Step 3 Study

Hello everyone! In keeping with our Step Study, let's discuss a bit about Step 3:

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

Now, I know right off there will be those that are not into God... and those that don't believe God is a "he"... that's fine. We respect each person's view of religion or spirituality or the absence of it.

I can look back on my life and realize that when I choose to believe there is something greater than me...a power...source..energy... and I ask "it" for help... I am essentially surrendering my will for a greater will. 

I call it God. Love. Source. 

I like to use the Serenity Prayer regarding this..

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

LIfe goes better when I consider God above my own will.

Let me know your thoughts on Step 3.
  • 29 Commentsby Likes|Date
  • Hello @dominica I also believe in step 3. I personally believe in the God of The Bible. I have seen Him work many miracles. Mine included! I have turned my life over to Him. My will I struggle with sometimes. I believe He is our Father. And wants best for us. As we do our children. However sometimes I think I know better. And try to do it my way. 
     This my belief. If someone is sick on the death bed. And we all get together and pray that the person lives. God may or may not honor that. Ultimatly it is His will. So I have learned to pray for God will in that time. And thats the truth.
    So in my life. I try to do the foot work. And leave the results up to Him. So in keeping with the steps. I am powerless to stop gambling. The allure of the addiction is to big for me to take on. Step 2. I DO believe God can. Without a doubt. And Step 3. I turn it over to God. Ask Him to please give me the strength to do it. I do not ask Him to remove the mountain. But help me to over come it. 
     This is a very passionate subject for me. Having been totally delivered from alcoholism. I truly believe. And TRY to carry that message. I could go on forever about this. So if anyone believes in God. Great!! If not, that is your right. I just know what works for me. 
  • Yep, this is another step where the message falls flat for me. I've never been one to take comfort in the, "Jesus take the wheel" sort of mentality. I have never sat back and expected things to change for the better. They might, they might not. For something serious though, whether it is finances, work, or health, I need to take an active roll to either achieve success, or own the failure of coming up short.

    I think every person has an idea of what is right and what is wrong. And for someone who admits they are an addict, they know that that aspect of their life is wrong. They can then prioritize correcting that problem above other things. For example, perhaps staying sober means staying home as opposed to going out with friends, or going bowling or whatever. Perhaps, from a certain point of view, I can see how "god" can then be the notion of a sober life, free from the addiction that is holding one back. Turning one's self over to making that a reality could fit in with the principle of Step 3. It still means taking an active role, making deliberate decisions to get there, but that sober goal could be a guiding principle that influences all those decisions.
  • Good stuff @Leaker I think the principle is the same. You said take an active role. making staying sober a guide that influences decisions. That to me is trying to live up to a greater power. Take what ever sober means and use it as a tool.
    Also let me say, I too dont believe in doing nothing. If I am hungry,and go into my closet to pray for food. A hotdog will not roll under the door. I must go get a job. Go to store. Cook and then eat hotdogs. For me the meaning of turn it over, is when there is no more I can do. My mother had alzeimers. I found a home for her. Took her there. Paid the money. And went to visit all I could. My point is that there is absolutely nothing more i could do. I had to believe that a force, or greater good, was in control of her and her future. If it was MY will, she would have recovered and come home. She did not. She died. I must hope that she is in a better place. And IF she is, then who or what is in control of that.
    I will not try to force feed you. Or bible thump. But there has to be a Supreme being, that created us all. And the earth. 
      And I totally agree. I must do my part.To the best of my ability. I just choose to leave the results up to God.
    Thank you for your candor, and honesty. If you notice, our step study thread has very few comments. No one wants to talk about God. So they shy away. But i am not ashamed of the Gospel. As for me and my house. We will serve The Lord.
  • @tommy, it's a real shame not more people are weighing in. Maybe on some of the later Steps folks will chime in. It's understandable though. Arguing about religion, money, and politics online is usually a fruitless venture. I'll respect your comment not to preach, I will just say that there doesn't HAVE to be a supreme being. Science has done a pretty good job of explaining things up to the start of the universe. What was before that? What started it all? If it was god, then who created him? Both science and religion break down at around that point. If one believes in a supreme being and takes comfort from it, so much the better, but that is what it is, a belief, and faith.

    But, getting back on topic, I'm taking a different approach and trying to tie the steps into a more agnostic framework. I am sure there are a lot of folks that struggle with the religious/spiritual aspects of the Steps. I can't say I can solve that, but maybe add a different way of looking at them. If that helps, then that is great.

