Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Three C's And Letting Go

I was wandering through my blog stats yesterday for the first time in months, and it's interesting to discover that the most read post continues to be the first one I wrote about the "three C's" - "I didn't Cause it, I can't Control it, and I can't Cure it."

In that one sentence are encapsulated two of the most powerful tools in 12-Step:


When I finally reach a place of understanding of just how far beyond my simple human power is the devastation and pain of this disease of alcoholism, that's surrender. I look at the world around me, I look at the suffering alcoholic, and I surrender to my powerlessness. I sink to my knees in defeat, and I say "I give up."

 I was raised to never give up - "winners never quit, quitters never win," and that may hold true for many human endeavors, but for the disease of alcoholism, it is only when we surrender and admit to our complete powerlessness that we win our freedom. 

I didn't cause the alcoholic to drink, or if sober, to behave atrociously - what they do is on their plate, and my plate is a separate piece of crockery.

I can't control a single aspect of their thinking, choices, or behavior, and when I've been caught up in trying to coerce or manipulate, I have been sunk in a particular form of insanity - a frustrated misery. When I let go of the notion that it is anything to do with me, when I step back and detach, my Higher Power has a chance to work in my life. We can't both steer my life, it's either my HP steers, or I steer, and I don't have the greatest record when it comes to driving my life.

I can't cure it. Nothing I can do will make a lasting change - real change for the alcoholic must come from within them. They have their own walk of surrender and acceptance.

Often the most loving thing I can do is get out of someone's way.  Even when I see the cliff approaching. Even when I know the brakes are faulty. Even when I've seen this crash before.

Detachment is a loving form of surrender and acceptance. I pray for detachment with love.


  1. The Three C's post is a popular one on my blog as well. It is one of the major concepts of recovery that we tell newcomers about. I think that when they come to believe that and in a Higher Power, there is a strong foundation for recovery.

  2. Thank you, thank you thank you for posting exactly what I needed to read today. Sometimes, my higher power must act thru a google.

  3. I needed to read this today...thank you so much. I am so grateful that I stumbled across your blog.