Surrender and Acceptance for IBS
Last updated: June 2017
I am a mental health and addictions counselor. I have been able to relate so many things I’ve learned working with people in recovery to my current struggles with IBS. While sitting in a Narcotics Anonymous group with a client the other day, it occurred to me that two words often present themselves within the world of recovery. Those two words are SURRENDER and ACCEPTANCE. If you know anything about NA (Narcotics Anonymous) or AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) you probably associate these words with the groups that use them. You might say, this type of thinking is not for me, I’m not a DRUG ADDICT. Without applying judgement to how the words might be used in other situations, I ask you to consider what the words mean to you and your struggle with IBS.
In a recovery situation, SURRENDER simply means that you give up the FIGHT. The constant struggle in your mind about your condition. Why me? How do I fix this? I can't fix this. I might be able to fix this if I try HARD ENOUGH. Surrender, in this case, means letting go of this way of thinking. Surrender to your plight and circumstance. Surrender to the reality that you exist in right now. Surrender to the truth that many things in our lives are out of our control and that perhaps there is a reason somehow, somewhere, for what we are going through. If you can let go of the battle inside your head regarding this condition, it will lay the groundwork for new beginnings and will lead to the next important concept; acceptance.
Many people think of surrender and acceptance as one in the same. For the purposes of our struggles with IBS, they are two completely different ideas. Picture yourself holding on tightly to something during a great storm. You are using all of your strength in an effort to avoid being carried away by the powerful winds and rain. Surrender, in this situation, means LETTING GO. You come to the realization that the storm will not stop and that you cannot hold on much longer and you choose to surrender to the belief that what will be, will be. ACCEPTANCE requires only the belief that this struggle is, in fact, a part of your life and that is meant to be so. Acceptance also means acknowledging that you are on some kind of path within this life and that you will be provided with the strength to deal with your issues from something that exists within you and all around you.
More often than not, there is a spiritual aspect associated with the ideas of surrender and acceptance. SURRENDER to the fact that there is something greater than yourself moving within your life. You can call this ‘something greater’ God, the Universe, Karma, whatever…it does not matter. It only matters that you ACCEPT that this ‘something greater’ will guide you during your times of tribulation. You are not in this alone. Whether you like it or not.
Do you suffer from IBS-C, IBS-D, or IBS-Mixed/Alternating?