How It Works, Step 3 - Study Questions

The book Alcoholics Anonymous, aka The Big Book, is the basic text for the AA program of sobriety. "Alcoholics Anonymous" Copyright 2012 AAWS, Inc. All Rights, Reserved. Short excerpts used by permission of AAWS

How It Works, Step 3 - Study Questions

Postby JohnZ » Wed Aug 14, 2013 8:56 am

The chapter "How It Works" deals with both Steps 3 and 4, so there are two set of questions.

STEP 3 - Pages 58-64

1. What does your success depend on? (Pg. 58)

2. If you decide you want it, and are willing to go to any length to get it - what then? (Pg. 58)

3. Is there an easier, softer way? What if I go at it half-heartedly? (Pg. 58-59)

4. What does AA suggest we do? (Pg. 59)

5. What are the conclusions, or pertinent ideas? (Pg. 60)

6. If we are convinced of the pertinent ideas, what do we do then? (Pg. 60)

7. Why is a life run on self-will a failure? (Pg. 60-61)

8. Is the analogy of an actor running the whole show revealing? (Pg. 61-62)

9. What is the root of our trouble? (Pg. 62)

10. Who makes it possible to rid ourselves of this selfishness? (Pg. 62)

11. How does it work? (Pg. 62)

12. What happens when we take this vital step? (Pg. 63)

13. Read the Third Step Prayer. Is it simple, or complicated? (Pg. 63)

14. Should we take this step with someone, or alone? - explain. (Pg.63)
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Re: How It Works, Step 3 - Study Questions

Postby Ibis » Tue Aug 20, 2013 8:06 am

My name is Sherry and I am an alcoholic.

Answers to study questions for Step 3.

1. Success depends upon our capacity to be honest.

2. I am ready to take certain steps.

3. There is no easier softer way for me. "We have tried to hold on to our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely.
Half measures availed us nothing.

4. We are ready to take certain steps. The steps are suggested as a program of recovery.

5. a. We are alcoholic and cannot manage our own lives.
b. Probably no human power could relieve our alocoholism.
c. God could and would if he were sought.

6. If convininced, we are ready to take Step 3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we
understood him.

7. On that basis, we are almost always in collision with something or somebody, even if our motives are good.

8. Our actor is self centered, self seeking.

9. Selfishness-self centeredness is the root of all our trouble. Driven by 100 forms of self delusion, we step on others toes
and they retaliate

10. This only becomes possible if we quit playing God.

11. God is going to be the Principle. We will be his agents. This concept is the KEYSTONE of the new and triumphant arch
through which we passed to new freedom.

12. All sorts of remarkable things follow. We took step 3. We could at last utterly abandon ourselves to him.

13. The 3rd Step prayer is simple. (not easy-by me)

14. It is desirable to take this step with someone else who is understanding of it. But it is better to meet God alone,
than with someone who will misunderstand.

I have answered the questions to the best of my ability. I have prayed the third step prayer alone. I made a third step prayer of
my own, only changing some of the "old English" verbage. That verbage felt phony, even after several times. (I will pray again with
another person.)

Please review my answers and let me know if I need to re-read and re-answer. I am so grateful for your questions.

Thank you for helping me. I have found 3 special people on this forum and more happiness and peace since I started viewing it, than I have felt in a very long time. Without an active spirtitual life, sobriety is too painful for me. Thank you again and I will begin Step 4, after finishing Step 3.
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Re: How It Works, Step 3 - Study Questions

Postby Ibis » Tue Aug 20, 2013 8:25 am

I should have said what I meant. Sobriety is too painful without God, as I understood Him rather than "spirituality". I was very nervous doing this. It feels better now but I am sure there are some mistakes in my answers. I just read it over & over until I was cross -eyed! I have to go to grocery shop (100 mile round trip) but will check back in later this evening. Got a pretty late start on a busy day. I try & cram a lot into one trip since it is such a long drive

Thank you again.
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Re: How It Works, Step 3 - Study Questions

Postby becksdad » Tue Aug 20, 2013 8:58 am

Hi Sherry! It is SO GOOD to read your posts this morning! I can feel the openness, the willingness, and the desire for recovery coming through your words. You know, on first approaching step 3, I did it alone, too. In my own words. But I meant it from my heart, and I later shared it with my sponsor. Then we got on to the rest of the steps, right away.... just as you shared you are doing with your 4th step!

Just wanted to thank you for making my day! Keep doing what you're doing!

Ed
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Re: How It Works, Step 3 - Study Questions

Postby JohnZ » Tue Aug 20, 2013 9:46 am

My name is Sherry and I am an alcoholic.

