When you are severely stressed, remember that much of your life is not in your control. Only God has the ultimate power. The AA 12 step program says that to come back to sanity in the situation you are facing, you must let go and hand your problems over to God. Surrender your will and trust. Not an easy solution. Yes, the original steps were written for alcoholics in the 1940’s but have been adapted and they have been incredibly successful dealing with all kinds of difficult issues.
Of course you want to believe you are in control. That’s natural. But the truth is that you are only in control of your own behaviors and thoughts and often only tenuously.
So here is the dilemma for all of us. We are taught all our lives to be self sufficient and that we must find solutions to our problems. So we search and search and try everything. But in many cases nothing we try works. Does this sound familiar? I have worked with many women and men who have tried so hard to make their marriage work, or find solutions to their children’s problems, or to their financial issues, but nothing seems to help. What then? When is it time to let go and trust God to lead us or to take care of the problem?
I am dealing with a situation such as this myself right now. My husband, who was a research scientist all of his career, has emphysema and is getting worse. I love him and want so much to find something to help his breathing. We have checked all the research, worked with several doctors and naturopaths, had a stem cell infusion and it isn’t helping. And I am finally in a place that I can admit that there is nothing more I can do or find.
For each person the time to let go is different, but I guess what I describe above are often the steps people need to take before they can go on to Step 3 in the 12 Step program.
But the first two steps must come before Step 3. Here are the three steps. Try them. They work.
Step 1: “We admitted we were powerless over the situation–that our lives had become unmanageable.
Step 2: “We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”
Step 3: “We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand him.”