Letting Go: Learning to Start Over

A common trait shared by many alcoholics or addicts is a want to control. Whether that be their immediate surroundings or the people around them, the alcoholic or addict more so than other people has a seemingly innate draw towards attempting to manage every aspect of their lives. The interesting thing about this is that for many this is not a conscious thought, and this almost pathological need to control seems counterintuitive to how out of control many active addicts and alcoholics lives seem.

Many addicts and alcoholics were attempting to play God. The belief being that if they could only control everything around them everything would be okay. All of this was done in an effort to protect their addiction and allow them to continue drinking or drugging in the manner that they wanted to. Control was used as a sort of defense mechanism against anything that could possibly affect their disease. In time though, the fallacy of this thinking was exposed and the greater the attempt to control everything became, the less control was actually realized.

People and situations that may have been easily controlled in the beginning may become increasingly more difficult to manage. Tempering drinking or drugging may become all but impossible, and in time, wound so tight with a need to control, there is usually an explosion, or what some call hitting bottom. Once this happens the person usually attempts to get sober and with their attempt, they usually realize how tired they are from attempting to supervise the universe.

Imagine if you will for a minute what it is like to wake up in the morning and know on some level that you are going to have to manage other’s perceptions of you throughout the day. You are also going to have to attempt to control your usage, and all this while setting up situations so that you can get what you desire. This is not a particularly enjoyable way of life, but yet once they get sober many addicts and alcoholics find it difficult to change this pattern of behavior and learn what letting go of the need to control is truly about.

Letting Go and Starting Over

Being asked to let go can be one of the most frightening proposals asked of people who are newly sober. They are faced with the need to give up their long time solution of drugs and alcohol and now they are being asked to do things like surrender, or “Let go and let God.” What’s more is that when they get to the Third Step they are asked to perform the ultimate act of letting go, in turning their will and their lives over to the care of God, a God that they may not even necessarily believe in at that point. When many hear these things, their thoughts are usually something like, if I surrender, let go, and give up my will and my life then what will be left of me?

These questions are reasonable to ask, but the problem with them is that they are based on a misunderstanding of what letting go means. To let go in the way that programs like AA or NA ask you does not mean you give away your right to be a human being with choices. It does not mean that you will float through life with no control whatsoever, but it does mean that you will no longer need to control every aspect of your life. It means that you will get your dictates from a higher order and life will not seem as much of an uphill battle.

peaceful man in a field

So how exactly does one go about doing this? How do you go from attempting to manipulate and control everything in your life to surrendering and going with the flow? How do you walk away from everything that you’ve known, in order to start over and go into the unknown? This is not always easy to do, but luckily there are some simple and easy suggestions available in order to make this transition easier.

The first thing to do in order to let go is to arrive at the understanding that you are not the end all be all of the universe. This means that you truly come to realize that while what you want and desire is important, it’s importance does not rest above the wants and desires of others. Understanding this allows the addict or alcoholic to put their needs into a healthier context and in doing so, it makes the act of letting events unfold as they will easier. Part of the need to control during active addiction was the fear that you would not get what you desired, but understanding that you do not need to get everything that you desire reduces the need to control.

Another thing that you can do in order to help you let go is to start to think about other’s needs above your own. This is not something that comes intuitively to many people so in order to do this there usually has to be a conscious effort. When you put the needs of other’s above your own, you no longer feel compelled to control the situation because the outcome is not in your best interest anyway. Paradoxically, putting other’s needs before your own actually does work in your best interest because you can usually derive a sense of peace and happiness from doing this that cannot be achieved through any other means.

Doing these few things, coupled with the humbling of experience of getting sober usually leads to a level of humility that not many people on this planet experience. Humility in a sense is the key to letting go because it allows for a proportional view of the self that is rooted in reality and not delusion. This proportional view is the antidote for a need to control because it allows a person to see who they are, what they need, and how letting things unfold naturally is usually the best game plan.

Seeking Treatment

If you are tired of trying to run the whole show and think you may need help with your addiction or alcoholism then call the professionals at Coastal Detox at 1-877-978-3125 today. We can help with the process of starting over and show you how to attain the life you’ve always wanted.

