A Deeper Look at the 12 Steps: Step 3
“Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.”
Step 3 of Alcoholics Anonymous’ 12-Step program is based on a simple principle: Change your attitude toward life, and you can change your life.
A Question of Willpower
The third stage on the road to sobriety is one of the most important. It can also be one of the most frightening and difficult steps for recovering alcoholics to confront. That’s because it is the first step that asks us to take concrete action.
Step 1 demanded honesty. It forced us to recognize our powerlessness over our addiction. In step 2, we acknowledged a power greater than ourselves, whether that be A.A. itself, a vision of our ideal self, a counselor, or God. Both of these initial steps involved recognition and acceptance. Step 3 brings willpower back into the equation.
If that sounds confusing (after all, didn’t willpower cause the problem in the first place?), think of it this way: There is a difference between willpower and willfulness. We display willfulness when we demand our independence from everyone, when we naively believe we are in control of everything, when we refuse even the sincerest offers of help. When A.A. speaks of willpower, on the other hand, it means the willingness to accept help from someone or something outside of ourselves, even if our whole mind and heart rebel against the idea.
More Than Empty Words
Simply put, Step 3 demands that we take the first two steps and put them into action. This is where we transform a desire for reform into a decision to surrender. It’s one thing to admit our own helplessness and pay lip service to a higher power. Actually surrendering often takes a greater leap of faith.
To put it another way, it’s easy enough to search for affordable alcohol treatment centers and sign the papers on the dotted line. It’s more difficult to commit ourselves wholeheartedly to the recovery process. In order to surrender, we must let go of our grand plans, our inflated pride, and our exaggerated concept of self-control. We must relinquish negative feelings and let go of all those things we cannot hope to control.
Harnessing the Power of Surrender
In the end, if alcohol has taught us anything, it is that we have encountered a problem greater than ourselves. Only by harnessing a power that is equally great can we hope to free our minds and bodies from the vice-like grip of alcoholism.
When we put our foot on the third rung of the ladder, we commit ourselves to a lifelong struggle, a struggle that will demand enduring resolve and continual action. Thankfully, Step 3 also reminds us that failure is never final. No matter how many times we fall down, we can rediscover hope as long as we are willing to seek help.
If you need help overcoming your own battle with alcoholism and are searching for alcohol rehab in Orange County, call Yellowstone Recovery at 888-941-9048.