Surrender versus Compliance in Therapy, with Special Reference to Alcoholism

But the actual or potential alcoholic, with hardly an exception, will be absolutely unable to stop drinking on the basis of self-knowledge.” 1

Half measures availed us nothing…” 2

Tiebout is going to expand on his ideas about surrender and compliance, but first he makes note of the fact that the idea of surrender hasn’t been received very well by his colleagues, due to its connotations of defeatism.  He focuses on “acceptance” instead, which he defines as the result of surrender.  In the last paper, Tiebout referred to the period immediately following surrender as “the positive phase.” Here he describes the characteristics of “…[acceptance] as an inner state of mind…” tipping his idea that “wholehearted acceptance” is determined by “…unconscious attitudes and feelings…” like surrender itself.

Tiebout then works up to a discussion of compliance by describing a patient who could “accept” [quotes in original] the reasons for his difficulties but didn’t “know how to be reasonable.” He sums this up by saying  “unless the unconscious has within it the capacity to accept, the conscious mind can only tell itself that it should accept…”

Finally, Tiebout returns to surrender and compliance. The rest of the paper will discuss those topics in great detail.

Bill W. More About Alcoholism. In: Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book, 4th Edition. AA World Services; 2002:39.
Bill W. How it Works. In: Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book, 4th Edition. AA World Services; 2002:59.