Real Client Testimonials

  • Before coming to coastal I was hopeless, helpless, and my family wanted nothing to do with me. It wasn’t the first detox I’d ever been to, but it was the only one who showed me so much love and compassion. They gave me hope. It’s hard to put into words the amount of gratitude I have for this facility. The employees were my family when I had none. The staff went out of their way to make sure not only were my physical needs taken care of, but my emotional needs as well. From the first phone call prior to admission, to helping me set up continuing care, they never missed a beat. Even going as far as to help me with my legal issues via Zoom court. This isn’t just a detox, they are the family I never had. All of the techs, especially Karen, are phenomenal. They will take the time to listen to you, laugh, and cry(if needed) with you. If you are reading this and you or your loved one is suffering like I was, go to Coastal Detox. The level of care is more than I could ever put into a review. It wasn’t the first detox I’d been to, but it has been my last; I owe them everything I have today, including my life.

    Travis B. Avatar
    Travis B.
    12/07/2020
  • Had a really good experience at Coastal. The staff really went above and beyond in helping me get in and gave me the respect l, space and care I needed after I first got there. As I started to fell better they encouraged me to take part in groups which helped get me out of my head and bring positivity and health to my thinking. They had a great massage therapist, who came daily and it was evident the nursing staff genuinely cared. Got to know some of the staff as well and I’m grateful for the cooks Joe and Chris. Those guys literally made us sirloins and pork chops for dinner. Also I gotta thank Chris and Chris for helping me get in and setting me up with a transition plan. Real grateful for that help, I’m not sure if it’s management intention to hire guys named Chris but they got a good thing going there. Overall, I’m clean and sober today and walking it out. Coastal gave me a base that set me up for the success that I’m walking in today

    Brandon B. Avatar
    Brandon B.
    1/16/2020
  • My family is very thankful for Coastal Detox. They have went above and beyond for my son a few times. Unfortunately he has needed their help more than once and they have ever turned their back on him, even when he was at his worst. Jeannie and Chris have been amazing and kept me informed through the entire process. They truly care about the addict and want to help them especially when it would be easy to give up on them. I had many detox facilities be rude and uncaring to me when I was searching for help for my son, but Coastal never did that to us. I don't know the names of all the team members that have helped my son but I know their are many and y'all are angels!! One day we will be able to pay it forward and help someone as you have helped us. Thank you for all you do!!

    Brenda A. Avatar
    Brenda A.
    1/01/2020
  • Can not say enough nice things about Coastal Detox & staff. Family member was there, told me five stars for the facility & all whom she interacted with. Said the facilities, ambience..., cleanliness, grounds, food, (think their chef is five stars), were all top shelf. All I interacted with personally & on the phone were patient, professional, responsive & caring. Kudos to so many: Jeannie Jones, Clinical Director whom I spent the most face to face time with: great oversight, patience & follow thru. Raquel Barker, Therapist was so understanding & on spot with her assessments/care. Kris Garrigus Admissions Director, another Coastal professional whom I cannot say enough nice things about, always so patient & responsive to my probably too frequent inquires. Not to be forgotten is Judy Tucker, Director of Operations she too so patiently "put up with me"
    I highly recommend Coastal Detox

    Susan C. Avatar
    Susan C.
    11/13/2019
  • Can not say enough nice things about Coastal Detox & staff. Family member was there, told me five stars for the facility & all whom she interacted with. Said the facilities, ambience..., cleanliness, grounds, food, (think their chef is five stars), were all top shelf. All I interacted with personally & on the phone were patient, professional, responsive & caring. Kudos to so many: Jeannie Jones, Clinical Director whom I spent the most face to face time with: great oversight, patience & follow thru. Raquel Barker, Therapist was so understanding & on spot with her assessments/care. Kris Garrigus Admissions Director, another Coastal professional whom I cannot say enough nice things about, always so patient & responsive to my probably too frequent inquires. Not to be forgotten is Judy Tucker, Director of Operations she too so patiently "put up with me"
    I highly recommend Coastal Detox

    Susan C. Avatar
    Susan C.
    11/06/2019

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