Step 3: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him
Step 3 is an important action item. This is the moment that the individual actually makes a covenant with whatever they deem their Higher Power. They will need to continue to commit to this ideal every day, perpetually. For some reason we have short term memory loss and the work of yesterday is quickly forgotten in the morning. So imagine that as a recovering person, we must live our sober life each day as if the day is our entire life. We must decide first thing in the morning if we are going to walk a sober path or take back our will and be in charge once more. (We know ultimately that that leads right back where we started)
So to turn our will and our lives over to the care of our Higher Power is a commitment of releasing our will and allowing our GOD be in charge of today’s actions, responses, and results. We learn over time that our outside influence has no desire to destroy but to build. Our Addiction had the opposite goal. It wanted us dead. Therefor when we take the will from our Addiction and surrender it to our Higher Power we are aligning ourselves with mercy, principles and joy.
Look at the first words: Made a decision...
That is the action. We simply become committed to the idea that we aren’t going to run the show. We have reviewed our lives and seen what our best thinking has done for us. It has left is in the abyss of “selfish fear”. Selfishness is the root of our problem. We are self centered to the core. We care about OURSELVES more than any other human or issue. We wake up thinking about our wants and needs and put our desires and obsessions first before all else. Selfishness had manifested in so many broken defects throughout our lives:
Using and Drinking
The list goes on. Selfishness is the root of all of our broken behavior and over time we will learn how to think of others in a more selfless manner and have purpose in our lives. We will learn how to abolish fear. We will learn how to see the world more clearly. We will know peace, joy, happiness, intimacy and respect in a way that we have never experienced. But first we must now surrender and commit our intentions, ideas and actions to something greater than any single human being. We must allow a dependable GOD, process or Higher Power to run the show and take a back seat. The idea is simple:
The Higher Power is the director we are the agents
The Higher Power is the father we are his children
The Higher Power is the authority we are dutiful to its suggestions
If we take this position, we suddenly notice an immediate change in US as Addicts. All addicts have massive EGO and low Self Esteem. Their standard posture in all situations that could effect them will be to try and manage. They will learn over time how to:
1. Accept the things that they can not change
2. Change the things they can
3. Learn to know the difference
As they grow and adopt this principle more and more in their life, their world will dramatically change. It seems backwards, surrender to win, but it is a dependable result if the power that they surrender too has had a history of positive effect.
Step 3 Book Work
1. Read How it Works (chapter 5) pg. 58-60 (stop at the A, B, C’s)
2. Review the words and ask them to pay close attention to the first 2 steps and what they mean
3. Ask them if they want to be sober and are willing to go to any length to get it? (Any length only means the work described in the book)
4. Read How it Works (chapter 5) pg. 60 - 63
5. Have them write on a pad of paper all the ways that they have been selfish: in their love, family, work, community, etc
6. Ask them to identify if they can relate to the words on 62-63
7. Review the promises on the top of page 63 (what would life be like if these came true?)
8. Have them write out the prayer on page 63 on an index card. Review the sections and meaning of the prayer and ask them to say it each morning until further notice.
God I offer myself to thee - This is a vow to surrender who you have been and who you currently are to your Higher Power
to build with me and do with me as Thou wilt - You are allowing your Higher Power to fashion you into something/someone new
Relieve me of the bondage of self - Selfishness is your root issue. In exchange for your will you are asking to be free of it
that I may better do thy will - As a sober person you will be able to serve your Higher Power better
Take away my difficulties - You will have addictions, challenges and broken parts inside you... you are asking for them to be restored
That victory over them my bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, They Love, and Thy Way of life - You are saying that you will be a real demonstration of the power and love of a Higher Power to others that are having the same problems. You will give your Higher Power the credit for the change and not take credit yourself
May I do thy will always - You are hoping to continue to surrender your will so that you don’t return to who you used to be
This is a wedding vow. A prayer. A meditation. A concept to commit too. An affirmation of change. It really doesn’t matter how you describe it. It is simply the 3rd step Prayer that nearly every single sober member of AA uses to surrender to their particular concept of Higher Power each morning. Encourage the person to do this prayer with you out loud, memorize the words and say them each morning.
Now this is an effective mantra to recite if they find themselves lost in selfishness or trying to manage their world, but it is NOT how we completely finish Step 3.
Step 3 is actually completed by a live demonstration of us surrendering to the process. In other words, if the individual moves diligently through the rest of the steps and participates with their fellowship, then they are continuously completing Step 3. If they don’t, they aren’t. Simple as that. If they are in charge and choose NOT to do the work, then they are NOT in Step 3. They have taken their will back and the results are pretty dependable. In a short while they will be drinking again. So, get them here. Get them moving forward and let’s march onto step 4!