In the first two steps, we engaged in reflection. We realized that we were powerless over addiction, but also realized that faith is possible. Although they required our acceptance, these conclusions did not require any action. Starting with step three, the remaining steps require affirmative action. Faith is certainly necessary, however, it will not be sufficient to achieve a successful recovery on its own. In step three we are asked to make a decision. This decision is based on faith. Specifically, a decision to believe that there is a force for spiritual growth that can help us in obtaining and maintaining a successful recovery. A decision to change direction, to stop rebelling at the natural and logical flow of events in our lives. A decision to stop wearing ourselves out trying to make everything happen as if we were in charge of the world. Ultimately, we are accepting that a Power greater than ourselves will do a better job of caring for our will and our lives than we have.
Prior to becoming sober, our will and our lives were often times controlled by our addiction. We were trapped by our need for instant gratification that alcohol gave us. At first, this may have been a pleasurable experience, but after some time, the euphoria wore off and we saw the ugly side of our addiction. We discovered that the better alcohol made us feel when we were consuming it, the worse it made us feel when we weren’t. It is at this point that we have to make a decision. Either we can suffer through the pain of withdrawal or drink more; or we can look for another way. In step three it is suggested that “another way” can be obtained by turning our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand him. At this point you might wonder what will happen to you if you continually turn your will over to something/someone else. It is this kind of thinking that takes no account of the facts. The facts, in this instance, seem to be that the more we are willing to depend on a Higher Power, the more independent we will be.
We might wonder at this time who our Higher Power is and what our Higher Power’s will is for us. Our Higher Power’s will for us will manifest as we work the steps, however, it is suggested that we choose an understanding of a Higher Power that is loving, caring, and greater than ourselves. This could be a variety of things. Some examples include God, nature, the twelve-step group, the spiritual principles of the twelve-step group, or any personal power or being in which we can communicate. Once we begin to have an understanding of what/who our Higher Power is, it is important that we begin to form a relationship with that Higher power. This will include being able to communicate with our Higher Power, being open to communication from our Higher Power, and having feelings about our Higher Power. As we mature in our recovery, we will begin to form an understanding of our Higher Power that gives us peace and serenity. At this point, if we are willing to surrender and be open-minded, our fear starts to lessen and faith starts to grow. We no longer have to fight fear, anger, guilt, self-pity, or depression. We are slowly beginning to lose the paralyzing fear of hopelessness. Today you can turn your life and your will over to the God of your understanding. Today you can shed the weight that self-will carries with it. Today you can overcome hopelessness!