Before I first got sober, I'd never heard the expression "Surrender to win." Over the years many different people had made subtle suggestions to me. "Slow down. Slow your roll," etc., but no one outright ever said I should stop drinking altogether. They knew I wouldn't and couldn't. Alcohol had increasingly become a symbol of my freedom. It was my stated choice long after I ceased being free to choose. "It's a free country..." all that, lots of that. Even as I increasingly became a walking hot mess, I'd learned it best to attempt to diminish the appearance of what others correctly perceived as my perpetual state of drunkenness.
"To surrender would signal defeat. Like most addicts, I was defiant in the face of undeniable evidence to the contrary. "Daily surrender to my alcoholism always meant another drink." I'll only have one... maybe two. Today would be different. Then I'd have a third and another. Then more. I won't go into blackout mode today, yet I would continue drinking until I did. I would and I did. "Daily chipped away by my disease. And what was left when the chipping away stopped? ... My brain fragments on this sculptor's floor. The dust of my disease. The oxygen masks, the intravenous drips, the sedatives. How, having barely survived all of this for years on end, can I have come out on this other end today, feeling whole, joyful, alive?... "
How would I survive?
I would surrender to sobriety instead of to the next drink. I would surrender or I would die. The subtle (and not so subtle) accumulation of experience of decades of drinking led to what seemed like the inevitable epiphany that active addiction would not allow: I could, would and must surrender to win.
This is how I would die: Death by Alcohol, an avalanche of alcohol would seem to comfort as it killed. But it did stop. The hammering away of the addiction machine sputtered to a stop and finally when there was no juice left, neither a drop of strength, nor an ounce of courage, I surrendered.
I surrendered to win.
They were not crazy.
That jackhammer called addiction had been stilled and silenced.
At the end of that long, dark and finally silent tunnel, the beginnings of a sober gratitude took shape. There would be no peace without surrender. Alcohol had proven that I could not beat it by joining it. I could only beat alcohol by surrender to sobriety. My un-joining alcohol and rejoining life.
No social drinker ever thinks such thoughts.
I lift my Sparkling Cider glass in a toast to all the alcoholics out there who have not yet found sobriety, to all of us in recovery who have and to all the social drinkers out there undaunted by either cider or champagne! Cheers!
Surrender to win.
"Nothing matters more than that we remain sober because when we remain sober everything matters more."
#Alcoholism #Addiction #Recovery
Passage in quotes excerpted from All Drinking Aside: http://amzn.to/1bX6JyO
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