Acceptance is a critical part of the recovery process – accepting what is, letting go of what you cannot control, and letting God, or whoever your Higher Power is, give you the strength and power to change what needs to be changed. Everyone has things about themselves they wish they could change, and in many instances, that thing they wish to change is a serious illness such as cancer, or a chronic illness like substance use disorder or addiction.
The first part of the recovery process is accepting that we are powerless over our addiction and that we can only overcome it by letting go and letting our Higher Power take the lead in our recovery. The first couple of stages in a 12-Step program revolve around the concepts of acceptance and surrender. However, it is the third step in particular that can help us to let go, and show us what life looks like when we let ourselves be guided by it.
The First Three Steps
The first three of the Twelve Steps towards recovery include:
#1. Admitting we are powerless over our addiction and that our lives have become unmanageable.
#2. Realizing that a power greater than ourselves can restore our sanity.
#3. Deciding to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understand Him.
These steps are all geared towards helping us to accept addiction and recovery. Regardless of whether or not someone is struggling with addiction, it is common for us to suffer more when we try to hold constant control over every aspect of our life. There is a sense of freedom and liberation in being able to let go of the things we cannot control, just as we are reminded to do every time we recite the serenity prayer.
The third step, in particular – deciding to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God – perpetuates and embodies the idea of letting go and letting God. When we put our faith in something other than ourselves, it takes so much of the pressure off of us.
We often stress ourselves out so much to the point of physical and mental exhaustion. We put the weight of the world on our shoulders when there is only so much we can control. It is important to give everything up to the omnipotence of God instead of carrying the burden for ourselves.
Letting Go, Easier Said Than Done
Whenever we say we are going to let something go, it is always easier said than done. We obsess over the little things, extrapolate on the minute details, and often forget to look at the bigger picture. It seems obsession can sometimes be a part of our human nature. However, it has often been observed that those who have a more “go with the flow” attitude are happier overall. When we do not sweat the little things, it is easier to remain calm when we lose control of the big things.
Sometimes our ability, or inability, to let go can be correlated to faith. When we have a strong sense of faith, it is a lot easier to put faith in God, a Higher Power, or whatever we need to believe in, that is greater than ourselves, to get through the day.
Again, it is like the serenity prayer says, “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” The serenity prayer is all about learning to let go. We can remind ourselves not only that we cannot do it alone, but that we are not alone.
What Your Life Could Look Like
It is common to wonder what our lives would look like if we were to let go and let God. There are a number of ways that we can learn to let go other than just trying to let go. That can include incorporating more prayer, meditation, and mindfulness into our daily lives. That may mean starting each day by waking up, breathing, praying for the strength to get through the day, and never losing sight of the bigger picture of life.
When we incorporate a regiment of prayer, meditation, or contemplation into our daily lives, we will experience feelings of calm, clarity, and certainty. This might be a sense of calm regarding the daily struggle of coping with addiction, clarity about our lives and potentially why it is we may have this cross to bear, and certainty that with God, we can do anything one day at a time.
The Twelve Steps embody the concept of letting go and letting God fight your battle of addiction. The third step particularly perpetuates this idea. It focuses on consciously deciding to turn your will and life over to the care of God. Unfortunately, letting go is also easier said than done, but by practicing mindfulness and setting aside time each and every day to pray, you may find letting go easier to do as time goes on. Practicing the Twelve Steps as a whole can also help you adapt the capability of being able to let go of what you can’t control. You may also incorporate the serenity prayer into your everyday routine, as every little thing we do can make all the difference. At Renaissance Ranch, we offer a gospel-centered and clinically driven approach to recovery. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, we encourage you to reach out for help today at (801) 308-8898.