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The Big Twelve
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Step 1
Step 2
Step 3
Step 4
Step 5
Step 6
Step 7
Step 8
Step 9
Step 10
Step 11
Step 12
Step 3

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

REMEMBER:  Indicate after you answer each question, the specific character defect (bad habit) that caused your behavior.

THIRD STEP – BRIEF OUTLINE

 

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

 

1.      Practicing of Step Three is like the opening of a locked door.  There is only one key, and it is called willingness.

 

2.      Step Three calls for affirmation action, for it is only by action that we can cut away the self-will which has always blocked the entry of God into our lives.

 

3.      The effectiveness of the whole A.A. program will rest upon how well and earnestly we have tried to come to “a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.”

 

4.      The more we become willing to depend upon a Higher Power, the more independent we actually are.  Therefore dependence is really a mean of gaining true independence of the spirit.

 

5.      So it is by circumstance rather than by any virtue that we have been driven to A.A., have admitted defeat, have acquired the rudiments of faith, and now want to make a decision to turn our will and our lives over to a Higher Power.

 

6.      Other steps of the A.A. program can be practiced with success only when Step Three is given a determined and persistent trial.

 

7.      All of the Twelve Steps require sustained and personal exertion to conform to their principles and so, we trust, to God’s will.

 

8.      It is when we try to make our will conform with God’s that we begin to use it rightly.

 

9.      Our whole trouble had been the misuse of willpower.  We had tried to bombard our problems with it instead of attempting to bring it into agreement with God’s intention for us.

 

10.  In all times of emotional disturbance or indecision, we can pause and simply say:

 

“God GRANT me the serenity to accept the

things I cannot change; courage to change

the things I can, and wisdom to know the

difference.  Thy will, not mine, be done.”

 

(from Twelve Steps & Twelve Traditions)

 

 

 

THIRD STEP – BRIEF OUTLINE (con’t.)

 

1.      The first requirement is that we be convinced that any life run on self-will can hardly be a success.

 

2.      Selfishness – self-centeredness!  That, we think, is the root of our troubles.  So our troubles, we think, are basically of our own making.

 

3.      Above everything, we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness.  We must, or it kills us!  God makes this possible.

 

4.      Neither could we reduce our self-centeredness much by wishing or trying with our own power.  We had to have God’s help.  This is the how and why of it.  First of all, we had to quit playing God.  It didn’t work.

 

5.      Next, we decided that hereafter in this drama of life, God was going to be our Director.

 

6.      As we felt new power flow in, as we enjoyed peace of mind, as we discovered we could face life successfully, as we became conscious of His presence, we began to lose our fear of today, tomorrow or the hereafter.

 

7.      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!”

 

8.      We found it very desirable to take this spiritual step with an understanding person.

 

RECOMMENDED READING:

 

Alcoholics Anonymous (Big Book), chapter 5 – p. 60 (after ABCs) through p. 63, 3rd paragraph

 

Twelve Steps & Twelve Traditions, Step Three


THIRD STEP GUIDE

 

“MADE A DECISION TO TURN OUR WILL AND OUR LIVES OVER TO THE CARE OF GOD AS WE UNDERSTOOD HIM.”

 

In the preceding steps, we were engaged in reflection.  In Step One, we saw that we were, are now, and will remain powerless over alcohol.  Also, in Step One, we came to recognize that our lives have been, are now, and will remain unmanageable by us alone.  Step Two made us aware that we could be restored to sanity by a Power greater than ourselves if we rightly relate ourselves to this Power.  These conclusions did not require action; they required only acceptance.  At this point, we should have accepted the unmanageability and insanity of our lives.

 

The first requirement in doing Step Three is that we become convinced that any life run on self-will can hardly be a success.  Obviously, the first two steps show, in no uncertain terms, the confusion caused by using self-will (self-will is part of the acquired false self).  Self-will includes selfishness – self-centeredness.  This self-centeredness is the root of our troubles.  So our troubles are basically of our own making.  Above everything, we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness.  We must, or it kills us.  We found that we could not reduce the self-centeredness much by wishing or relying on our own power.  Thus, we had to quit playing God.  It did not work.

 

Step Three calls for affirmative action, for it is only by action that we can cut away the self-will which has always blocked the entry of God into our lives.  The key that will allow God to enter our lives once again is willingness.  The thinking mind and its self-will may block the entry of God into our lives again, as it frequently does.  However, the key of willingness will open the door.

 

The thinking mind, using instinct and logic to bolster egotism, would have us believe that, if we turn our will and our life over to the care of God, we become nothing.  The truth is – the more we become willing to depend upon a Higher Power, the more independent we actually are.  Therefore dependence, as A.A. practices it, is really a means of gaining true independence of the spirit.

 

Step Three asks us to make a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand Him.  This decision can only be made by us.  All by ourselves, being convinced that self-will has ruined our lives, we need to develop the quality of willingness.  By becoming willing, we now can make the decision to exert ourselves.  Doing this is an act of our own will.  Remember, all of the steps require sustained and personal exertion to conform to their principles and to God’s will.

 

The effectiveness of the whole A.A. program will rest upon how well and earnestly we try to come to “a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand Him.”  The other steps of the A.A. program can be practiced with success only when Step Three is given a determined and persistent trial.  Thus, we try to make our will conform with God’s so that we can begin to use it rightly.

THIRD STEP GUIDE (con’t.)

 

Once we are convinced that we have no choice but to turn our will and our lives over to God, then it is easy to begin the practice of Step Three.  In times of confusion, we pause quietly and say:  “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.  Thy will, not mine, be done.”

 

The purpose of writing the third step is to help us to “make a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand Him.”

 

Go through the following examples and be as honest and specific as you are able to at this time.  Give specific examples and situations from your own life.

 

            YOU ARE IN THE PROCESS OF MAKING A DECISION

 

1.      Are you aware that drinking and problems in your life are a result of the acquired thinking mind?

 

2.      In what way does Step Three call for action on your part?

 

3.      Have you blocked God from your life?  Give examples.

 

4.      Explain your understanding of God at this point in the program.

 

5.      What do you think your self-will is?  List some ways it has caused havoc and ruin in your life.

 

6.      “Dependence on God is really a means of gaining true independence.”  What does this mean to you?

 

7.      What does the “Serenity Prayer” as found on p. 42 of the Twelve & Twelve mean to you?

 

8.      How did Steps One and Two prepare you for Step Three?

 

9.      Do you feel that you are now truly willing to turn your will and life over to the care of God as you understand Him?  Explain.

 

10.  What action are you going to take to live Step Three?

 

11.  Now using the Prayer as found on p. 63 of the Big Book, take this spiritual step with an understanding person.

 

MAKE THE DECISION DAILY!!!

 

Make the decision to turn it over today!

Work the steps, call your sponsor, just don't take that first drink, call before you fall, if you don't think about it, you'll drink about it.