Answers to study questions for Step 3.

1. Success depends upon our capacity to be honest.


This is a program of honesty, and the first step is admitting that we’re powerless over alcohol. That little, but oftentimes very difficult bit of honesty opens the door to a completely new way of life.

2. I am ready to take certain steps.


That’s right. If we admit we’re alcoholic, what then? We need a plan of action. Our admission is not enough to keep us sober. We need to be willing to roll up our sleeves and do a little work.

3. There is no easier softer way for me. We have tried to hold on to our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely. Half measures availed us nothing.


The “easier, softer way” the Big Book talks about is our old way, our old ideas. Once we start working the program, we may find some of the steps challenging, but the results of working them are powerful and transformative.

4. We are ready to take certain steps. The steps are suggested as a program of recovery.


The program is in the 12 Steps. This may sound obvious, but you’ll hear a lot of mixed messages. If you want sobriety the AA way, everything is about the STEPS!

5. a. We are alcoholic and cannot manage our own lives. b. Probably no human power could relieve our alcoholism. c. God could and would if he were sought.


This sums up the first two steps.

6. If convinced, we are ready to take Step 3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him.


I posted this on another thread today – it seems like we have a few people working this step, which is great! – but one of the important words in this step is “decision”. All we have to do here is be willing to go on a spiritual journey, and that journey consists of the rest of the steps. It’s really just that simple!

7. On that basis, we are almost always in collision with something or somebody, even if our motives are good.


Right. Who wants to live a life of constant collision and stress? It’s a miserable existence. We have to understand that a life run on self-will is the root cause of our failed relationships.

8. Our actor is self centered, self seeking.


That’s right. He wants to run the whole show himself, rather than being a player in the show. He thinks he’s the director, and wants everybody to follow his orders. I did that! For most of my life.

9. Selfishness-self centeredness is the root of all our trouble. Driven by 100 forms of self-delusion, we step on others toes and they retaliate.


I can’t even begin to tell you how many times people retaliated against my selfish behavior. And I deserved every bit of the retaliation. Who was I to think I could control others’ lives? My arrogance was astonishing.

10. This only becomes possible if we quit playing God.


Precisely! When exactly did God put me in charge? Lol – never.

11. God is going to be the Principle. We will be his agents. This concept is the KEYSTONE of the new and triumphant arch through which we passed to new freedom.


All we have to do is take our rightful place. We don’t know what it means yet – we don’t know who we’re going to meet along this journey, or the places we’re going to visit, or the new understandings we’re going to realize. But we’re going to quit playing God, and let Him lead us through the triumphant arch of freedom.

12. All sorts of remarkable things follow. We took step 3. We could at last utterly abandon ourselves to him.


What a sense of relief that we don’t have to rely on our own feeble selves anymore. We can rely on the Highest of Powers to guide our journey.

13. The 3rd Step prayer is simple. (not easy-by me)


The language is particularly archaic here, but the Big Book suggests that you can put it in your own words. It can be as simple as: God, I want to quit directing the show and follow you. Please help me.

14. It is desirable to take this step with someone else who is understanding of it. But it is better to meet God alone, than with someone who will misunderstand.


I did this step alone – I just made the decision to follow my Higher Power and keep working the program. I decided I wanted to stop trying to control everyone around me. Years later, when I had sponsees, one of them suggested that we all say the Third Step Prayer from the Big Book together, and it was a very powerful moment for us all.
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Re: How It Works, Step 3 - Study Questions

Postby Ibis » Tue Aug 20, 2013 5:47 pm

Hi John,

I have not gone to AA meetings since 2002. I was faithful from1998-2002 but I decided the meetings were a waste of my time. At the time, I had a full time job & my husband "retired" in 2004. At that time, we started a business. Anyway, I have spent the last 2 years sitting on my porch smoking & reading while I slowly was going insane. And it was all HIS fault. (NOT) :mrgreen:

Regardless, the truth is I am definitely a hard core drunk & spent 17 years trying EVERYTHING except working the 12 Steps. My first rehab was in 1980 & my first AA meeting on my own was in 1993. I had 2 more "slips" but they didn't last long. I made a decision to start AA again on March 31 & found this forum in July. I totally understand that Step 3 is a decision. I am willing to make that decision & will go to any length to get sobriety! I am finally ready. I understand that it requires maintenance daily of my spiritual condition. I am ready to start cleaning my house. I will share my 3rd Step prayer with my husband. It is the only step I will share with him. After that, Step 4. Wow. I have a lot of work but I really thank you for helping. I thank e-aa for being here. If not for this site, I couldn't do this at the AA in my town. It is watered down right now. There are a couple of "Winter People" I know who will be strong AAs. We have talked some throughout the years but right now, e-aa is where I love.

