What does ‘Let Go and Let God’ mean ?

Let go and let God is one of a number of sayings that are regularly heard in AA/NA meetings and will be put up as slogans on the walls of many a meeting room, both in AA meetings and in a rehab where meetings may be held.

There are a number of other slogans that are also used extensively in a rehab and in AA/NA meetings, and collectively offer an opportunity for people to view as sort of a soundbite as to what the recovery programme entails.

When people enter a rehab, there is a sense that in some way they are giving up their old life and starting a new one.

For many people it is a very scary process, and the sense of safety that they may feel in a rehab will often be more of an institutional nature than a therapeutic one.

The nature of a rehab/treatment center is that it is a sort of a stopping off place for people to begin the process of understanding some of the emotional drives that have fuelled or driven their alcoholism or other addictions.

The slogan Let go and Let God is one of the original slogans in the book of Alcoholics Anonymous. Its intent originally, was along the lines of trying to tell people not to worry about things that they had no control over.

This is a very simple and a very clear need, often overcomplicated in a rehab or other treatment center where it is mixed in with a number of other therapeutic approaches.

One of the complications around Let Go and Let God is that to some people who have a problem with alcoholism/alcohol abuse, they will see in this saying an emphasis on a God who is in control of their lives.

This idea is often perpetuated in a rehab/treatment center, often unwillingly, but nevertheless there is often a sense that the approach taken in a rehab/treatment center to dealing with people’s alcoholism/alcohol abuse is one of trying to make people realise that they are not in control of their lives any more, but that God is in charge.

This is an approach that many a rehab would not necessarily condone, but an approach nevertheless that seems to come across by way of the recovery process.

For many people entering a rehab/treatment center it is the first time they have had to in some way to face the reality of where their alcoholism/alcohol abuse has taken them. It is quite possible that they entered a rehab under pressure from either their family or an employer or some other force in the life.

Whilst this may have the benefit of producing a short-term respite from the effects of alcoholism, the time spent in a rehab can have two main lasting effects.

Firstly will be an awakening of the reality of their alcoholism/alcohol abuse either through the work done in a rehab or by attending AA meetings that are either held at a rehab or outside.

Secondly will be a realisation that the time spent in a rehab is simply the beginning of the process. That in many ways what happens after they leave a rehab will be significantly more important.