Intro Step 3

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Intro Step 3

This is an online Step Study. Each of the 12 steps will have its own thread, so you can participate at whatever level you are comfortable and discuss your own experience with concepts in each step. It’s a combination and compilation of step studies – some from Al Anon, some from Nar Anon and some from CODA.

Sources include Paths To Recovery, Al-Anon’s Steps, Traditions and Concepts 1997and How Al Anon Works for Families and Friends of Alcoholics 1995, along with some readings from Courage to Change, One Day at a Time in Al Anon II 1992.

Each of us works the steps in our time, and in our own manner. Most often, step work is done by those who attend face-to-face meetings and have a sponsor. That doesn’t mean that you MUST, it’s just a suggestion. Please don’t feel as though you must rush thru these steps… it took some of us a few years in the program before we began, and we found ourselves stuck on at least one of the steps for a year or more. The questions and postings here will be an outline, a framework from which you can begin your journey. If nothing else, the questions will provoke some thought and self-reflection, and some great discussions and dialogue.

Others who have worked the steps before may find that they wish to do the steps again. Many people who work one step per month every year – 12 steps for 12 months. The more you learn about yourself, the more you know, and the more you wish to learn!

Step 3: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

Intro to Step Three from Paths to Recovery, Al Anon’s Steps, Traditions and Concepts. p. 28

In Step One we learned that many of our problems may have resulted from our ineffective efforts to manage our own lives; in Step Two we came to believe that a Higher Power could help restore us to sanity;. It naturally follows that the next Step would be turning to that Power for help. Some members shorten the first three Steps to, “I can’t. God can. I’ll let Him.” Obviously if our past efforts have been futile, and if we believe that a Power can help us, it makes sense to allow that power to do so.
The first phrase of Step Three, “Made a decision,” shows us that we have choices. We make this decision when we are ready. Everyone works through the Steps at their own pace, in many cases returning to earlier Steps over and over again until ready to move to the next one. No one compels us to turn over our will. We choose to do this because the way of life we created on self-will alone was neither satisfying nor serene.
What decision are we making? We are asked “to turn our will and lives over to the care of God as we understood Him. Few of us are able to immediately turn over everything in our lives; making the decision to do so is merely a commitment to try. To illustrate this aspect of Step Three, a member posed the following: “Three frogs sat on a lily pad. One made a decision to jump off. How many frogs are left?” The answer is three. The frog merely made the decision to jump – he hasn’t jumped yet!

Third Step Prayer, from the AA Big Book

"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!"

From How Al Anon Works for Families and Friends of Alcoholics p.139

This is from Lois’s Story, where she writes about her own work on the 12 steps:

Step 3: Self sufficiency, caused by the habit of acting as mother, nurse, caretaker and breadwinner, as well as always thinking of myself on the credit side of the ledger with my alcoholic husband on the debit side, resulted in my having a smug feeling of righteousness. At the same time, illogically, I felt a failure at my life’s job of helping Bill to sobriety. All this made me blind for a long time to the fact that I needed to turn my will and my life over to the care of God. I believe smugness is the very worst sin of all. Only with great difficulty does a shaft of light pierce the armor of self-righteousness.

Step 3: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

How do I feel about turning my life over to a Higher Power for guidance?

How do I know who or what my Higher Power is?

Am I willing to try to turn my problems over? What could help me to be willing?

How can I stop thinking, trying and considering, and actually make a decision?

Have I had a problem making decisions in my life? Give examples.

If I am unable to make this decision, what holds me back?

Do I trust my Higher Power to take care of me?

How might Step Three help me keep my hands off situations created by others?

What consequences have I had by obsessing on problems and other people?

When I “Let Go and Let God” take care of my life, am I willing to follow the guidance I receive?

How can I turn a situation over and let go of the results?

How can I stop myself from taking my will back?

What can I do when my loved ones make decisions I don’t like?

How can I let my loved ones find their own life paths as I am finding mine?

What can I do to try to see others as God sees them?

How can I express God’s will in my actions and words towards others, including the alcoholic?
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