Sherry
Last edited by Ibis on Wed Aug 21, 2013 5:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How It Works, Step 3 - Study Questions

Postby JohnZ » Tue Aug 20, 2013 5:54 pm

I'm so happy to hear your honesty and willingness Sherry! You've made my day!

I've posted study questions for Step Four, both from the Big Book and the 12&12. I suggest working on those for a while before you actually start the step - it's important to go about it carefully and thoroughly. I can give you some advice on working the step from my own experience, and I'm sure other members will add their own wisdom.

Here's hoping and praying for your continued sobriety!
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Re: How It Works, Step 3 - Study Questions

Postby Ibis » Wed Aug 21, 2013 9:44 am

Thanks John!

Yeah, I have quite a bit of work ahead on Step 4. I want to be very thorough. I will begin today reading from BB first & take notes & then 12x12 with notes. By then, I will have forgotten everything I read & have to start over. :roll:

Thank you & I did see both sets of questions posted. I think this time I will go ahead & print them. I will keep checking in.

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Re: How It Works, Step 3 - Study Questions

Postby Angry1541 » Thu Aug 22, 2013 4:24 pm

JohnZ wrote:The chapter "How It Works" deals with both Steps 3 and 4, so there are two set of questions.

STEP 3 - Pages 58-64

JohnZ wrote:1. What does your success depend on? (Pg. 58)


From the Big Book: The ability to be completely honest.

My take: This is something that I have had to work on. I think it started with being honest with myself about the fact that I am alcoholic. Part of this also includes being honest with myself(and my nearly-spouse) about my feelings...what I am feeling at given moment instead of stuffing it.

JohnZ wrote:2. If you decide you want it, and are willing to go to any length to get it - what then? (Pg. 58)


From the Big Book:Take certain steps.

My take: Which is what I am doing....I think this weekend, at my Saturday meeting, I am also going to ask about getting a sponsor.

JohnZ wrote:3. Is there an easier, softer way? What if I go at it half-heartedly? (Pg. 58-59)


From the Big Book: No, there is no easier, softer way. We'll be right back where we were.

My take: I tried it my way, I tried to do the steps my way and not go to meeting back 15 years ago, and I here I am.

JohnZ wrote:4. What does AA suggest we do? (Pg. 59)


From the Big Book: The steps (I won't list each one).

My take: This time around I am very willing to do these...however much it may be difficult.

JohnZ wrote:5. What are the conclusions, or pertinent ideas? (Pg. 60)


From the Big Book:That are alcoholics, can't manage our own lives, that likely no human power can change that, that a higher power can and will help us if we seek it.

My take: I have to agree with all of these. I am an alcoholic, my life (internally and externally) was a mess, no one could get my to change, but I have found a higher power that IS helping me change...AA.

JohnZ wrote:6. If we are convinced of the pertinent ideas, what do we do then? (Pg. 60)


From the Big Book:Turn our lives and will over to our higher power.

My take: This is exactly what I am doing now. I was going to go to a meeting tonight, but decided to do this instead, which is like a meeting to me. And I need to go Saturday morning in order to get a sponsor and get on with the next two steps.


JohnZ wrote:7. Why is a life run on self-will a failure? (Pg. 60-61)


From the Big Book: In order that life meets our expectation we exert control over things/people and in doing so we are acting selfish -- in my case very angrily.

My take: See answer for the question 8.

JohnZ wrote:8. Is the analogy of an actor running the whole show revealing? (Pg. 61-62)


My take: Very -- it sounds a lot like me, I would get angry when things weren't going my way...even if I didn't admit it. I didn't let things just happen. I rushed things, and when things weren't going according to my plans I got angry.

JohnZ wrote:9. What is the root of our trouble? (Pg. 62)


From the Big Book: Selfishness

My take: I have been very selfish, I know this very well and not just about drinking, but drinking exacerbated my selfishness...in many aspects of my life.

JohnZ wrote:10. Who makes it possible to rid ourselves of this selfishness? (Pg. 62)


From the Big Book: God, or a higher power.

My take: Letting it go...not trying to control, which is in itself a selfish act is something I need to work on..."Let go and Let God".

JohnZ wrote:11. How does it work? (Pg. 62)


From the Big Book: We quit trying to run the show, quit trying to play god.

