The Process of Surrender
Step 1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol-that our lives had become unmanageable.
“We felt we were doomed to die and saw how powerless we were to help ourselves; but that was good, for then we put everything into the hands of God, who alone could save us.”
2 Corinthians 1:9
Admitted – to concede as true or valid
Powerless – devoid of strength or resources
“Our lives” – a way or manner of living
Unmanageable – difficult to keep under control or within limits
Step 1 allows us to get honest with and about ourselves. When we admit we are powerless we are saying that we do not have the strength and/or the resources necessary to control our behavior with regard to a specific substance or action. When this behavior has a negative impact on our manner of living our lives have become unmanageable – we have a problem and we need help with it.
So if we concede as true that we are devoid of the strength and/or resources we need to keep the behavior we struggle with from making the way we live out of control or beyond acceptable limits, then that behavior is a problem. When we admit our powerlessness and unmanageability, we have recognized there is a problem and can ask for help. We have taken a step towards the truth of our situation: I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. Romans 7:15
If the problem of powerlessness exists but we keep trying to control our behavior anyway, we are in a state of denial. This is a mental state of fantasy or unreality which ignores or “forgets” all past attempts (and failures) of control, believing “this time will be different”. If control were possible, there would be no problem to begin with, as there would be no unmanageability. Denial assumes many forms, such as: “It’s not that bad”, “If you had my problems”, “I need to…”, “I’m different”, etc. – all to avoid the fact that a problem exists and we cannot deal with it by ourselves.
Step 2. Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
“A man is a fool to trust himself! But those who use God’s wisdom are safe.” Proverbs 28:26
Believe – to accept as true or real
Power – ability to do something
Restore – to return (something) to its original or former condition
Sanity – good sense or soundness of judgment
There is help for us so we have hope. We get that help from those who have gone before us.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
We had to admit we lacked the power we need to be free of our problem, but when we ask others, we find that they were as helpless over the same problem as we are, yet are free today. If it worked for them maybe it could work for us.
Many of us believed in God and that He has the power to help us but for some reason, we had doubts that He would, or misconceptions about how He would free us. Our surrender to Him starts as soon as we become willing to believe that we can be restored to good sense. From this point of willingness we grow in our belief that this power can help us.”… being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
As we continue our journey, we “come to believe” more and more, and truth is revealed.
Step 3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
“Trust in the Lord completely; don’t ever trust yourself. In everything you do, put God first, and he will direct you and crown your efforts with success.”
Decision – The act of reaching a conclusion or making up one’s mind.
Will – The mental faculty by which one chooses or decides upon a course of action
Understood – to know and comprehend the nature or meaning of
Having come this far, we now know that we cannot control or change on our own, but a power greater than ourselves can, so it is time to stop trying to do it ourselves and let someone help us that can help us. We decide to put our thoughts (our will) and our actions (our lives) under the care of God. Most of all, we begin to trust God as we never really had before!
Just as our belief in our “Higher Power” grows, so does our understanding of God, as we draw near to Him and come to rely on His direction of our lives. In faith we grow to rely on God’s providence and see He has a plan for us to follow.
We have reached the conclusion that we are no longer in control of our lives. Our actions, based upon the false assumption that we would regain control of our problem, have resulted in making at least some aspects of our lives “difficult to keep under control or within limits” (unmanageable) and that we need a source of strength which will give us the ability to regain soundness of judgment and exercise good sense. We accept the existence of that power as real and that it is available to us directly. We then put our thoughts and actions under the care of that power, trusting that by applying the principles of honesty, hope and faith, more desirable results will be achieved.
In essence, we surrender, which means that we completely give up our own will and subject our thoughts, ideas, and deeds to the will and teachings of a higher power. Another definition of surrender is the “cessation of hostility” – we stop fighting and begin accepting things “as they really are”. Through honesty about our problem, we shed denial; admitting that we can’t control our problem on our own leads us to acceptance that our lives are unmanageable by us, that we need help. This leads us to honest assessment of our fallen condition-we get in touch with reality. When we look for help we discover help is real and available to us-we begin to hope- and reality begins to look better. When we ask for that help we begin to entrust the outcomes to God, and we start to understand Him a little more.
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; – Ephesians 4:22 tells us that we need to change one thing-everything! Steps 1, 2 and 3 tell us that we can’t change ourselves or our loved ones but that God can and will when we come to Him for help. We learn to stop trying to do it ourselves and start trusting God to do for us that which we cannot do for ourselves. We “give up” and we win! The less we “try” to control, the less we have to-we allow God to work unhindered by our “help” and life as we know it becomes happier and more productive than we ever imagined it could. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. (Isaiah 55:8) and that is a good thing, for our ways did not work, but it took our brokenness before God to show us our need for our Savior.
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. – Romans 5:6-8
Overcomers Outreach uses the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous and the Holy Bible to discover the wisdom of God and apply His teachings to our daily lives. We claim Jesus Christ as our “higher power” and share our trials and victories with one another in a confidential and secure environment. We meet weekly in loving support of one another, not as a substitute for, but rather a supplement to other 12 step groups. We are non-professional and non-profit, and we welcome anyone who is not opposed to our general method of recovery, whatever his or her presenting problem.
The 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous teach us how to apply principles of living as God would have us live. One way to understand the steps is to group them into four parts: give up, clean up, make up and grow up. First we learn the principles by “working” the steps, then apply these same principles to our daily walk.
For more information or to find a meeting, contact us:
6528 Greenleaf Ave., Ste. 223
Whittier, CA 90601
Or visit our website: