The third step in AA is such a vital step in the process of starting to recover and just going through the 12 steps in general.
“Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of god as we understood him.”
Now that we have acknowledged the fact that we have a problem with alcohol and other addictive behaviors, it is entirely up to us to do something about it. If we are willing to change, that is.
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Third Step in AA, What’s The Point?
We realized that we are totally powerless and have no control over substances and these destructive behaviors in step one.
After gaining that clarity and peace of mind, we went on a search to discover a God of our understanding or in other words, a Higher Power in step two.
These two steps are important to complete before moving on to step three in AA. Why? Before you decide that you are going to live by the principals of a higher power (and Alcoholics Anonymous of course) you must understand that you have no power or control over that first drink or your disease.
You also should have at least somewhat of a grasp on the fact that we cannot face these demons of alcoholism and addiction on our own. We need something much bigger and powerful than us to help us overcome these things that we battle on a daily basis.
Why I Do It
I, as an individual who deals with alcoholism, wake up every day alcoholically and my thoughts are organically selfish, dishonest, and self-seeking. I want to run my own show because “I know best.” However, in order to maintain my sobriety, I have to remember that my best decision making brought me down a dark and lonely path full of pain and destruction.
I find it nearly impossible to be at peace in my sobriety without turning my life over to a higher power. For these reasons I make the choice daily to abandon self and turn my will over to a God of my understanding by saying:
“God, I offer myself to thee- to build with me and to do as thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, so I may better do thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of thy power, thy love, and thy way of life. May I do thy will always.”
It is mainly about omittance of self for acceptance of God’s will. This allows those of us who struggle with alcoholism and addiction to see situations, people, and ourselves in a more honest way. Once we can look at life with open eyes, we can start to do things differently. However, turning our will over to a God of our own understanding is not a process that miraculously cures us overnight. We all fall short from time to time and that’s okay! The book actually tells us that we will sometimes fall short.
The main component to carrying out God’s will for us is willingness. In the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, the book puts emphasis on willingness in recovery. In the chapter for step three, there is an excerpt that says
“Practicing step 3 is like the opening of a door which to all appearances is still closed and locked. All we need is a key and the decision to swing the door open. There is only one key and it is called willingness. Once unlocked by willingness, the door opens almost of itself and looking through it, we shall see a pathway beside which is an inscription. It reads: “This is the way to a faith that works”
The third step in AA is mainly calling for action and being more proactive in making positive decisions. It requires that we becoming more conscious of the things we say and do everyday, AKA, our will, and our lives.
Having a higher power can be helpful in maintaining consciousness of how we are as human beings and it also challenges us to become better people.
AA Personal Experience
For as long as I can remember, I have always been very self-absorbed and was rarely genuine towards myself or anyone else. Practicing turning my will over to a God of my understanding every day has helped me get a better grasp on what it is like to be of service to other people and not so focused on my personal gains.
Being human, more often than not, I end up taking my will back despite my best intentions. I no longer see this as a mistake though. I see it as a blessing because it is an opportunity to learn and to grow in my journey of recovery.
Self-will can often resurface, but as soon as I acknowledge my shortcomings, and pick up that key of willingness once again, my higher power always sets me back on track.
Abandoning self is a constant battle. This is not an overnight cure-all for alcoholism. I am constantly going to want to live life on my own will until I realize that my will has failed me. However, I find that it always gets easier when I learn to forgive myself and accept that I make mistakes and as humans, no one is perfect.
Higher Power Business
Suppose you are having issues with connecting to a Higher Power. What should you do?
Ask some fellow members of AA or Alcoholics Anonymous that you are comfortable with, what their higher power is like for them.
What really helped me early on in my sobriety was not only trusting my Higher Power but trusting people that know how to stay sober and have some substantial amount of clean time under their belts.
Even some of the most minuscule decisions that I thought about making, I would confide in an old-timer or a trusted friend in Alcoholics Anonymous and ask them simply, “what should I do about this situation?”
Understanding that we no longer have the luxury of running the show anymore, the fellowship can be one of the most beneficial tools when it comes to turning your will over to something bigger than you.
In a perfect world, we could all do what we wanted with no consequences and remain blissful and ignorant for a lifetime. The reality of that is when we make decisions for ourselves, we run our lives into the ground. Therefore, we have to accept this dependence upon a Higher Power by working the third step with a sponsor and saying the third step prayer upon awakening every day. When we do this we find that we will eventually feel comfortable and secure in our lives. That is the ultimate goal after all.
Freedom From Addiction
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