    Concur, at a certain point, one has done all they can, and they have reached the end of their ability to influence a situation. Some turn to a higher power to search for meaning or to try and wrap their nuggets around the situation. Personally, I just try and focus on things that are still within my control.

    For recovery, I think that model works well. One does everything in their power to commit to and gain confidence in their decision to stay sober, and then direct their focus onto something else, keeping themselves so occupied they don't lose conviction in their decision or start to listen as the monster attempts to rationalize a relapse.
  • @Tommy @Leaker great input.  I love it that we can all have our own beliefs and no one judges the other. :) Each person here traveling their own unique journey...there are more than 4,200 religions around the world... seems most people are trying to navigate this earth journey gravitating toward believing in "something"...or "someone"... 

    faith... faith helps so many people... i love to see people heal, grow, and evolve, so my hope is that people discover their own spiritual or scientific journey....and ultimately, get to experience peace, joy, and abundance of love....

    i will note that as i've delved into both christianity, buddhism, shamanism, and science...all have very beneficial teachings... and i glean from each of them! :)

    i find that i'm more apt to call on "God" when i'm wanting to see change in another. like my son, for example. struggling with alcohol abuse, and i am powerless and have done all a mother could do....call on a higher power to intervene..... call it prayer or intention....i find myself doing this more and more. and i pray the serenity prayer... what a great prayer!
  • Thank you so much for starting this ! I was starting to burn out on the same old same old .
    Step 3 does suggest the we turn our will and lives over to the care of God "As we understand him ". And many people just close the book and quit reading the minute they hear the word "GOD". But there is a hell of a lot more to the steps , program , and fellowship than that . And a belief in God is not a requirement . But action is . Particularly steps 4 and 5 . Step based groups "believe faith without works is dead". So no , we don't sit on our ass waiting for God to do it for us .
    I would say 50% of the people I meet at AA came to the program as agnostics . Another 25% accepted God (I fall into this group ) but struggled mightily with organized religion , and many of it's teachings . Of the original 50% , probably half begin to accept God "As they understand him ". The others manufacture there own Higher Power so they can comfortably work the Steps . Many look at the group itself as the Higher Power . And of the approximately 250 meetings I have attended , in 5 different cities , I think I've heard Jesus mentioned twice . He's not really in the Big Book either . (We'll take the Jews , Buddhist , Hindus , and even the Muslims )
    So while the Higher Power is important , it all really revolves around Step 12 . Carrying the message to others (Alcoholics in my case) who still suffer . We can't keep it if we don't give it away ! 

  • @TWSJ hey you!! very good insight! i agree that the 12 steps can be powerful when worked...and then worked over and over... i always hope that people won't turn away just because of the faith of the founders of AA. or the God talk in the literature. God can be anything we want God to be.... and the steps and group support in general have helped so many people...  the connections made..the not feeling so alone...the sponsorship...the accountability...all great things.

    people need people sometimes, and AA is free. counseling is not free. rehabs are not free. (dammit; they should be)

    so AA is a free tool that CAN work....God or no God. believers or atheists. welcome to ALL!!!!!!!!!!!! 
  • I am not a religious person, but I am a very spiritual person. So whenever I hear "God," I just think "higher power" or "spirit animal" or whatever. It's not that hard to do. Bottom line: I do believe that there's something bigger than me. And that's who I turn things over to in my times of need.
  • OK so I can agree with you guys. People need to find their own higher power. The point to me is that I am not the master of the universe. Or the cats meow. I must humble myself to the point of believing that I dont know everything. I must put something above me. Then the next few steps continue to break the ego. I must admit I have flaws. And have been selfish and self seeking in many ways. I am personally deeply vetted in the Higher Power. Having been around AA 30 years. And yes, God can be anything you want. As long as I believe I aint all that. And that somewhere. Somehow. There is a power greater than me.
  • I think we have established a common thread on Step 3 . But as Tommy Boy knows , Step 4 is where we separate the winners from the posers . Maybe a bit too deep for the forum . But , folks around here say if we don't do the 4th step , we'll drink the fifth . 
    And Step 10 " Continued to take personal inventory and promptly admitted when we were wrong ''. That tells us we have to keep living Step 4 . Keep our side of the street clean . 
  • Very true @TWSJ  I remember putting off the fourth for YEARS. And finally joined a group and did it. And my sponsor invited me over to his house. We did my fifth step. Then we grilled man burgers!! Hamburgers as big as a dinner plate. And that was truly a turning point for me. Now years later, I try so hard to tell people that. In our little small AA group here in town. We did a step study. 12 people signed up. As we started, everyone was gung ho!! And 2 months in, we got to step 4. Dropped like flies. And by the time we got to 12. There was 3 of us left!! And that has happened several times. If one truly wants a change in life. Stick to it. Do all 12. Even if its half ass. And Something will change. Promise.
  • Step 4 requires the truth . Not everyone can stomach the truth . 
  • Step 4: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

