Struggling with taking step 3. Please help.

The 12 Steps are the AA program of recovery from alcoholism.

Struggling with taking step 3. Please help.

Postby XXPharaohXx » Sun May 06, 2018 9:02 am

Hi I am working the steps out of the AA Big Book. I am currently on step three. I have done the steps before but recently have discovered other additions in my life that I’m working to concour. I’ve always struggled with reliance on God and want to ensure that I’m ready before I move to step 4.

The part that I’m hung up on is “we thought well before taking this step making sure we were ready; that we could at last abandon ourselves utterly to Him.”

What is everyone’s thought on “abandon ourselves utterly” because as of right now I want that to be true but I have such a small and unclear view of my beliefs that there’s nothing as extreme as “utterly.”

Thoughts?
Last edited by XXPharaohXx on Sun May 06, 2018 11:17 am, edited 2 times in total.
XXPharaohXx
Forums Newcomer
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun May 06, 2018 8:55 am

Re: Struggling with taking step 3. Please help.

Postby Brock » Sun May 06, 2018 10:31 am

Welcome here Pharaoh.

Where the book says.. “making sure we were ready; that we could at least abandon ourselves utterly to Him.” I wish they hadn't used such absolute words like utterly, or if they used it they could say we were ready to try to do it, and we were 'utterly' ready to do the rest of the steps. So many of us seem to get hung up on this step, and when we discuss it, we usually agree that it’s the rest of the steps which will open the door to doing this.

Even then it took me living in the solution for a few years, and even today I wouldn’t say I abandon myself utterly to him, I have a good dose of faith that something is watching out for me, and experience that when I try to run the show alone it tends to go crappy. So for me it’s a trust that is growing, and I can hopefully entirely stop trying to do things my way some day, but I haven’t got there yet.

Thanks for the interesting topic.
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."
User avatar
Brock
Forums Coordinator
 
Posts: 3448
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2012 1:45 pm

Re: Struggling with taking step 3. Please help.

Postby XXPharaohXx » Sun May 06, 2018 11:28 am

Brock wrote:Welcome here Pharaoh.

Where the book says.. “making sure we were ready; that we could at least abandon ourselves utterly to Him.” I wish they hadn't used such absolute words like utterly, or if they used it they could say we were ready to try to do it, and we were 'utterly' ready to do the rest of the steps. So many of us seem to get hung up on this step, and when we discuss it, we usually agree that it’s the rest of the steps which will open the door to doing this.

Even then it took me living in the solution for a few years, and even today I wouldn’t say I abandon myself utterly to him, I have a good dose of faith that something is watching out for me, and experience that when I try to run the show alone it tends to go crappy. So for me it’s a trust that is growing, and I can hopefully entirely stop trying to do things my way some day, but I haven’t got there yet.

Thanks for the interesting topic.


Thanks for the insight.

To let you know where I’m currently at. I’m 43 days sober. I have been meditating and praying every day. I do the Big Book 11th step in the morning and at night, as well as my own prayer in the morning. I have little understanding of God, but came to my own current belief which is, My God is the universe and my job is to learn to fit Better into the flow of life as the universe intended. For example if I go to the forest there are trees, animals, bugs, death and life, creeks flowing, all without my help. They are all living freely as god intended. That is the power of the universe.

Also, I was born with a natural moral compass and I’m suppose to learn to listen to that; it’s the guiding light to my higher Powers will. My addiction has caused me to fight against that moral guide and left me ashamed and full of guilt. So the internal battle between who I am suppose to be (who the universe intended me to be) and who I’ve been acting like during my addiction, is sort of the path I’ve been trying to stay aware of this past 43 days.

I truly believe that my life run on self will leads to destruction, and that I need to explore how I best fit into the flow of life, as much as possible. This leads to the 11th step prayer I do, talking about how I can stop focusing on self and better serve others instead. I try my best to stay conscious of this, however most days I’m still running on self will (fear, self loathing, depression, anxiety, loneliness).

Knowing the above stuff, am I ready to take the 4th step or do I need to come to terms with God’s will vs my will even more first? Do I have to do some other work to abandon my self will even more somehow?
XXPharaohXx
Forums Newcomer
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun May 06, 2018 8:55 am

Re: Struggling with taking step 3. Please help.

