Step Three: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
We can probably guess your objection. I can’t incorporate that into my daily life because I don’t believe in God. If I did believe in God, I certainly wouldn’t be turning anything over to Him! Step three is a challenge for many people. That is why the authors of Alcoholics Anonymous also known as The Big Book wrote the chapter titled “We Agnostics” to cover all the spiritual arguments against the spiritual program of the twelve steps. People shy away from step three because it involves surrender, giving up control, and a higher power which some people choose to call God. Once we remove the surface level details of this step, we are able to examine its usefulness in everyday life, and the many ways in which you’ve already been practicing step three.
The “God” Issue
Most people overlook the italicized text in step three which emphasizes that any belief in God or a higher power is on a need-to-know basis. Meaning, we need to know a higher power for our recovery, form a relationship with that higher power, and understand how that higher power works in our lives. Everything about our higher power is as we understood Him. God, and the use of “Him” is how the AA traditions state that the higher power will be recognized at a group level. At an individual level, on the other hand, God and a higher power is completely subjective. As one exclamation in the book so poignantly illustrates, “Why don’t you choose your own conception of God?” By choosing a conception of God you’re acknowledging that there is a power greater than yourself. For many, that is also difficult.
The “I’m Not In Control” Issue
Go to the nearest beach and try to stop a wave. Look up at the sky and see if you can stop the clouds from moving. If you feel the wind, see if you can stop it from blowing. There are mechanisms beyond our control happening twenty four hours a day seven days a week. Some of those mechanisms we are rarely grateful for; for example, if the earth were to stop spinning on its axis, we would all be in big trouble because we’d lose the gravity which keeps our feet on the ground, even when we aren’t feeling grounded. In addition to the many thing we aren’t in control of, there are many things over which we do have control- like choosing to surrender our control over the things we cannot control. It’s absolutely as tricky as it sounds, but it is equally as effective. Step three is about surrendering the idea that we are in control of everything and everyone all the time. All we have to be in control of is ourselves, while recognizing that there is a Higher Power, which we might call God, who is guiding us through the journey of our lives.
We take back control over our addiction when we admit that we have lost control over it. There is a freedom and hope in recovery. Are you ready to find it? Let Design For Change show you the way. Our twelve step inspired treatment programs have an effective solution for developing a life without drugs and alcohol. For information on our evidence based programs and recovery services, call us today at (877) 267-3646. Everyone is capable of recovering. Everyone is capable of change.