Saturday, June 22, 2013

Embracing Powerlessness As A Signpost To Freedom.

So much of my past struggle, and for those I sponsor, and friends in program, arises from my, and their, inability to accept our powerlessness. We fight it tooth and nail, for various reasons, not least of which is wanting life, people, or things to be the way we desire them to be.

When I finally surrendered, I believe it was more from exhaustion with the fight, than any real understanding that the fight itself was an exercise in futility. I don't suggest that my sponsees require that understanding as a prerequisite to accepting powerlessness; quite the contrary, it can be a relief to let it all go before we ever reach a place of knowing why we are doing the letting go, or what we may possibly gain through doing so.

All I need is to believe that there is something, anything, which is a power greater than myself - this may be the group, Good Orderly Direction, nature, whatever works for me. As long as I can grasp that I am not the be-all and end-all, I have everything I need to begin the process of letting go.

I had to be shown step by step what "letting go" meant, because I hadn't a  clue, and as someone who spent a lot of time in anxiety and fear, the prospect of letting go, detaching, removing myself emotionally from whatever was possessing my mind at the time, sounded near to impossible.

To start, I needed a willingness to change my thinking. That meant I had to accept that my thinking was not the best and clearest that it could be with regard to whatever the topic was, and that the solution to my overwhelming fear and distress could come through letting go, and letting the Higher Power take it. My illusion of control was not doing me any good, it kept me mired in a mindset which was foggy and unclear, and the mindset made me unhappy and fearful.

As I think so do I feel,

as I feel so do I act,

as I act, so do the consequences of my actions, make my life one way or another.

My thinking affects the way my life works, or doesn't.
I couldn't see that reality for the longest time, I was convinced that my life was more affected by the choices of another person, namely the alcoholic, than by anything I did or thought. I felt victimised, trapped, angry, resentful, frustrated, and hopeless.

How could admitting powerlessness help me with any of that?

It helped me by opening up great stretches of my time previously spent obsessing. When I let go of a struggle I cannot hope to win, I turn instead to the business of living my life with hope, peace, and freedom. I make time in which to do the things I love, to be of service, to offer to another person who is fighting their own inner demons, the experience strength and hope so freely and lovingly given to me when I was new in Al-Anon.

May you have an excellent Sunday.


  1. Lovely post. I would like to send it to a friend, but I don't think this person is ready to hear this yet.

  2. A great reminder of how once I embraced powerlessness, I began to feel better. And when I believed in Steps two and three, my recovery really got on track.