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A.A. Oldtimers…On the Third Step

A.A. Grapevine, January 1945. Vol. 1 No. 8

Editorial: On the Third Step

"Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him."

I was co-chairman of the Loop group a few months ago and the subject of religious experience was brought up. I answered this in my stumbling way by saying that each of us could have such an experience only when we 'got on center with ourselves'; if that were not clear we could express it thus: when we fully realized for the first time in our lives the essential dignity of ourselves as human beings. I also said that this realization could be achieved through return to the formal religion we once practiced but never knew, or by honest thought along our rough-hewn way.

I have lately come to think that the 3rd step on our guide post to the good life is the meat and drink of the twenty-four hour program. Without a complete, whole-hearted 'surrender' at the start of each day, much of the good that we think, or do, is lost to us. I must confess that in my own daily application of the program I had begun to slip on this point--if indeed I had ever really practiced it. But the tide of events swelled over me recently to wash this bad thinking away. Unsatisfactory events, however, do not seem to be without compensation. Out of this turmoil and confusion in my business affairs has come a deeper understanding, a peace and serenity, a clarity of outlook I never knew before.

I sometimes wonder how many of us, after early, diligent application to A.A., coast along without getting wet solely because of a thoroughly house-broken habit as far as alcohol is concerned. I have always thought that the man who is thoroughly sickened of the stuff, when he learns of A.A., has the best chance to pick up and go; but it seems to me that there is danger ahead for such a man sometime later, just because he won his 'strength' too easily at the start.

Walter L., Chicago, Illinois

3 Responses

  1. Cameron F. says:

    I start my day with the Step 3 prayer as suggested on page 63 of the Big Book. When saying the prayer, I keep in mind what defects of character keep me bonded to self such as, false pride, suspicion, hate, slander, etc. When I close my prayer with, "May I do thy will always", I then turn the prayer into a meditation on identifying in my day what "Thy Will Always" looks like. In the case of the above defects, I would reflect on my activities and how God’s will manifests. For example, I would reflect on how I will incorporate, humility, trust, forgiveness, and talking only about the good in others — the opposite of my defects, into my day. This approach keeps my mind and spirit awakened to the Great Reality that dwells deep within me.

  2. MikeH says:

    Cameron,
    aren’t you really talking about step 11?

  3. Admin says:

    Yes, in the context of my daily program, I use the Step 3 prayer as part of my Step 11 daily prayer and meditation.

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