    I've never heard that saying, @TWSJ about "drinking the 5th...but, it makes perfect sense. It takes a strong stomach to work #4. Guess that's why people who gain a little freedom in the first 3, back off and play the waiting game for it. 
    Like 1 - 3 can flow into each other, I found that the next two kind of belong in "brackets", together!
    @Tommy, I like your point of, "Even if it's half ass...!" Cause we can always redo, better each go round! 
  • @Tommy @Goodtr8s @TWSJ i remember the first time i started step 4. i had a very tough time answering the questions... not because i was afraid..i just had been so used to not feeling my emotions...wearing the mask...stuffing...i didn't even know how i really felt or how to answer the deeper questions. i'm going to review my first step 4 answers today...i didn't work the AA step book, but the ACOA step book.

    but yes, putting down the drink/drugs is one thing...but beginning the descent..the digging..to the underlying causes...shew. it can be tough and frightening. would be a great time to see a counselor when beginning step 4. i went over them with my sponsor, which helped, but i should have also went to a counselor then... hindsight is always better.


  • "...but yes, putting down the drink/drugs is one thing...but beginning the descent..the digging..to the underlying causes...shew. it can be tough and frightening. would be a great time to see a counselor when beginning step 4. i went over them with my sponsor, which helped, but i should have also went to a counselor then... hindsight is always better."

    I wish I could put this on a postcard and send it out to ALL recovering and still struggling! @dominica...you are the bomb!



  • Yoohoo all my peeps. @deand @dominica @TWSJ @Leaker @Goodtr8s I sure hope all is well. I feel much better today. I was just a little ill yesterday. Not really sure why. Just was. lol Its gone now. I have really grown fond of the 6 of us. I continue to invite anyone to our train. I was thinking. Yes the fourth step is a tough one. I really believe one must have a sponsor, or counselor or even just an accountability group. I am ready if you guys are!! As we look into ourselves, and write it down. I would challenge each person to be honest. We surely dont need to air ALL our laundry here. Some things may be personal. We will worry about 5th later. I also would advise everyone to stay balanced. For every bad, or flaw. There should be a positive. As I have learned not to beat myself to death with it. To the point of feeling like shit.
      So. I will begin. I have heard it said. And even seen it. resentment is the number one killer of alcoholics. More people drink over that than any other. Back in my drinking days. My mother took my child out of my home. And she said I was a no good drunk. I resented that for years. She should mind her own buisness!! I came to realize she was only doing what she thought was right. I let that go. But when she GAVE UP on me. And called me that. I am still a little resentful of that. I am hurt she gave up on me. 
      That is only a beginning. But I must start somewhere. I say we pick a day. Maybe Sept 1rst? And begin to write. I am here to support anyone willing to try. 
      Thank you guys for the support yesterday. I am much much better today!! 
  • @Tommy i am fond of our train riders as well! :)

    sounds great about the 1st. let's start a new thread for Step 4 then. hmm. i'm glad we're doing this. a new chance to dig a bit deeper... check in with myself...am i stuffing feelings? sweeping things under carpet? being selfish? etc?

    resentment. i can see how those words from a mom would hurt. as a mom, i feel that she didn't give up on you as a person...we know as parents that our kids are good.... underneath that alcoholism, she knew... or maybe somehow she had to give up her expectations that you'd ever get sober....and those were the words that came out... ever talk to her about it? just curious. 
  • Yes @dominica We will start a step 4 thread. I kinda look forward to it. Imagine a car on the train. A very nice oak table. Chairs around for us. Plush carpet. A coffee bar with juice. Very fine art on the walls. And some cool antique lights. Nice huh? 
     No. I never did. She died a few years back. My family had a way of knowing there was a pink elephant in the room. Lets just avoid that. Keep going like nothing is wrong. She got alzeimers and passed. I still hold on to some of the hurt. Although I really try to let it go.
  • @Tommy well, as a mom to a son who is drinking more than he needs and very well be an alcoholic....there's nothing he could do or say that would make me give up on him... do i get frustrated? scared? angry? disappointed? yes...dammit. i want him to be ok..but i love him. i see him at his core...the boy i birthed and raised...and loved through IT ALL...and nothing can ever change that. 

    i imagine that's how your mom felt about you too.
  • Now we are getting to the root of not just alcoholism , but everything that sucks in our lives . Resentment is the killer . But let's not forget it is born of FEAR and ANGER !
  • I'm willing to take a stab at some inventory...Keeping it balanced will be important. I've seen some good talent on this train that can help do just that! @Leaker and @TWSJ...