My take: I still struggle with this, when something is wrong with my fiancee, like her bad back flares up, I always try to offer suggestions on how to make it better...or if she's bored I try to offer things that will entertain her...again, playing God...that's hers to do and just a reflection of my selfishness in wanting her to be in a better mood because I don't want to have to deal with her in a bad mood.

JohnZ wrote:12. What happens when we take this vital step? (Pg. 63)


From the Big Book: We lost our fear, became less interested in ourselves, and seeing what we can add to life.

My take: I think I am teetering on this...some days I feel this and other's I don't....but I think that's probably normal.

JohnZ wrote:13. Read the Third Step Prayer. Is it simple, or complicated? (Pg. 63)


From the Big Book: N/A

My take: It's simple, but I think practicing it everyday is a little more complicated. Letting go of the ego is something people strive to accomplish, I know this step isn't about perfection, but the willingness to try and keep trying to let go of the self and accept power from outside the 'self".

JohnZ wrote:14. Should we take this step with someone, or alone? - explain. (Pg.63)


From the Big Book: Alone, so as not to create any misunderstandings.

My take: I do not ask anyone to do any of these steps with me. They are mine to do and mine to own.
~Chris

Just for today...

I am going to stay sober.
I am going to a meeting.
I am going smile and laugh.
I am going to refrain from taking my anger out on other people.
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Re: How It Works, Step 3 - Study Questions

Postby JohnZ » Thu Aug 22, 2013 5:08 pm

1. What does your success depend on? (Pg. 58)
From the Big Book: The ability to be completely honest.
My take: This is something that I have had to work on. I think it started with being honest with myself about the fact that I am alcoholic. Part of this also includes being honest with myself (and my nearly-spouse) about my feelings...what I am feeling at given moment instead of stuffing it.

The ability to be completely honest usually takes some practice for alcoholics, and that’s why there are still nine steps to go. But again, we have to be willing to make a start. Even a few years into my sobriety, I found myself engaging in dishonest behavior, but repeated practice of the maintenance steps (10 and 11) helped me a lot. Lying is a deep-seated behavior for addicts, and it requires some serious work to undo.
2. If you decide you want it, and are willing to go to any length to get it - what then? (Pg. 58)
From the Big Book: Take certain steps.
My take: Which is what I am doing....I think this weekend, at my Saturday meeting, I am also going to ask about getting a sponsor.

I think that’s a great idea. Sponsorship is an important part of AA. Don’t be timid about firing a sponsor if he isn’t giving you enough program. I’ve had to do it several times – not all sponsors are created equal. But at the same time, give him enough of a chance to know if you’re suitable for each other.
3. Is there an easier, softer way? What if I go at it half-heartedly? (Pg. 58-59)
From the Big Book: No, there is no easier, softer way. We'll be right back where we were.
My take: I tried it my way, I tried to do the steps my way and not go to meeting back 15 years ago, and I here I am.

Yeah, I had a similar experience. I look back on it think how arrogant I was to be completely unwilling to take anybody’s advice. I mean, you couldn’t tell me ANYTHING, lol.
4. What does AA suggest we do? (Pg. 59)
From the Big Book: The steps (I won't list each one).
My take: This time around I am very willing to do these...however much it may be difficult.

I discovered that most of the difficulty was in my imagination. Once I made a start, each of the steps just naturally progressed, with the help of my Higher Power, my sponsor, and the Fellowship. The reason I thought they would be so difficult is because I was approaching them with an alcoholic mindset: I had to do this all by myself. But that’s not how AA works. We are never alone in the Fellowship – help is always available if we ask for it.
5. What are the conclusions, or pertinent ideas? (Pg. 60)
From the Big Book: That are alcoholics, can't manage our own lives, that likely no human power can change that, that a higher power can and will help us if we seek it.
My take: I have to agree with all of these. I am an alcoholic, my life (internally and externally) was a mess, no one could get me to change, but I have found a higher power that IS helping me change...AA.

Another member of this forum (I forget who) made a great analogy. Suppose you have to move a table that’s too heavy for one person to lift. If we all gather around it, we move it easily. Together, we are a power greater than any one individual. The Fellowship works as a Higher Power.
6. If we are convinced of the pertinent ideas, what do we do then? (Pg. 60)
From the Big Book: Turn our lives and will over to our higher power.
My take: This is exactly what I am doing now. I was going to go to a meeting tonight, but decided to do this instead, which is like a meeting to me. And I need to go Saturday morning in order to get a sponsor and get on with the next two steps.

