December 26, 2023

Acceptance, Surrender and Change

Acceptance, surrender, and change are three interconnected concepts often found in the context of personal growth, therapy, and various recovery programs, including those addressing addiction. Understanding and applying these concepts can be transformative in overcoming challenges and pursuing a healthier, more fulfilling life.


  1. Definition: Acceptance involves acknowledging reality as it is, recognizing your own feelings, thoughts, and circumstances without denial or avoidance.
  2. In Therapy: It’s a foundational step in many therapeutic approaches, where you learn to accept what cannot be changed, especially aspects of the past or inherent traits.
  3. In Recovery: Acceptance is crucial in overcoming denial, a common barrier in addiction and other behavioral issues.

Benefits of Acceptance

  • Reduces inner conflict and denial.
  • Provides a clearer understanding of challenges.
  • Creates a foundation for meaningful change.


  1. Definition: Surrender doesn’t mean giving up; rather, it’s about relinquishing the need for control over things that are beyond your power, often seen in spiritual contexts.
  2. In Therapy: Involves letting go of unhelpful attempts to control emotions, thoughts, or outcomes, and instead, embracing a more open, receptive state of mind.
  3. In Recovery: Often refers to surrendering to a higher power or the reality of addiction, acknowledging that personal control is limited and seeking help is necessary.

Benefits of Surrender

  • Eases the stress of trying to control the uncontrollable.
  • Opens pathways to external support and wisdom.
  • Facilitates deeper personal and spiritual insights.


  1. Definition: Change is the act of making or becoming different, often a goal in therapy and personal development.
  2. In Therapy: Focuses on changing thought patterns, behaviors, and emotional responses that contribute to suffering.
  3. In Recovery: Involves changing lifestyle, habits, and possibly social circles to support a life free from addictive behaviors.

Benefits of Change

  • Leads to personal growth and development.
  • Improves life circumstances and relationships.
  • Reduces the impact of past behaviors and choices.

Integrating Acceptance, Surrender, and Change

  • Balanced Approach: Understanding what needs acceptance, what should be surrendered, and what can be changed is crucial for effective personal development.
  • Sequential Process: Often, acceptance comes first, creating a foundation for surrender, which then opens the door for meaningful change.
  • In Recovery Programs: Models like the 12-step program integrate these concepts systematically to help individuals recover from addiction.


  • Difficult Emotions: Acceptance and surrender can bring up difficult emotions like fear or grief, which need to be addressed compassionately.
  • Resistance to Change: Changing long-standing habits and thought patterns is often challenging and requires consistent effort and support.
  • Finding Balance: Distinguishing between what can and cannot (or should not) be changed is often complex and may require guidance.


Acceptance, surrender, and change are powerful concepts that, when applied thoughtfully, can lead to profound personal transformation and healing. They are especially prominent in recovery from addiction but are applicable to a wide range of life’s challenges. Incorporating these principles typically requires introspection, support, and sometimes guidance from professionals or supportive communities.

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