I spent a lot of years "struggling" to surrender to God. I wrote "struggling" in quotes because I've learned a whole lot more about both struggling and surrendering by doing the very thing that Sexaholics Anonymous offers as a program of recovery: to work the Twelve Steps under the direction of a sponsor, in the fellowship of others who are also recovering sexaholics. Struggling is not surrendering. Struggling means that I'm not where I need to be in my willingness to surrender.
Surrender Of My Sex Addiction to God
What now seems so obvious to me was apparently not so obvious back when I had my initial contact with SA. I was incredibly arrogant at the time, thinking that I could come up with the answers to my problem by myself--especially if I just read the "manual" and did it myself (i.e., “my way"). It’s amazing to me now that I somehow thought I could come up with my own solution by just picking and choosing what I wanted to read from the Sexaholics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous literature.
What I did learn from my sponsor (among other things) was that the Steps are presented in an order, to be worked in that order, and that the Steps don't work unless I actually take the time and effort to work them. Another thing that I learned along the way was that I didn't really know what surrender was until I was already working the Steps, as my sponsor suggested I do them. One of my most powerful moments was a complete shift of experiential understanding of surrender, which happened while working Step Four--many months into my working of the Steps. Sitting around and trying to cognitively understand surrender was an exercise in futility. I needed to be in the recovery process in order to have the necessary experience to even begin to understand.
Learning About Surrender From My SA Sponsor
My sponsor gave me assignments to read in the “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous. Sometimes he would direct me to a specific page or paragraph references. But if I had not had that literature, I could not have read those sections to guide me in my understanding of what I was experiencing and what I needed to do next. Today I find the literature indispensable.
Finally, I had to be thoroughly defeated in all of my own efforts before I experienced the humiliation I needed to give up my own ideas about the program and become willing to surrender to God. (Note, I said "humiliation" not "humility"; "humility" would be too positive a label to give to what was happening to me, and humility can, but might not, grow out of humiliation.) For me, the willingness to surrender was born out of defeat and pain, not some positive character trait I already possessed.
Where did I start? I got a sponsor and did what I was told. One tiny step of "surrender" to another human being has led to many other steps of surrender along the way, including learning to surrender to my God.
Sober since 2009