5 Unexpected Things That Happened When I Surrendered

By Rebecca Rush 04/26/19

Spiritual surrender is like letting out a breath I didn’t even know I was holding. My next relapse no longer feels like it’s coming for me. I made it out. I’m alive!

Back of woman's head out car window, hair blowing in the wind, spiritual surrender
I used to hate myself so much I could rarely let myself enjoy anything, most of all my very favorite things. Now I am ready to do what I came here to do. Photo by Lili Kovac on Unsplash

You are the sky. Everything else is just the weather.
-Pema Chodron

New Year’s Day, West Hollywood. I had three days sober off a brief marijuana relapse and was headed to an AA marathon. After parking, I realized I was out of juul pods so I went on a search, rectangling around the block on my way to the meeting hall, hoping to find a store.

When the first meeting ended, I panicked. Where did I park? I ran out, saw my car, took a picture, and ran back in. 

Several hours later I discovered that the photo wasn’t of my car. I have a gray Prius in L.A., which is every third car. I scoured the neighborhood. A well-meaning valet tried to help and I yelled at him. Hours passed. It grew dark and cold, my phone now at 11%. I stopped to breathe. Big fear.

Voices and the tinkling of glass tumbled onto the street from a bar. The thought of drinking or using hadn’t occurred to me. And why would it? A glass of wine or a joint wouldn’t help me find my car.

Just at that moment, the heavens opened up and God reached down a golden hand through pearly gates and spoke.

That didn’t happen. But what did was pretty fucking rad.

I saw that every problem in life is exactly the same as losing your car.

I walked past the valet again and apologized. I knew that I had parked headfirst rather than parallel, near Robertson Boulevard.

He pointed. “You’ve got one more block like this.” I stood at an actual turning point.

I had been looking for my car on the wrong side of the street.

I found it 30 seconds later. That was the moment the course of my life changed forever.

These are some things that happened for me, and may happen for you when you cross the street of spiritual surrender. 

1. I’ve stopped trying to get over on my addiction.

Am I allowed to drink kratom? Vape CBD? Take pills? A doctor will happily prescribe whatever I think I need. And aren’t magic mushrooms a spiritual experience? I spent years in fauxbriety. I spent an entire summer posted up in a Kava Kava bar while we all nodded out on kratom tea and talked about our favorite AA meetings. Note: I am not talking about anti-depressants, anti-psychotics, other psychiatric medication, non-narcotics in general, and supervised pain management after injury.

For the problems I have encountered in my own life thus far, holistic alternatives work better than anything big pharma wants to sell me. I never win. Addiction always wins. I was constantly sending myself the message that I wasn’t enough or okay just the way I was; I needed a drug that I considered not really a drug to fix it. Actually? I don’t. 

2. I feel relieved. Like amazingly fucking relieved.

Spiritual surrender is like letting out a breath I didn’t even know I was holding. The shoulders go down the back, the face softens, and the respiratory system begins the great energetic exhale. It sounds like the ocean. My next relapse no longer feels like it’s coming for me. I made it out. I’m alive! There is hope. I don’t live in fear of what I may do to myself anymore.

3. I can let go of people and summon new ones.

I lived in a perpetual state of war. I believed that you were my problem and I saw boundaries as a personal attack. I clung to people who had limited love and empathy to give. I would give you more of my time, money, and energy than I could afford and blame you for it. I would let things build and build and build until I got blackout drunk and told you OFF.

I have been working on myself pretty hard since 2012, and haven’t done most of the things most of the time since 2016. But until I surrendered, I didn’t believe I could let go of people before the relationship blew up. I didn’t even know what I wanted; I would just sense what you wanted, then decide whether or not I would give it to you. We live in a sick society full of broken toddlers. Emotionally, I’m in elementary school now. I no longer need to punish myself with reflections of a past me. Every time I let someone go I make space for someone new. I can see that many people are simply lost in their own pain, and can’t see past themselves. I can have compassion, and empathy. From a distance. 

4. I can be in a world of pain without bleeding on everyone.

As I grow older, traumas and patterns emerge, deeply embedded toxins and conditioning that wants to be felt and released. This week has been intense and painful. I felt attacked by the universe. In the past, when things like this happened, I panicked and made desperation phone calls to anyone who would listen. “I have to call in the troops,” I would say.

Today I am able to allow emotions to flow through me even if it feels wrong at first. I can put down the looping stories and let myself feel. I can make the connections from current triggers to past traumas, advocate for myself when necessary, get on stage and be funny even when my life feels like it’s been dropped on the floor. Before surrender, the only time I was accused of being professional was on Seeking Arrangements. And there are lessons in pain. There are always lessons for those who are brave enough to look.

5. I believe in myself enough to do the things I believe in.

I am practicing Ashtanga yoga again, something I’ve been talking about for years. I’ve given up meat and most dairy. I believe that pigs enjoy warm baths just like I do, maybe more because they aren’t thinking about how many people downloaded their podcast. Also please download my podcast: Comics Book Club’s: Drunk & High on Petfinder.com with Amber Tozer. I pray, I meditate, I have cut down caffeine and have a plan to get off nicotine. I completed my first pilot script, waking up at five a.m. to write and rewrite so I’d be finished in time for a fellowship deadline.

I used to hate myself so much I could rarely let myself enjoy anything, most of all my very favorite things. Now I am ready to do what I came here to do, with enough wild stories to last the rest of this life and a different sort of story to write into the fabric of my future.

I’ve got my head just enough out of my own butt to see the world beyond myself. There is so much out there! Awakening is very exciting, and it feels. Oh, does it feel.

I wish the same for you: May you be happy, may you be free, may you be at peace, may you be loved. May you believe in yourself. May you find a way to be ready to do what you came here to do. We are all worthy of that.

Please feel free to share your stories of self-love, surrender, spiritual awakening, personal redemption, and your trolling (if you need to) in the comments. 

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Rebecca Rush is a stand up comic, writer, and constantly evolving human. Former horse girl. Witch. Bylines include Fodor’s Travel, MiamiBeach411.com, The New Haven Advocate, Big City, Lit, and the Miami New Times. She was on the Viceland show Slutever 03/17/2019. Her podcast is called Comic’s Book Club, and features a comic or author talking about a different book every week (also available on iTunes and Spotify). She has performed at clubs, colleges, and dive bars across the country. Upcoming dates can be found on her website, http://rebeccarushcomedy.com. You’re also welcome to follow her on Twitter and Insta. She lives in West Hollywood with her little dog. Friend of Bill W.