Step 3 Keep it Simple

The 12 Steps are the AA program of recovery from alcoholism.
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Wiganman
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Step 3 Keep it Simple

Post by Wiganman » Sun Dec 30, 2018 4:02 pm

Step Three: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of god as we understood him.

The dreaded God word. The one we looked at and decided this must be a religious cult. Don’t let this put you off. God is just the Higher Power that you may or may not have defined in step 2. If you haven’t defined it don’t worry as the step is just asking us to make a decision to do something. We are not being asked to take any physical action. I can decide today that I am going shopping next Tuesday. I don't physically do anything today. That is the same with this step, we are making a decision that will physically happen by taking the later steps.

What are we actually deciding to do? We are going to turn our Will (our thoughts) and our lives (actions) over to our Higher Power. Why do we need to do this? Basically, because our own thoughts and actions have brought us to the point were our life is completely unmanageable. This is because we are constantly trying to run the show and control everything. Its important that you discuss and relate to that statement with your sponsor. Look at times in your own life when you have tried to control things and how that has worked out. Are we always seeking to blame others when things don't work out (relate).

Then in the step 3 section of the Big Book is a very significant statement:
"Selfishness - self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles. Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking and self-pity, we step on the toes of our fellows and they retaliate."

This was a revelation to me. For the first time, I am being told that alcohol is not my main problem. That is a symptom of my problem. The main problem is me and my selfish self-centeredness. The way to remove that is to make our decision in step three and carry on with the rest of the steps.

To complete step three you just need to say the step three prayer on page 63 or some alternative prayer. I always suggest that you say the prayer every morning thereafter. Its the start of a daily routine that will build up as you progress through the steps, its a reminder that our main problem is self and that we are going to try and do something about it.

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PaigeB
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Re: Step 3 Keep it Simple

Post by PaigeB » Thu Jan 17, 2019 12:41 pm

its a reminder that our main problem is self and that we are going to try and do something about it.
This is why I start everyday here at the Forums - and have for many years!
Step 6 is "AA's way of stating, the best possible attitude one can take in order to make a beginning on this lifetime job... with most of them we shall have to be content with patient improvement." 12&12 Step Six, p.65

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Daelynn
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Re: Step 3 Keep it Simple

Post by Daelynn » Fri Nov 15, 2019 11:17 am

People who already have a belief in God probably find some alcoholics wrestle with step 3 puzzling. But it isnt easy to make your brain believe something that it doesnt, even in desperation.

I think some doing 12th step work will tell the newcomer that they can choose any higher power, even a door knob , so long as it isnt them. Okay, haha, anything would be better in charge than me, but to be honest, I found that comments like that just added to my confusion. If I turn my life over to this higher power, how will I be sure I am perceiving or interpreting its direction correctly? Who or what is it and how does it speak? Through my sponsor? Through the Big Book? Through random coincidences that occur or people I meet? A warm fuzzy feeling? What is it exactly am I put my trust in?

In regular religious practice, it always struck me that people had an odd habit of believing that they and God coincidentally happen to agree on everything! What are the chances! I'm not being sarcastic - I really dont know how people rely on spiritual insights or messages. Maybe the problem for us is that it sounds so supernatural, so mystical, so subjective. You cant blame alcoholics for questioning something that sounds a bit delusional, since our lives have been ruled by delusions of one kind or another.

The best I can do is borrow my friend Richard's concept of a higher power. If I recall correctly he described it more as a spiritual practice than an entity. I dont know what y'all think of that perspective, but it gave me something to think about it. I guess in the sense that lifting weights makes a person physically stronger and able to do other things, the program of AA made him morally stronger and able to do other things. I hope it works for me. Theres nothing left.

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Brock
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Re: Step 3 Keep it Simple

Post by Brock » Fri Nov 15, 2019 1:11 pm

If I turn my life over to this higher power, how will I be sure I am perceiving or interpreting its direction correctly? Who or what is it and how does it speak? Through my sponsor? Through the Big Book? Through random coincidences that occur or people I meet? A warm fuzzy feeling? What is it exactly am I put my trust in?

I guess in the sense that lifting weights makes a person physically stronger and able to do other things, the program of AA made him morally stronger and able to do other things. I hope it works for me. Theres nothing left.
It helps to remember that the step is worded “made a decision to...” you are not doing it now, you quite rightly point out it’s confusing, and at this early stage we don’t know what to expect. If you make a decision to go on a cruise you haven’t gone, you just made a decision to go, you now need to take certain steps to bring it about, where to go, what line, buy tickets, maybe get passport, etc. Same deal here, maybe just word it in your mind ‘made a decision to try,’ and like the weightlifter example you gave, the other steps of AA is where you find the way to do this successfully.
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."

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