by Kit G.  July 1, 1999
When I first entered the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous, every meeting began with How it Works:  “…Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas until we let go absolutely…Half measures availed us nothing.  We stood at the turning point…”
I was at the turning point, a decision had to be made, but I really wasn’t sure what “letting go absolutely” meant.  So how could I make this decision?
My crusty old mentor told me hitting bottom would be ineffectual if not followed by complete surrender, not compliance, but surrender, “letting go absolutely.” Okay, what’s the difference?  This concept seemed totally defeatist to me.  So, unconsciously I resisted surrender.
I learned the true definition of compliance…outwardly agreeing, going along, but it did not mean approval.  I was complying outwardly, but in my head I was thinking—“Hah, this is a bunch of crap,  it will never work.”  Real inner reservation.
I once heard someone say that complying was all they really knew how to do, they could not possibly conceive of really giving up.  Which meant they really didn’t want to quit drinking in their unconscious thought, but really believed they did.  The War Within!
Conscious thought versus unconscious thought.  The difference between complying and surrendering. Surrender meaning to give oneself up to the power of another, yield.
I realize now I was really unaware of the process I had started, I did not consciously appreciate the honesty arising in me.  It did so automatically, spontaneously—today I think it was a deep unconscious shift in attitude, the “psychic change.”  I do recognize it today and I am so very grateful for it.
Becoming aware of the battle came recognition and with recognition I could begin to interrupt the inward battle and thus terminate the war!!!  And this led to my most important revelation…surrender is also the admission of needing help from a Power greater than myself.  Opening a conscious and, yes, unconscious contact with God.  So, I “made a decision to turn my life and my will over to the care of God as I understood Him.”