The emphasis and fundamental key to the 12 Step program is this word Surrender. My all time favourate Cliche is “victory lies in the admission of defeat - surrender to win”. There is so much truth in this one saying for recovery.
From step 1 “admitting we are powerless” all the way through to step 12 “practicing these principles in all our affairs” the theme of surrender remains the Golden thread holding it all together. Recovery remains impossible until we are able to give up control and surrender to a process.
In step 1 we admit defeat and admit that our way of dealing with life does not work. In step 2 we see that our sanity lies in a process that is bigger than us and finally in step 3 we make the ultimate decision to give up control and surrender our will and our lives to someone else’ care and direction - a power greater than ourselves or a God of our own understanding.
Most would see step 3 as the ultimate step of surrender but it does not stop there, in fact if one were to study step 11 you would see that by the time we reach this step we have completely sacrificed our own will and our own lives and surrendered ourselves over to God’s will for our lives - it is no longer about us at all - “praying only for knowledge of His will for our lives and the power to carry that out”.
The only way we are able to get to a place of being able to carry out God’s will is by completely surrendering to what He wants to do with our lives and surrendering to who He wants us to be. This becomes the very nature of Step 6 and 7. By the time we get to step 6 we have in essence become “entirely ready to have God remove our defects of character” and in step 7 we give God permission to shape us into the person He needs us to be to carry out His will “we humbly asked him to remove our short comings”.
The 12 step process changes us so profoundly that we move away from being entirely self-Centred to being completly God-Centred. It goes as far as to conclude the process in step 12 by saying “having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps we take the message out to those still struggling” - Gods ultimate will for all of our lives also known as the “Great commission”.
Romans 12:1-2 sums it all up:
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
And finally we see this very principle described in Luke 9:23-24:
Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.24 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.