Willpower didn’t work for us. Therefore, it’s time to let go of the idea that we, personally, are the masters of the universe, can control our self-destructive impulses, and begin to understand the forces that are really “in charge.” Then, we must give up our fearful sense of self and rest in the bountiful heart of the Universe.
AA shows us that thinking we’re capable of total self-management doesn’t work if we believe we are our worrisome, petty minds. They will drive us to drink or other destructive addictions. We must acknowledge and give up the control to a Higher Power—which is the force behind all that is, because it works. AA does not assign a name, such as Jesus or Allah to this Higher Power. This allows everyone access to the idea something larger and wiser than our smaller selves is in control. We’ve allowed ourselves to get out of control anyway, despite our willpower, thus we have become alcoholics, addicts, and dependent on substances to get us through the day.
It is a humbling position, that leads us to recognize that we are in charge of so very little. And that we have messed up and are destroying our health, lives, and the lives of those around us. It takes the burden off of us when we realize that we can depend on something much larger than our little fears and ambitions to break a destructive pattern. Just as we do not circulate our own blood or beat our own hearts or order our stomachs to digest our food, we need to acknowledge that something much greater is at work. It’s delusional to think we can control everything and therefore become very upset when things don’t go according to our plans.
Our plans to go to the bar every day or drink a bottle of whiskey in our room never contributed to our health or abundance or happiness. Why did we think that our plans to quit the habit, based on our own mistaken mental habits, would work out when we are the ones making the decisions? Those decisions were flawed and made us feel more like failures when we couldn’t live up to our resolutions to quit. And so we took another drink to drown out all the mental noise.
The Higher Power is the source of wisdom, love, beauty, and peace. AA tells us to get into contact with the spiritual underpinning of All-That-Is. Stop thinking it’s all on us to fix things. It doesn't work, obviously. Willpower doesn’t work. It doesn’t work because we are forcing ourselves through sheer discipline, which we don’t have when it comes to substances.
It takes surrender. Or as the apostle John said in the New Testament, “I can, of my own self, do nothing . . . because I seek not mine own will but the will of the Father that hath sent me.” Our willpower alone does not work and we are backed up against the wall. The only way to go is to surrender: “Let Go and Let God.”