

When we have feelings of guilt or self-hate, we have spiritual problems. In the early stages of recovery we may, at times, feel more shameful than we ever did before, simply because we are becoming honest about how we feel.

We may even become ashamed of our guilty feelings, and then the problem escalates.
Lack of love for ourselves is at the heart of our problem.

We cannot become self-loving by force of will, but we can stop being so wilful by simply yielding to the care of a loving God. At those moments we do not feel deserving of love, but we can stop fending it off.

As we yield to it, we take a spiritual leap into a world we don’t control and we didn’t create, but we can be healed by it. –Touchstones 24/06 | More…

The AA program ultimately asks us to make TWO surrenders, not just one. We need to surrender our drinking alcohol (Step One), and we also need to surrender our self-will (Step Three).–©Barefootsworld

Frankly life is a cause for continual surrender, whether one is in a program or not.
Surrender is never a singular event. It therefore needs to be revisited many times in order in the cause of furthering one’s evolution.

One positive aspect of cyclical development is that there is no finish line in the program and, therefore, no standard of perfection to achieve. No matter how long you stay sober you will continue to evolve. Everyone in recovery has only one day of sobriety, the twenty four hours in which he is currently living. –Recovering Spirituality/Ingrid Mathieu Ph.D. p.111-114 | More…

John Welwood originated the term spiritual bypassing, defining it as ‘using spiritual ideas and practices to sidestep personal, emotional ‘unfinished business,’ or to shore up a shaky sense of self, or to belittle basic needs, feelings, developmental tasks, all in the name of enlightenment.’ –Recovering Spirituality/Ingrid Mathieu | More…

We didn’t stumble into this fellowship brimming with love, honesty, open-mindedness, or willingness…. When we were beaten, we became willing

Most of the pain we experience comes from fighting, not surrendering. In fact, when we surrender, the pain ends and hope takes its place. We begin to believe that all will be well and, after some time, realize that our lives are much better as a result. –Just for Today | More…

Today, I describe “hitting bottom” not as a particular set of awful consequences, but as the point at which I wanted to stay sober more than I wanted to get drunk. It was then that I accepted that my “design for living” was not working and I surrendered to the idea of recovery.

It was the surrender itself that marked my being aware that I had “hit bottom”. I knew that I had hit bottom when I surrendered my old way of living in favour of staying clean and sober.

For me powerlessness is; I cannot stop when I start, and I cannot stay stopped, the two heads of which are comprised of “obsession” and “compulsion”.

I had lost the power of reasoned choice. I must accept that the unmanageability of my own life extends to my beliefs from which my perceptions and actions have flown.

Emotional volatility, constant fear, worry, severe anxiety and depression all these things are symptoms of my inward unmanageability.

I hold no reservation that I can use alcohol under any circumstance, nor that I can fill the void inside of myself with that which is outside of myself. In the First Step, the spiritual principles which I have applied are honesty, open-mindedness, willingness, humility, and acceptance. –© The Tao of Recovery | More…

As we recover, new opportunities to surrender present themselves. We can either struggle with everyone and everything we encounter or we can recall the benefits of our first surrender and stop fighting. –Just for Today | More…

Our fears are lessened and faith begins to grow as we learn the true meaning of surrender. We are no longer fighting fear, anger, guilt, self-pity, or depression

Surrender can be difficult, still, it’s easier to trust God, a Power capable of managing our lives, than to trust only ourselves, whose lives are unmanageable. And the more we surrender, the easier it gets. –Just For Today | More…

The Five Stages of Surrender Within the Twelve Steps
“The Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous,” created by A.A. founders Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith, has had a major spiritual influence on the lives of millions of people.

Everyone can use the concepts in these steps as guidelines to living their own lives. The references to alcohol and alcoholics in steps one and 12 can be substituted for any kind of problem, issue, condition or addiction in one’s life.

We see steps one and two as surrenders to whatever the problem or challenge is:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over [            ] – that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

It is important to identify your challenge. If you can’t identify a specific problem, insert “happiness”— We’ve seen that done before.

The first word in the first step is “we,” which is the magic of Twelve Step programs and meetings. Sometimes, just being around those who are in the same situation as we are and who understand our pains, can be a healing experience.

I think there is no challenge or problem that others cannot relate to and can offer support if asked to give guidance. Admitting that you have a problem and seeking help are the most important steps in the process.