Postby Brock » Sun May 06, 2018 12:19 pm

It is a bit slow on the forums today, but I expect later or tomorrow others may weigh in with an opinion, but from my experience I say you are very ready for #4, this is where the real good stuff of the program starts. And we don’t worry much about what understanding of God we have, I like this post from last month -
JaninGV1942 » Sat Apr 21, 2018 7:25 pm
We all choose our own definition. I used the AA Group and my Sponsor for the first several years. Today, I still don't know who or what God or Higher Power is It really does not matter. I continue after 26 years of continuous sobriety to work Step 11; seeking thorough prayer ( which can be plain old gratitude ) and meditation ( I practice being aware or mindful of the beauty around me ) Think of the word God which has many negative connotations. I would not want the God some people believe in ! I know there is more to me than just a physical body and like the words found in Big Book, 3rd paragraph down. " We found the Great Reality and it was deep within us " What ever it is can't be found through the brain or intellect. It is in our own reality or consciousness. We all experience moments of awe and wonder at times in our life....that is a spiritual experience....its not what I believe its what I have and continue to experience. Perhaps
i could be called an Agnostic.

You can find that thread here -
viewtopic.php?f=15&t=24608&p=159278&hilit=awe#p159278

The idea of finding spirituality in nature is something I agree with as well, in that same thread I gave the link for, I quoted this which is actually from the bible, not that I read it, I just liked this part and some others.
If you would learn more, ask the cattle,
Seek information from the birds of the air.
The creeping things of earth will give you lessons,
And the fishes of the sea will tell you all.
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."
User avatar
Brock
Forums Coordinator
 
Posts: 3448
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2012 1:45 pm

Re: Struggling with taking step 3. Please help.

Postby Greywolf » Sun May 06, 2018 2:03 pm

XXPharaohXx wrote:
To let you know where I’m currently at. I’m 43 days sober. I have been meditating and praying every day. I do the Big Book 11th step in the morning and at night, as well as my own prayer in the morning. I have little understanding of God, but came to my own current belief which is, My God is the universe and my job is to learn to fit Better into the flow of life as the universe intended. For example if I go to the forest there are trees, animals, bugs, death and life, creeks flowing, all without my help. They are all living freely as god intended. That is the power of the universe.

Also, I was born with a natural moral compass and I’m suppose to learn to listen to that; it’s the guiding light to my higher Powers will. My addiction has caused me to fight against that moral guide and left me ashamed and full of guilt. So the internal battle between who I am suppose to be (who the universe intended me to be) and who I’ve been acting like during my addiction, is sort of the path I’ve been trying to stay aware of this past 43 days.

I truly believe that my life run on self will leads to destruction, and that I need to explore how I best fit into the flow of life, as much as possible. This leads to the 11th step prayer I do, talking about how I can stop focusing on self and better serve others instead. I try my best to stay conscious of this, however most days I’m still running on self will (fear, self loathing, depression, anxiety, loneliness).

Knowing the above stuff, am I ready to take the 4th step or do I need to come to terms with God’s will vs my will even more first? Do I have to do some other work to abandon my self will even more somehow?

IMO non-psychopathic human beings are born with some sort of moral values or moral compass. Alcoholic drinking, whatever that is, affects the moral compass and ultimately puts it to sleep. The result of the steps as you likely by now know is a spiritual awakening. This spirit within that is in need of awakening fits in with your concept of moral compass, don't you think?

I suggest reading Chapter 5 through the 12 steps. This portion of the Big Book is the result of sober alcoholics, including Bill W. aligning on "how it works." The 12 steps are suggested as a program of recovery. The result of this program is a spiritual awakening. You may be lead to believe by the BB that there is much more to recovery but I suggest that the result of the steps as Bill W. explains in the BB goes far beyond recovery. Much further than I and millions of other alcoholics ever wanted to go. There are also millions of recovered alcoholic who do want to go further.

Many sober alcoholics took the first nine steps ("these are the steps we took") once and use the last 3 steps as maintenance steps. As one reads the "we did this and we did that" wording of the steps, that concept makes perfect sense. It certainly allows for taking the first 9 once and the last 3 as maintenance. All the sober AAers that I know the first 30 years of got sober that way. We were the result of Akron AAers returning home for Akron before the major distribution of the BB occurred sometime after 1942. The BB was expensive and the message they were carrying wasn't read the BB and do the steps that way.

