A core principle behind the Third Step is becoming willing to trust our higher or helping power and to make a decision to follow its guidance. We are willing to begin letting go of our old ideas.
My own best thinking got me nowhere. Well, it got me drunk and back on the street. Once I decided to start listening to the experts and began trying the things that other members in my Group were doing, I started making headway. I had to become 'Willing to Cooperate.'
Step Three sounded really big to me at first. I thought, oh hell, here is where they trap me into going to church. Instead I found out that all it asked me to do was to make a decision. A decision to give up my old ways of doing things and start trying new ways to cope and heal.
Here's how my sponsor put it:
Step 1, I can't.
Step 2, We can.
Step 3, I'll let my Higher Power help me.
When I think of Step Three I usually think of this little saying from my days in OA. It's called 'I put my hands in yours' or 'Rozanne's Prayer.' I put my hand in yours and together we can do what we could never do alone. No longer is there a sense of hopelessness; no longer must we each depend on our own unsteady willpower. We are all together now, reaching out our hands for power and strength greater than ours, and as we join hands, we find love and understanding beyond our wildest dreams.s.
Step Three is about making a decision. A deadly serious decision. I think if you still have doubts about anything in the first Two Steps you better go back and work on those Steps some more.
I have to work on this Step on a continuing basis. It is part of my daily meditation and prayer routine, but a lot of times it is almost a minute-by-minute struggle for me. I have a heck of a rebellious streak and I tend to automatically want to discard many suggestions just because they sound too simplistic or I hear them from sources I consider non-valid in one way or another. That's how I have to handle this "turning it over" stuff. It is a matter of progress and not perfection.
In Step Three, we "make a decision" between living in the problem or living in the solution. The only thing left is putting that decision into action. This action is using the tools of recovery and working the rest of the Steps.
I had problems with the idea of turning my will and life over to the care of anyone or anything. I didn't like the implications of loss of control. My sponsor asked me if I would consider letting my higher and helping power simply care about me. I knew my doctor and some people at my home Group really did care about me already, so I could go that far. Then my sponsor asked me if I'd consider at least listening to their advice and weigh their experience when they shared it. I said sure, I'm a reasonable person. I mean, I was already doing that pretty much anyway. Then we discussed letting them help me when I needed help since I was already at least weighing their advice. Yes, of course I could do that. And that's were we left it for a few weeks while I continued to go to meetings and deal with all the normal issues of early recovery.
*Adapted from the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous®
*The Twelve Steps of AA are reprinted and adapted with permission of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. Permission to reprint and adapt the Twelve Steps does not mean that AA has reviewed or approved the contents of this publication, nor that AA agrees with the views expressed herein. AA is a program of recovery from alcoholism only - use of the Twelve Steps in connection with programs and activities that are patterned after AA, but that address other problems, does not imply otherwise. THE THIRD STEP OF ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS* 3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
Fellowship Step Discussion Booklet - This is a printable booklet of this Step Discussion section of the web site in Adobe Reader (PDF) file format.