Step two is the surrender, an acknowledgement that your way of dealing with an issue may not be working. Trying a new way with proper help and support is the sane path.

I see steps three, four, and five as surrendering to a higher power and becoming able to share your vulnerability.

  1. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of [God] as we understood him.
  2. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  3. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

The wonderful part of Alcoholics Anonymous is the openness that I am allowed to develop in my own relationship with God or a higher power. The words in italics at the end of Step 3 comforted me.

These steps put the emphasis on looking outside of ourselves for comfort and direction. It is also a large part in the healing process.

Steps six and seven ask you to surrender yourself, as a human being, to acknowledge your wonderful imperfections, and to ask God to help you improve.

  1. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  2. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

The personal surrendering of our true self, our faults, and our weaknesses is a significant step in building true character, personal values, and strengths.

Steps eight, nine and ten are designed to set things right with others in your world.

  1. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  2. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  3. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

These steps force us to acknowledge that we are accountable to those whom we interact. We are ultimately responsible for our actions. These steps are especially critical to support those whom we love the most. The more comfortable we are with ourselves and those around us, the easier it is to live a more healthy and positive lifestyle, and look others directly in the eyes. These first 10 steps help us feel neither superior nor inferior to those around us, but rather equal to all.

Steps eleven and twelve enable us to become strong spiritual beings, and also to help those in need by sharing what we have learned with our higher power.

  1. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
  2. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to [              ], and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Step 12 is like step one in that the word “alcoholics” can be substituted for any problem or challenge one has in their own life. These final two steps help guide us on our spiritual path.

One of the greatest spiritual gifts we can offer is to help others, and to think less of ourselves. This process is a major stepping stone in surrendering to whatever problem you may be facing, and how to overcome it.

After 70 plus years of miraculous recovery in this and many other programs that have sprung from the original 12 steps in AA, it is truly amazing to witness the healing and comforting that happens if we surrender and work these steps.

Frankly life is a cause for continual surrender, whether one is in a program or not. Surrender is never a singular event. It therefore needs to be revisited many times in order in the cause of furthering one’s evolution. –Recovering Spirituality/Ingrid Matthieu Ph.D. p.111-114 | More…

We want and demand that things always go our way. We should know from our past experience that our way of doing things did not work.

When we are living wilfully, we go beyond thinking for ourselves—we think only of ourselves. At this point, we have two choices.

We can continue in our slavery to self-will, making unreasonable demands and becoming frustrated because the planet doesn’t spin our way. Or we can surrender, relax, seek knowledge of God’s will and the power to carry that out, and find our way back to a condition of peace with the world. –Just For Today | More…

We will never know the joy of self-sacrifice until we surrender in every detail of our lives. Sacrifice is the Holy Spirit’s ultimate expression of love. Beware of letting your natural desires hinder your walk in love –Oswald Chamber/My Utmost for his Highest | More…

I asked what I had to surrender and how often, I was told, “Everything, all the time.” | Wisdom of The Rooms

Big or little, our secrets represent spiritual territory we are unwilling to surrender to the principles of recovery. Gradually, the un-surrendered territories of our lives tend to expand, taking more and more ground.

Whether the secrets in our lives are big or little, sooner or later they bring us to the same place. We must choose—either we surrender everything to our program, or we will lose our recovery. –Just for Today | More…

The principle that we shall find no enduring strength until we first admit complete defeat is the main taproot from which our whole Society has sprung and flowered. Once inside A.A. I experienced a sense of being loved and accepted, something I had not felt since early childhood. –Daily Reflections | More…

We have learned some very important things about ourselves since the day we started our recovery. Until we were faced with our powerlessness we couldn’t know ourselves. We could not feel our void or pain until we had relinquished our old ways. When we have come face to face with ourselves, surrendered and stopped running, nothing else ever need be so frightening again. –Touchstones | More…

‘God as we understood Him’ …. Where Did This Phrase Originate? …. the very probable, real source — the Reverend Samuel Moor Shoemaker, Jr., Rector of Calvary Episcopal Church in New York.

