My first sponsor always emphasized defining terms because it helped one to understand the importance of that term in relation to my current circumstances. The word surrender is a very important term to define because it is critical to progressive victory over lust and our addiction. So what does it mean to surrender? Some may think of surrender as “giving in” which is true, but it is important to ask “giving into to what?’. Surrender, by definition, is giving into an opponent and submitting to their authority. In reading recovery literature, it is often written that addicts have a problem submitting to an authority. I would like to offer an interpretation of this statement by saying that the addict’s problem is not with submitting to authority, it is with submitting to the right authority. Let me explain. Lust became an authority in my life. I let it rule me because I thought it would bring me the freedom, love, happiness, and mercy I so desperately wanted and needed. I was very good at surrendering to the authority of lust, but I started to notice this authority did not have my best interests in mind. I always knew and believed that a good authority was loving, kind, patient, and wanted the best for me. I learned that through my upbringing by my family, my parochial school education, and Mass attendance. Lust did not provide me these things. It only gave me pain, sorrow, out of control behavior, and the inability to manage my life. When I finally hit my rock bottom, I knew I needed to find another authority in my life that would teach me to give to others and not only take from others. My search for that right authority began with attending the Sexaholics Anonymous group in my area. It was there where I was reintroduced to an authority I once knew, and had ran from for many years. This ultimate, loving authority was flowing through this group of men. Their honesty, willingness to trust someone else to help, and concern for my well-being showed me that God, through His Son Jesus Christ, was an authority I could trust to love me, protect me, and guide me through the unmanageable and out of control times of my life. Slowly, I came to believe that the right authority for me to submit to was God, a real person that was living and present, which allowed me to be present to give to others. Lust and fantasy was never real, nor did it ever allow me to be present to give of myself to others. The motto at the meetings is “the only way to keep it, is to give it away”. In giving myself over to a loving God, and His rules for living, I will continue to give to others. I have come to believe that God’s authority is based in giving of His grace. When I say the words “I surrender to your authority, almighty and loving God” I receive all I need to manage lust. Two practical suggestions for those who struggle with surrendering to God:
- Surround yourself with Godly people and ask them about their faith and why they believe. Consider joining a faith sharing group/Bible study at your Church.
- Work step 2 with your sponsor. Often times, we do not submit to God, because we are sill holding on to old experiences of authority. You may also want to consider attending a Healing Mass or asking friends to pray over you for healing of past wounds related to authority figures in your life.