Step Three in Alcoholics Anonymous: An Overview

silhouette of a woman staring at a burning bush in the sunset

Step Three in Alcoholics Anonymous: An Overview

As we prepare to start the step three, many of us are placed in an uncomfortable position again. Here we see “God” actually mentioned for the first time in the steps. For some, this is easy to accept. However, more often than not many of us begin to shy away at this step if the mention of a “higher power” in Step Two did not already. As we take an honest look at where our addiction has brought us, we are able to understand that we were powerless over alcohol and our lives were unmanageable. Then we know we cannot solve the problems we have created on our own, which leads us to put hope into a Power greater than ourselves returning our sanity. Now we are faced with having to turn our lives over to God – don’t be afraid or let that word turn you away from the process! It is only being asked that you have faith.

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

The last four words of step three are placed in italics for a reason. It is to emphasize that we need only place our faith in our own conception of a Higher Power. We have already come to believe there is something greater than us; now our only requirement is to turn our problems over to whatever that concept may be. More than anything, this step is asking if we are willing to quit trying to run the show. As addicts, we tried to remain in control of every aspect of our lives and the lives of those closest to us to ensure that we were able to get exactly what we wanted. This misguided perception of power and control over our lives and others is what got us here. If we are willing to make this commitment and have faith in our Higher Power, we can commence with Step Three. The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous gives us a prayer that we can use as a guide for taking this step:

God, I offer myself to Thee—to build with me and 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!

While it is not necessary for these words to be exact, it is important that whatever we say is believed without reservation and with total conviction. The words we choose must be said humbly and honestly, asking our Higher Power to guide us on this journey. If we are able to do this and place our faith in a Power greater than ourselves, we are ready to take the first step of action in our recovery.