There is a school of thought that if you are having trouble with a step, you haven't worked the one before it -- all the way back to the first one. Sounds like you are bouncing all over the place. I and all my fellow AAers that know ultimately took them in the order they came in. Some of us tried it the other way, bouncing back and forth from step to step. Many believe that a careful, well executed journey is important to arriving at the desired destination.

I have 3 close friends who passed away with 40 to 50 years of continuous sobriety, numerous other people I knew who did the same with continuous sobriety. I also know some AAers who wanted more than a spiritual awakening and these friends started studying the BB in hopes of achieving a life of spirituality.

In a couple of months I'll be 81 years old and sober in AA 55 years. I'm getting more interested in the power to carry God' will out than I am the knowledge of what it is. :roll:
I don't care how much you know until I know how much you care.
Greywolf
Forums Enthusiast
 
Posts: 59
Joined: Fri Apr 20, 2018 1:56 pm

Re: Struggling with taking step 3. Please help.

Postby Blue Moon » Sun May 06, 2018 7:28 pm

XXPharaohXx wrote:The part that I’m hung up on is “we thought well before taking this step making sure we were ready; that we could at last abandon ourselves utterly to Him.”

"If you 1. want what we have and 2. are willing to go to any lengths to get it, then uou are ready to take certain steps".

When someone can honestly answer "yes" to both of these, then it would seem a no-brainer. So what gives?

When I walked in, my problem was with "what we have". I didn't know "what we have", and surprisingly-few seemed to be talking about it. If "what we have" is a lifetime's reliance on meetings and religion, my answer would be an emphatic "no thanks".

So it's a bit of a miracle that I stuck around. I didn't know "what you have". All I really knew is I didn't want what I had.
Ian S
AKA Blue Moon
User avatar
Blue Moon
Site Admin
 
Posts: 3683
Joined: Wed Jan 23, 2002 2:01 am
Location: New Jersey

Re: Struggling with taking step 3. Please help.

Postby XXPharaohXx » Sun May 06, 2018 8:35 pm

Blue Moon wrote:
XXPharaohXx wrote:The part that I’m hung up on is “we thought well before taking this step making sure we were ready; that we could at last abandon ourselves utterly to Him.”

"If you 1. want what we have and 2. are willing to go to any lengths to get it, then uou are ready to take certain steps".

When someone can honestly answer "yes" to both of these, then it would seem a no-brainer. So what gives?

When I walked in, my problem was with "what we have". I didn't know "what we have", and surprisingly-few seemed to be talking about it. If "what we have" is a lifetime's reliance on meetings and religion, my answer would be an emphatic "no thanks".

So it's a bit of a miracle that I stuck around. I didn't know "what you have". All I really knew is I didn't want what I had.


My problem is with “and are willing to go to any length” because it sounds like if someone says I have to do 14 meetings a week and have 50 sponsees, and drive an hour to various cities to meet with people, is that “any length”?? And is anything less than that not “any length???”

This is also similar to why I’m struggling with the 3rd step, because “utterly” is very intense.
XXPharaohXx
Forums Newcomer
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun May 06, 2018 8:55 am

Re: Struggling with taking step 3. Please help.

Postby Spirit Flower » Mon May 07, 2018 2:06 am

The "utterly" is a prayer. The more you experience manifestations of your selfish self, in sobriety, the more you will pray, "May I at last abandon myself utterly to You."

However, from reading your posts, I think you already took step 3 and are ready for step 4/5. Get on those as quick as possible.
...a score card reading zero...
User avatar
Spirit Flower
Forums Old Timer
 
Posts: 1868
Joined: Fri Feb 09, 2007 5:49 am
Location: Texas

Re: Struggling with taking step 3. Please help.

Postby avaneesh912 » Mon May 07, 2018 3:59 am

What is everyone’s thought on “abandon ourselves utterly” because as of right now I want that to be true but I have such a small and unclear view of my beliefs that there’s nothing as extreme as “utterly.”