Surrender As Much of Yourself As You Can to As Much of God As You Understand So they prayed together, opening their minds to as much of God as he understood … (Shoemaker, Children of the Second Birth, p. 47 …)

The finding of God, moreover, is a progressive discovery; and there is so much more for all of us to learn about him. (Shoemaker, How to Find God, p. 1). Any honest person can begin the spiritual experiment by surrendering as much of himself as he can, to as much of Christ as he understands (Shoemaker, Extraordinary Living for Ordinary Men, p. 76 …)

Said Sam in substance: You simply start where you are in your understanding. You surrender as much of yourself as you can. To as much of God as you understand.

Then, added Sam, God will come through to you, make Himself known, and enable you to understand more. You will come to believe. You will find God, said Sam. God will make Himself known …. He will make known Himself — God, our Creator!” –Hindsfoot | More…

We have fought this fight as long, and as well as we know how. We have been defeated. There is but one course to pursue; we must accept the situation. –Robert E Lee

Giving up is not giving in, nor is it failing. It is no longer needing to be right.

Giving up means growth and going on with our lives. It means doing what seems right for us and giving up the expectation that what happens will be exactly what we want. –Today’s Gift | More…

I admit that I am powerless over my addiction. I will surrender to win. Complete defeat—what a concept! That must mean surrender. Surrender—to give up absolutely.  To quit with no reservations.

How do we know we’ve taken a First Step that will allow us to live drug-free? We know because, once we have taken that gigantic step, we never have to use again—just for today. That’s it, not easy, but very simple.
We take the First Step at the beginning of our day.  For one day.  This admission frees us, just for today. We’ve surrendered to this disease.  We give up.  We quit.  But in quitting, we win. And that’s the paradox of the First Step:  We surrender to win. By surrendering we gain a far greater power than we ever imagined possible. –Just For Today | More…

There are many things that block us from wisdom such as; selfishness, secrets, hate, anger, jealousy and judgments. Another thing that can block us from wisdom is trying too hard or wishing something would happen. Wishing implies doubt and trying implies control. We need to let go of these things. –Elders Meditations | More…

Surrender is nothing more than doing something someone else’s way –Martha W.

Surrender is not the surrender of the external life, but of the will; when that is done, all is done. There are very few crises in life; the great crisis is the surrender of the will. God never crushes a man’s will into surrender, He never beseeches him, He waits until the man yields up his will to Him. That battle never needs to be re-fought. “Surrender for Deliverance.” “Come unto Me,…and I will give you rest.” It is after we have begun to experience what salvation means that we surrender our wills to God for rest. Whatever is perplexing heart or mind is a call to the will — “Come unto Me.” It is a voluntary coming. “Surrender for Devotion.” “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself.”

The surrender here is of my self to Jesus, my self with His rest at the heart of it. “If you would be My disciple, give up your right to yourself to Me.” Then the remainder of the life is nothing but the manifestation of this surrender. When once the surrender has taken place we never need “suppose” anything. We do not need to care what our circumstances are, God is amply sufficient. “Surrender for Death” (John 21:18-19). “…another shall gird thee.” Have you learned what it means to be bound for death? Beware of a surrender which you make to God in an ecstasy; you are apt to take it back again. It is a question of being united with Jesus in His death until nothing ever appeals to you that did not appeal to Him. After surrender — what? The whole of the life after surrender is an aspiration for unbroken communion with God. –My Utmost for His Highest | More…

Our fear and anxiety about the future are released when we surrender. Surrender is the process that allows us to move forward. It is how our Higher Power moves us forward. –The Language of Letting Go | More…

As time goes on, we’ll not only continue with the basics but add new actions to our First Step repertoire. We’ll learn to feel our feelings rather than trying to control them. We’ll stop trying to be our own and only guides on our recovery journey; self-sponsorship will cease. We’ll begin looking to a Power greater than ourselves more and more for spiritual satisfaction rather than trying to fill that void with something else. Surrender is only the beginning. Once we surrender, we need to learn how to live in the peace we have found. –Just For Today | More…

The process is clearly marked. First, the heroic spirit of self-sacrifice, then the sudden checking by the sensitiveness of the Holy Spirit, and the stoppage at the point of conviction; then the way of obedience to the word of God, constructing an unblameable attitude of mind and temper to the one with whom you have been in the wrong. –My Utmost For His Highest | More…

Surrender, like infatuation, can be the beginning of a lifelong relationship. To turn surrender into acceptance, however, we must let the God of our understanding take care of us each day. –Just For Today | More…

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