Are You Surrendering or Just Controlling-blogA few days ago, Steven Luff wrote a post about the difference between what he terms a “slip-up” and full-blown “relapse,” where he mainly focused on the idea that your sobriety date is a very important tool for you in your recovery. (You can check that out here) In this post, I would like to invite you to take a step back and think a little deeper about some of the words we use so much in this process of seeking freedom.

Because there are deeper questions to be asked. But sometimes we struggle to lead people into those deeper questions. Perhaps this is because deep down inside, we are scared to death where those deeper question will take us and what that might do to our beliefs – which we hold onto like pillars in a storm. Some of us are scared of what might really happen were we to let go, so we pretend we know it all, and instead of walking into the Valley of the Shadow of Death that true surrender really is, we just settle for using the word “surrender” haphazardly and robbing it of all of its power.

With all that in mind, I want to focus mainly on one paragraph Steven wrote:

If you’re reading this you’re probably well aware of the fact that quitting an addictive substance like pornography is really, really difficult. It takes more than surrender. It requires a full array of tools, which may or may not include recovery groups, education on the subject, individual therapy, couples therapy, journaling…the list goes on. One of the most important recovery tools is your sobriety date.”

I am not critiquing his idea as much as his definition of the word “surrender.” If you need to walk that path, that’s great, but I see a deeper question to be asked here: if it takes more than surrender and we must additionally employ all of these tools of control (including building an artificial time-wall trophy [i.e. sobriety date]) that we can cling to in order to stave off what might still be haunting us from within, then what in the world does the word “surrender” really mean? (Tweet This!)

Google Dictionary defines surrender as: cease resistance to an enemy or opponent and submit to their authority. Spiritual teachers for thousands of years, including Jesus himself, understood and taught that to surrender was the ultimate and final act that empowered us to live in the power of the Spirit of God (see Matthew 5). Jesus uttered “It is finished” as he died. He taught that we must lose our lives in order to find them. There were not tools of control necessary beyond this surrender.

My point? It’s not that using tools of control isn’t necessary at times. They can give you a chance to catch your breath and clear your mind a little. They can even provide a community that can ask the important questions with you. My point is that we must call that what it is: control. Control is not surrender and it is certainly not freedom. (Tweet This!)

Here’s how I define surrender: Curiosity about what we’re not seeing and the courage to walk into that unknown.

If you have to rely on a date to keep you from crashing and burning, then there is probably something deeper to be surrendered. It’s rooted in pain that you are unaware of and that you carry in your body. So, as you go to your recovery groups and your therapy and you educate yourself on brain chemistry and how your different hormones behave, try saving a little space on a shelf in your heart for this question: is there something deeper here to be surrendered – something that trumps all the other stuff?

It is at this point where perhaps we can begin to take the words of Christ seriously when he calls all people, not just Christians, to die to their identities and truly and finally lay it all on the line for the sake of freedom.




Part of surrendering is the ability to talk about what you need to surrender. Find a REAL COMMUNITY of individuals you can connect with and talk to today by joining an X3group. These online small groups offer the real support you need while breaking free from sexual addiction. Join NOW!


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Are You Surrendering or Just Controlling? by Seth Taylor is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International LicenseBased on a work at