Being convinced we were alcoholic/addict and could not manage our own lives; that probably no human power could have relieved our alcoholism/addiction; and that God could and would if he were sought; we found ourselves at Step Three which is that we decided to turn our will and our life over to God as we understood Him. Just what do we mean by that, and just what do we do? (p. 60 A.A. Big Book)
In the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous on pages 60 to 63 it describes an alcoholics’/addicts’ life as unmanageable — that an ego-centric life is hardly a success. The diagram below illustrates the direction of my life based on my decision to choose my will versus God’s will.
The human mind works in a straight-forward manner – as I think, so will I feel, so will I behave and act out. If you want to change your behaviour, then change the way you feel. If you want to change your feelings, then change your thinking. This is basic psychology-101. However, if it were this simple, alcoholics and addicts everywhere would have changed their behaviour long ago and recovered but, as many of us have discovered we could not do this even though “many of us had moral and philosophical convictions galore“. (p. 62 A.A. BB) What the therapists and treatment center counsellors fail to understand or convey to the hopeless alcoholic/addict is that our minds suffer from a spiritual malady and until we take direction from a higher power, our own thinking or the human management of others fails to have the necessary power to separate us from our obsession to drink, use or act-out.
God makes that possible. And there often seems no way of entirely getting rid of self without His aid…Neither could we reduce our self-centeredness much by wishing or trying on our own power. We had to have God’s help. (p. 62 A.A. BB)
This is the how and the why of it. First of all, we had to quit playing God. It didn’t work…When we sincerely took such a position, all sorts of remarkable things followed. We had a new Employer. Being all powerful, He provided what we needed, if we kept close to Him and performed His work well…We were reborn. (pp. 62-63 A.A. BB)
Each morning, we can turn our will and our lives over to God as we understand Him. Our Big Book authors give us a simple prayer to commune with our High Power and seek the direction that separates us from the desire to drink, use or act out.
Many of us said to our Maker, as we understood Him: “God, I offer myself to Thee — to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life. May I do Thy will always!” (p. 63 A.A. BB)
Here are thousands of men and women, worldly indeed. They flatly declare that since they have come to believe in a Power greater than themselves, to take a certain attitude toward that Power, and to do certain simple things. There has been a revolutionary change in their way of living and thinking. In the face of collapse and despair, in the face of the total failure of their human resources, they found that a new power, peace, happiness, and sense of direction flowed into them. This happened soon after they wholeheartedly met a few simple requirements. (p. 50 A.A. BB)
Tell us about your experience with Step Three.