Finding strength in surrender is a concept that baffles most people. Most people might thing, “Surrender – doesn’t that mean waving the white flag?” When we surrender, aren’t we admitting defeat? Aren’t we giving up when we surrender our worries, our fears, our grief, our self-will, our relationships, our past, our drugs of choice? Where’s the strength in that? But let’s face it, surrender takes courage. To actually accept what is going on in our lives – admitting we’re in trouble – is no easy thing, especially when we may have denied it for so long. After acceptance comes “turning it over” and walking into the unknown. And think about it: facing the unknown with the kind of commitment it takes to recover from something as powerful and life-threatening as addiction is probably one of the biggest life challenges one can ever face. For some, personal flaws are the most difficult surrender. In 12-step programs they’re called character defects. It’s true that some alcoholics and addicts are in denial about the mere suggestion that they might have some things to work on. However, most eventually not only admit that they are flawed, they beat themselves up continually for not meeting their own unrealistic expectations. That’s not surrender. Recovery requires giving that kind of behavior up and instead, taking the first of the twelve steps: Admitting imperfection, then surrendering to those annoying shortcomings. And therein lies self-love, as well as the strength that comes with surrender. Self-love takes practice. For most in recovery, it’s something new. But it’s actually possible to love defects of character. They represent worn out coping mechanisms that once provided protection from emotional pain. They are sometimes the best teachers. Recovery requires taking a full inventory, one that includes assets. It requires addicts to measure what they are doing, rather than what they haven’t yet managed to do, and it requires self-praise for doing so many things right. The bottom line is this: Strength in surrender comes from knowing how much courage it takes to accept the whole truth and move forward from there. What are some of your favorite recovery tunes? Add your thoughts and comments below and follow us on Facebook!