Tuesday, June 08, 2010

The rest of Step Three


In the preceding steps, we were engaged in reflection. In Step One, we saw that we were, are now, and will remain powerless over alcohol. Also in Step One we came to recognize that our lives have been, are now, and will remain unmanageable by us alone. Step Two made us aware that we could be restored to sanity by a Power greater than ourselves if we rightly relate ourselves to this Power. These conclusions did not require action; they required only acceptance. At this point, we should have accepted the unman¬ageability and insanity of our lives.

The first requirement in doing Step Three is that we become convinced that any life run on self-will can hardly be a success. Obviously, the first two steps show, in no uncertain terms, the confusion caused by using self-will (self-will is part of the acquired false self). Self-will in¬cludes selfishness --self-centeredness. This self-centeredness is the root of our troubles. So our troubles are basically of our own making. Above everything, we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness. We must, or it kills us. We found that we could not reduce the self-centeredness much by wishing or relying on our own power. Thus, we had to quit playing God. It did not work.

Step Three calls for affirmative action, for it is only by action that we can cut away the self-will which has always blocked the entry of God into our lives. The key that will allow God to enter our lives once again is willingness. The thinking mind and its self-will may block the entry of God into our lives again, as it frequently does. However, the key of will¬ingness will open the door.

The thinking mind, using instinct and logic to bolster egotism, would have us believe that, if we turn our will and our life over to the care of God, we become nothing. The truth is -- the more we become willing to depend upon a Higher Power, the more independent we actually are. There¬fore, dependence, as A.A. practices it, is really a means of gaining true independence of the spirit.

Step Three asks us to make a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand Him. This decision can only be made by us. All by ourselves, being convinced that self-will has ruined our lives, we need to develop the quality of willingness. By becoming willing, we now can make the decision to exert ourselves. Doing this is an act of our own will. Remember, all of the steps require sustained and personal exertions to conform to their principles and to God's will.

The effectiveness of the whole A.A. program will rest upon how well and earnestly we try to come to "a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand Him". The other steps of the A.A. program can be practiced with success only when Step Three is given a determined and persistent trial. Thus, we try to make our will conform to God's so that we can begin to use it rightly.

Once we are convinced that we have no choice but to turn our will and our lives over to God, then it is easy to begin the practice of Step Three. In times of confusion, we pause quietly and say:

"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference. Thy will, not mine, be done."

The purpose of writing the Third Step is to help us to "make a deci¬sion to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we under¬stand Him".

Go through the following examples and be as honest and specific as you are able to at this time. Give specific examples and situations from your own life.


1. Are you aware that drinking and problems in your life are a result of
the acquired thinking mind?

2. In what way does Step Three call for action on your part?

3. Have you blocked God from your life? Give examples.

4. Explain your understanding of God at this point in the program.

5. What do you think your self-will is? List some ways it has caused
havoc and ruin in your life.

6. "Dependence on God is really a means of gaining true independence."
What does that mean to you?

7. What does the "Serenity Prayer" as found on p. 42 of the Twelve &
Twelve mean to you?

8. How did Steps One and Two prepare you for Step Three?

9. Do you feel that you are now truly willing to turn your will and life
over to the care of God as you understand Him? Explain.

10. What action are you going to take to live Step Three?

11. Now using the Prayer as found on p.63 of the Big Book, take this spir-
itual step with an understanding person.


The Top of The Hill Group

Shared with love,
Candy Smith, Oak Harbor, Washington June 4, 1980
Phyllis Brett, Coupeville, Washington June 21, 1987

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