Do not get stuck on every single word. Overall essence is what we need. At this moment, we are to look at all the character traits that is blocking us from God or atheist could say conscious state of mind. If you read page 25 thats what Bill is trying to convey. We start cleaning up. If you read the article "Language of the heart" he is doing the same thing there. That was written 20 years after the big book was written.

Inventory is the key. A thorough one. I get it when they say a thorough one, because some of the character defects keep coming back, and if I allow them to go overboard, I surely run into trouble.
Show him, from your own experience, how the peculiar mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power (Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)
User avatar
avaneesh912
Trusted Servant
 
Posts: 4796
Joined: Fri May 30, 2008 12:22 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA

Re: Struggling with taking step 3. Please help.

Postby tomsteve » Mon May 07, 2018 5:34 am

XXPharaohXx wrote:
Blue Moon wrote:
XXPharaohXx wrote:

My problem is with “and are willing to go to any length” because it sounds like if someone says I have to do 14 meetings a week and have 50 sponsees, and drive an hour to various cities to meet with people, is that “any length”?? And is anything less than that not “any length???”



simple solution to that problem?
is 14 meetings a week something the big book suggests?
does the big book suggest having 50 sponsees?

any lengths is about the steps and i read(and hear) quite a bit from people that will go to any lengths, except telling someone else about their past.
they'll go to any lengths except doing a 4th step. except to make amends. basically a "pick and chose" program.
and end up drunk.

a small part of the big book many people miss:

None of us makes a sole vocation of this work, nor do we think its effectiveness would be increased if we did. We feel that elimination of our drinking is but a beginning. A much more important demonstration of our principles lies before us in our respective homes, occupations and affairs. All of us spend much of our spare time in the sort of effort which we are going to describe.
tomsteve
Forums Contributor
 
Posts: 311
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2014 10:25 am

Re: Struggling with taking step 3. Please help.

Postby positrac » Mon May 07, 2018 7:06 am

XXPharaohXx wrote:

My problem is with “and are willing to go to any length” because it sounds like if someone says I have to do 14 meetings a week and have 50 sponsees, and drive an hour to various cities to meet with people, is that “any length”?? And is anything less than that not “any length???”

This is also similar to why I’m struggling with the 3rd step, because “utterly” is very intense.


You know when you were drinking I bet none of this stuff came up about the consequences of drinking except maybe hang overs. You are making an huge deal out of nothing and just relax and get out of your way and let the program assist you. Putting names on things and having expectations or thinking out of the box is not healthy and will or could get you drinking.

The program of AA works and millions of people before know this and millions after you will learn this and that is pretty amazing.
Work hard, stay positive, and get up early. It's the best part of the day.
George Allen, Sr.
User avatar
positrac
Trusted Servant
 
Posts: 1247
Joined: Wed Oct 29, 2014 4:03 am

Re: Struggling with taking step 3. Please help.

Postby PaigeB » Mon May 07, 2018 11:43 am

For a long time I did Steps 1, 2 & 3 on the way to the coffee pot in the mornings... saying the Third Step Prayer from page 63. As a human, my mind is too busy to be completely focused on this 24/7 so I must abandon my desire for perfection of Step 3 and carry on with life.

IT IS important though that I remember to turn to that prayer throughout the day... when I think of it or when I "pause when agitated" (pg 87). This is the very best that I can do. It is a practice for me to turn my will and my life (my thought and my actions) over to my HP many times during the day - and even forget for a day or days at a time. All I can do is return to Step 3 as soon as I remember. The practice makes me get progress but not perfection.

Step 3 is a Contract that I make between me & HP to do the best I can at giving up my troubles and defects and my joy as well ~ to the best of my ability everyday. If you do not abandon perfection you will not get to Step 4.

My sponsor had me read the prayer out of the book and get right to work on Step 4. No bright lights or burning bushes. :wink:
If I'm not able to say how I'm working my program today, then I'm not working my program.
The e-AA Group's 7th Tradition link: www.e-aa.org/group_seventh.php
User avatar
PaigeB
Forums Old Timer
 
Posts: 10649
Joined: Fri Jun 24, 2011 12:28 pm
Location: Iowa USA

Re: Struggling with taking step 3. Please help.