    The Step-Work car on the Freedom Train sounds inviting and safe, @Tommy. Thank you.


  • Well, ever since I started on my career, I have said that I run off of, "anger, fear, hatred, and caffeine". I've told that to people from front line supervisors all the way up to senior management and haven't been told I am wrong...

    But, I do concur with @twsj. So many of our problems revolve around those two basic emotions. Either because we are experiencing them, or we are running away from them.

    How many, "crimes of passion" are committed that are really just in anger? How many times does our anger drive us to seek revenge? How often do we use our anger to justify actions? Either punishing someone else, or unduly rewarding ourselves for some real or imagined slight? How many times does communication, and therefore any hope of a reasonable solution, become impossible due to anger?

    Same for fear. I know fear kept me from seeking treatment until it was almost too late. Fear of the process. Fear of my life afterward. Fear of failure. How many of our decisions are clouded by fear?

    TWSJ gave out two good examples of powerful emotions, but what about ignorance? It's not an emotion, but certainly a state of being that has a profound affect on our actions, and the power to negatively influence our decisions. How many times do we say, "I don't know?" and not seek the answer? For some things, that's fine; for others, not so much. I resisted treatment in part because I was ignorant of my options. I was also ignorant of what I was doing to myself and my life until it was undeniably shown to me. How many times does ignorance get us into a situation that spirals out of control, leading us to those other two emotions, anger and fear?
  • @Leaker too many... that's for sure! 
  • I agree that ignorance keeps us from doing the next right thing . We appear to be forming a circle here . I think it could be said that Ignorance can be both the cause of and result of fear  . Think of Fear for a moment as False Evidence Appearing Real . Well , False Evidence is in fact ignorance .
    And Anger can be the result of both Fear and Ignorance . And when we dwell on our Anger , we end up in Resentment . And then we are screwed !
    I hope @Tommy can put a lift kit on the train , because we are getting mighty deep here . 
  • I think this has been a productive thread . We have several different perspectives all coming together for what in the end appears to be common ground . And , we are discussing topics in recovery which transcend any one particular problem . I often tell my fellow group members I'm learning how to live a healthier , happier life with more productive relationships . Sobriety is just a side effect !
    Thanks for kicking it off , and thanks to @Tommy for the original inspiration .
  • @TWSJ, concur. Sober living is lifestyle. It's not just saying no to a drink or drug, but what one does instead of feeding the addiction. It's a mindset, and a way of looking at life as a whole. The solution to ones problems, as well as the source of joy and true happiness, isn't in a bottle or baggie, or whatever. The solution is elsewhere. That's the sober mindset, and core of that lifestyle, at least according to Leaker.

    Also concur, and good insight on the cycle. All those emotions and states feed on each other, and if one isn't careful, they can be consumed by them and find it hard to escape.  

    So, what is the solution? Obviously, the answer for some is to turn over to a higher power for comfort and help in breaking the cycle. What about for others what can't/don't find comfort in that? For me, I get to a point where I say, "Well, that was terrible, but I can't do anything about it, so I am moving on". I guess it is a side effect of training or experience or something. My wife says sometimes, "How can you be so angry one moment, and then 10 seconds later you are back to normal?" I say, "Because saying angry won't do anything to solve the next disaster, which is probably scheduled for, 'immediately'"
  • Wow. Great stuff guys!! I am looking forward to tomorrow. We will hit the step head on. Thanks @dominica. I know my mom loved me. I really do.
     And @Leaker I can and did add a lift kit!! 36 Inches even!!
       I was also thinking. In our Step car. We have a big round steel trash barrel. with a trap door lid!! And negative yukky stuff you want rid of, throw it in there. As it cannot be taken back out. The six of us can protect each other!! And when @TWSJ gets the coal on and burners up to max. We can get The Freedom Express up to 80 mph!! Cross A bridge the size of the golden gate bridge. Pull the shoot. All that crap will be emptied. And we will be rolling on out of sight!! I will start our 4th step thread ASAP. Right now gotta work. Boooo Love to all. Bammmmm!
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