How to Let Go and Let God

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A fundamental principle of AA and NA is the recognition that we do not have power over our addiction and outside help is needed to maintain sobriety. The second and third steps of each program talk about this: Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

So the first meaning of “let go and let God” refers directly to this. In the background is the understanding captured by the AA phrase, “Our best thinking is what got us here.” The real difficulty isn’t in recognizing the need for help, but trusting that the help is there.

One of the excuses we have for drinking (or drugging) stems from our own inability to shape the world into the way we imagine it should be. This kind of fantasy thinking gives rise to unnecessary worry and depression. For addicts, the remedy is then to turn to our drug of choice. The real power in the “let go” set up is abandoning this phony idea that we control or are responsible for the world beyond our own small interactions. Trusting God, or our higher power, to handle all the extraneous junk allows us to focus on what we need to focus on – improving our own lives and working the steps.

For some, the “letting God” part means they pray about a situation and leave the matter in God’s hands. The common phrase, used to end a prayer, is “thy will, not my will, be done.”

From a practical standpoint, letting go and letting God is accomplished by not allowing outside influences to affect your sobriety. “It’s not my fault that X happened. I won’t take the blame and I won’t respond by using. I’ll let God handle this one.” The practical outcome is reduced stress and pressure to live the perfect life or take on more than we can bear. But it all comes by relying on a higher power to take up the slack, give us strength and by trusting the method. Like anything, it takes practice. But addicts in recovery will tell you that letting go of all the clutter in their lives helped keep them sober.

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