Compliance vs. Surrender

There are two ways we can approach recovery: by simply complying with what is being asked of us, or surrendering our power. In our experience, individuals who surrender have much more success staying in continuous recovery. Let’s look at the differences:

Compliance?
The word compliance entails obeying what others are telling us to do. When we’re complying, we may not even want to do what others are asking of us. Many people will comply with the wishes of their friends, loved ones, or even the legal system by going to treatment. I was one of them. However, I didn’t have a true desire to recover from my addiction, I still thought I would be able to control it. We know that a person must want to recover in order to to have a solid chance at an alternate, healthy life.

Complying with treatment was just a temporary solution to satisfy others. In order to begin recovery through whatever method is selected (residential treatment, therapy, 12 Step program, etc.) it’s rarely enough to simply comply. Instead, a person must surrender.

Surrender?
Surrendering, on the other hand, happens when we realize there is no exit plan, no easier, softer way. In my experience, I explored every other way and MY best thinking took me to suicide, the ICU, and a psychiatric ward. Twice. Committing to recovery was the only way to begin truly living a happy, fulfilled life without substance. I recognized that I could no longer continue fighting, hiding, and resisting. I realized I couldn’t do this all on my own and I become open minded to something else guiding me. Something greater than myself.

When we surrendered, we took our ego – one of the very things that got us into this situation in the first place – out of the picture.

Nothing good can come of letting our egos control our thoughts and behaviours. When we are humble and let go of our ego, it allows us to accept our lives the way they are in this moment. Totally present. We accept that we are where we are and that’s okay. We begin to realize all we can control is our own thoughts and behaviours.

Once I was able to fully surrender, I could start my recovery journey.


If you or someone you know is struggling with this, please reach out to OCJ. We can help explore options with you. You are not alone.