You’ll need someone to talk to when you do the Fifth Step, so you might want to read ahead in the BB and 12&12 to examine the advice they give on selecting a 5th Step partner. It doesn’t have to be an AA sponsor, but frequently it is. I’ll post the 5th Step study questions in a bit.

to be continued...
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Re: How It Works, Step 3 - Study Questions

Postby JohnZ » Thu Aug 22, 2013 5:44 pm

7. Why is a life run on self-will a failure? (Pg. 60-61)
From the Big Book: In order that life meets our expectation we exert control over things/people and in doing so we are acting selfish -- in my case very angrily.
My take: See answer for the question 8.
8. Is the analogy of an actor running the whole show revealing? (Pg. 61-62)
My take: Very -- it sounds a lot like me, I would get angry when things weren't going my way...even if I didn't admit it. I didn't let things just happen. I rushed things, and when things weren't going according to my plans I got angry.

We start getting into some self-examination with these paragraphs. What they’re giving us is a reason for turning our will and life over to a Higher Power. Did our control-freak behavior work for us? It sure as hell didn’t work for me!
9. What is the root of our trouble? (Pg. 62)
From the Big Book: Selfishness
My take: I have been very selfish, I know this very well and not just about drinking, but drinking exacerbated my selfishness...in many aspects of my life.

You’ll hear a phrase in the rooms that sums up our alcoholic attitudes: We want what we want, and we want it now!
10. Who makes it possible to rid ourselves of this selfishness? (Pg. 62)
From the Big Book: God, or a higher power.
My take: Letting it go...not trying to control, which is in itself a selfish act is something I need to work on..."Let go and Let God".

Right. This becomes increasingly possible with the later steps. Right now, all we have to do is make a decision to set aside our egotism and look for direction from our Higher Power. We won’t do it perfectly at the start – in fact, we’ll stumble and blunder. We won’t ever do it perfectly, as a matter of fact. We do not claim spiritual perfection, but spiritual progress.
11. How does it work? (Pg. 62)
From the Big Book: We quit trying to run the show, quit trying to play god.
My take: I still struggle with this, when something is wrong with my fiancee, like her bad back flares up, I always try to offer suggestions on how to make it better...or if she's bored I try to offer things that will entertain her...again, playing God...that's hers to do and just a reflection of my selfishness in wanting her to be in a better mood because I don't want to have to deal with her in a bad mood.

This idea of letting go of controlling and manipulating others is addressed more fully in Steps Four through Seven. In Step Three, we just need to recognize the problem and be willing to continue working on it.
12. What happens when we take this vital step? (Pg. 63)
From the Big Book: We lost our fear, became less interested in ourselves, and seeing what we can add to life.
My take: I think I am teetering on this...some days I feel this and other's I don't....but I think that's probably normal.

Yes. Like I said, you’ve got nine steps to go. Don’t beat yourself up about inconsistency right now – you didn’t arrive in the rooms of AA overnight, and your recovery won’t happen overnight either. Patient progress!
13. Read the Third Step Prayer. Is it simple, or complicated? (Pg. 63)
From the Big Book: N/A
My take: It's simple, but I think practicing it everyday is a little more complicated. Letting go of the ego is something people strive to accomplish, I know this step isn't about perfection, but the willingness to try and keep trying to let go of the self and accept power from outside the 'self".

Steps 10 and 11 incorporate the discipline necessary to keep it up – more on those when we get there.
14. Should we take this step with someone, or alone? - explain. (Pg.63)
From the Big Book: Alone, so as not to create any misunderstandings.
My take: I do not ask anyone to do any of these steps with me. They are mine to do and mine to own.

I took this step alone as well – I just didn’t have anyone I could trust at the time, and I felt I needed to keep moving forward, even if I didn’t fully understand the step.
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Re: How It Works, Step 3 - Study Questions

Postby D'oh » Sun Jul 26, 2015 2:25 pm

My Sponsor crossed out Rarely and wrote Never in it's place 20 sum years ago.

Honesty is a huge part!
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Re: How It Works, Step 3 - Study Questions

Postby avaneesh912 » Mon Jan 07, 2019 4:46 am

When we sincerely took such a position, all sorts of remarkable things followed.

We had a new Employer. Being all powerful, He provided what we needed, if we kept close to Him and performed His work well.

Established on such a footing we became less and less interested in ourselves, our own little plans and designs. More and more we became interested in seeing what we could contribute to life.

As we felt new power flow in, as we enjoyed peace of mind, as we discovered we could face life successfully, as we became conscious of His presence, we began to lose our fear of today, tomorrow or the hereafter.

We were reborn.

***----------------------****

Thought I will revisit the segment today.
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)
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