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Step three in recovery calls us to ACTION! It requires us to do a few things, but first and foremost is make a decision. Okay, but what decision? Well, the decision is whether or not we believe the higher power of our understanding has our back.
Frankly, step three was a lot more difficult than I anticipated due to my very shaky belief system. It’s not that I didn’t believe in some sort of higher power; I honestly just didn’t care one did or didn’t exist! I was raised in the Church, but at a young age witnessed a congregation meeting to hold a vote on whether to keep our pastor because he was unfaithful to his wife on several occasions. It was difficult for me to take what these pastors preached to heart because they literally were not practicing what the preached. However, I continued to go to church there because my parents made me. So when I heard the word “GOD” in Step Three, I didn’t use it as an excuse to say the step won’t work for me, but rather the challenge was trying to work through my childhood feelings towards organized religion and God.
My sponsor and I discussed all of this and he said, “yeah, but Ryan, your higher power can be whatever you want it to be.” That hit me between the eyes because my higher power was already giving me no excuse or logical reasoning not to practice the program! The cool thing is now I was no longer afraid to say “I am a believer.” While it might not be in what other people envision God to be, it is my God – an endlessly loving, all-seeing, super chill God, who in my opinion spends way too much time at the beach!
My sponsor and I continued our conversation, and I had to accept this: “I can’t, He (my God) can, so let Him!” We talked about willingness, and how important this is to Step Three – being willing to let go of what you think you have control of and let Him take care of it. For me, this was not an excuse to not care about the outcome of things, but rather being able to accept it as being just the way it is supposed to be, whether I like it or not! Accept it! So we both knelt down and said the third step prayer on page 63. I didn’t care who or what I was praying to because I just wanted help from anyone or anything that could help me.
One of my favorite passages in The Big Book reminds me of a similar quote/ belief system from the movie Matrix Reloaded. If you have not seen the movie, you are going to have to follow me closely on this because it could be tricky to understand. There is a scene in which the main characters of the movie, Morpheus, Trinity and Neo, are in an elevator after meeting with “The Frenchman,” one of the bad guys in the film. The meeting didn’t go how they anticipated, which Trinity points out to the rest of the group. “Maybe we did something wrong, or didn’t do something,” she says. Morpheus’ reply is where you truly see his belief system and understand his trust in something other than himself, “No, what happened couldn’t have happened any other way.” The pair look at him confused. Morpheus lays down the hammer saying, “We are still alive.”
Now I know you are thinking, “Ryan, what does this have to do with the third step and how you worked it!?” Well, it helped me understand there is a greater force in the world at work. I don’t have to understand it, I don’t have to define it, and I don’t have to explain it to anyone – it is MY conception of a higher power. Page 417 in The Big Book says, “Nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in God’s world by mistake.” This is so true. I try to seek God’s will for me every day. Every time I pray, I surrender my will to him. That is the action, and it is how I have and continue to work Step Three on a daily basis.