Postby XXPharaohXx » Mon May 07, 2018 12:07 pm

PaigeB wrote:For a long time I did Steps 1, 2 & 3 on the way to the coffee pot in the mornings... saying the Third Step Prayer from page 63. As a human, my mind is too busy to be completely focused on this 24/7 so I must abandon my desire for perfection of Step 3 and carry on with life.

IT IS important though that I remember to turn to that prayer throughout the day... when I think of it or when I "pause when agitated" (pg 87). This is the very best that I can do. It is a practice for me to turn my will and my life (my thought and my actions) over to my HP many times during the day - and even forget for a day or days at a time. All I can do is return to Step 3 as soon as I remember. The practice makes me get progress but not perfection.

Step 3 is a Contract that I make between me & HP to do the best I can at giving up my troubles and defects and my joy as well ~ to the best of my ability everyday. If you do not abandon perfection you will not get to Step 4.

My sponsor had me read the prayer out of the book and get right to work on Step 4. No bright lights or burning bushes. :wink:


Thanks for the support. Makes complete sense. It’s about the best of my ability, not the best of someone else’s idea of my ability or even an unrealistic expectation I have of myself.

Some days just not relapsing and still doing the prayer,journal, and meditation in spite of my horrid depression and cravings is the best I can do; praying and hoping that tomorrow will get better.
XXPharaohXx
Forums Newcomer
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun May 06, 2018 8:55 am

Re: Struggling with taking step 3. Please help.

Postby PaigeB » Tue May 08, 2018 12:28 pm

Page 63
We were now at Step Three. 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!" We thought well before taking this step making sure we were ready; that we could at last abandon ourselves utterly to Him...

Next we launched out on a course of vigorous action, the first step of which is a personal housecleaning...

Launch yourself from the "bridge of reasoning" and land at the desk, pen & paper in hand - GO. Vigorously. Work.

A Vision for You... page 164 ~ the last words of Our Basic Text:
Our book is meant to be suggestive only. We realize we know only a little. God will constantly disclose more to you and to us. Ask Him in your morning meditation what you can do each day for the man who is still sick. The answers will come, if your own house is in order. But obviously you cannot transmit something you haven't got. See to it that your relationship with Him is right, and great events will come to pass for you and countless others. This is the Great Fact for us.

Abandon yourself to God as you understand God. Admit your faults to Him and to your fellows. Clear away the wreckage of your past. Give freely of what you find and join us. We shall be with you in the Fellowship of the Spirit, and you will surely meet some of us as you trudge the Road of Happy Destiny.

May God bless you and keep you - until then.
If I'm not able to say how I'm working my program today, then I'm not working my program.
The e-AA Group's 7th Tradition link: www.e-aa.org/group_seventh.php
User avatar
PaigeB
Forums Old Timer
 
Posts: 10649
Joined: Fri Jun 24, 2011 12:28 pm
Location: Iowa USA

Re: Struggling with taking step 3. Please help.

Postby Blue Moon » Thu May 10, 2018 8:18 pm

XXPharaohXx wrote:My problem is with “and are willing to go to any length”

To what lengths would you have gone to get a drink?

If you were starving or gasping for breath, presumably you would go to any lengths to survive. With alcoholism, we are also talking about life and death. Let's not soft-soap this: if we do nothing to recover from alcoholism, we are going to die and it's not going to be pretty.

Once we fully grasp this as reality, there's no way we wouldn't go to any lengths.

So perhaps alcohol itself hasn't convinced enough of the seriousness of the situation, or maybe you're just not convinced you can get well too. But I have to ask: what do you have to lose? I have a money-back guarantee here: if AA didn't work for me, I would have been right back where I started with everything I walked in here with.

So yes, the Step is asking: are you willing to do whatever it takes? Are you willing to believe in something other than your old self? Are you willing to put others first? Would you accept a phone call at 3am, or having to go out in the middle of winter to help someone just as you would to get a bottle? Are you willing to set aside your own pride and ego just to get well?

Here is the real kicker:

Are you willing to know yourself, good and bad, despite being your own worst enemy today?
Ian S
AKA Blue Moon
User avatar
Blue Moon
Site Admin
 
Posts: 3683
Joined: Wed Jan 23, 2002 2:01 am
Location: New Jersey

Next

Return to The 12 Steps

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests