This is part three of a twelve-part series wherein we will take a closer look at each of the twelve steps of recovery.
Step 3: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him.
The journey of recovery has allowed us to embrace a new way of thinking and living, with use of the Spiritual Principles found in the Twelve Steps of AA and NA.
In Step One we admitted and accepted, that despite our best efforts we were not able to use successfully or stop using successfully. We found ourselves hopeless, helpless, and most of all, powerless over our addictions. We had to get honest and admit complete defeat or we would die in the midst of our denial. By becoming honest with ourselves, we are free to be honest with others and get the help we need to find freedom from the chaos and insanity in our lives. After years of dishonesty to ourselves and others, we seek to live by the Spiritual Principle of Honesty to the best of our ability.
As we move forward in this new way of living and thinking, where do we go from here? We admitted and accepted our powerlessness and hopelessness. We ask ourselves, is power and hope available to us? Can we get free from the insanity that has plagued us for much of our lives? So, we move to Step Two, where we find hope in believing there is a power greater than us that could restore us to sanity. After all, our addiction was a power greater than us that drove us insane.
We are now at a turning point, we have gotten honest and found hope, and we want to continue to grow. It’s time to make a decision, to let go, to trust, and to surrender. Step Three takes us to our next Spiritual Principle, that of faith. We are willing to make a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand him. We are now ready to take some action to step out on faith and make a decision to allow this power we found in Step Two to care for us, not control us, but to lead, guide and love us in this new way of living. To do for us what we cannot and have not been able to do for ourselves. We may get overwhelmed or fearful when we hear the word “God”. We all we have to determine for ourselves what that means to us, individually. However, we are surrendering our will and lives over to a God that cares for us, that has our best interest in mind, that wants us to reach our maximum potential and be free from the grip of active addiction.
Step Three frees us from the struggle of addiction and moves us to the solution of recovery. We no longer have to rely on our will to stay sober, but rely on the God of our understanding, as we surrender to his will for our lives. We are not free from doing our part in the process of recovery, but we are liberated from the fear, anxiety and worry of the results.
We don’t sit back expecting God to do everything. A wise man once said, “Don’t expect God to open a door he has already given you the key to unlock”. As we progress in the Spiritual Principle of Faith, our relationship with our God grows stronger and we become willing to do his will. We begin to live our lives by the principles of Honesty, Open-Mindedness, Willingness, Trust, Surrender and Faith. As we live Step Three in our daily lives, we do our best to do the right thing for the right reason. We seek progress not perfection.
Finally, as I try to live step three in my daily life, a very wise man once told me, “What God Requires, Requires God”. As we journey on the path of recovery and turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understand him, we can be assured that our lives will never be the same.
Contributed by Primary Counselor, Michael Bryant, BS, CSAC, CPSS