The realization that our thoughts and actions have become insane leads us to Step 3. At first this step looks like a daunting task. A closer look brings us to the realization that it is simply a decision. A very large and critical step to working the program. The belief that there is a Higher Power that could restore us to sanity is also crucial at this junction. The Higher Power is referred to as God in Step 3. Remember that this is your own conception of God as you understand Him.
The Step 3 decision is usually made with our sponsor, clergy person or close-mouthed friend. Just what are we “turning over” as the step says? Well numerous things are being given over to God as we have proved ourselves incapable of managing our own lives. The step suggests a prayer found in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous page 63. It also states that this prayer or a similar one stressing the same idea must be said aloud. Let me stress again that this is the God of your understanding that you are praying to.
We turn over our thoughts, actions, desires, motives, values, principles, ambitions, fears, dreams, hopes, failures, vocation, relationships, and our addiction to just mention a few things. More may be revealed to you and you can voice these additional items in your 3rd Step prayer. In the beginning of my sobriety, I was fearful that if I turned my life over to a Higher Power, I would be forced to wear a sandwich sign and stand on a busy corner, ringing a bell while spouting spiritual messages. After I was finished with that, I just knew I would be sent to Africa as a missionary! Ah the mind of a newcomer to the program is a very active thing. Needless to say, these were unfounded fears. AA does not have missionaries or send people to ring bells on street corners. Step 3 is simply a decision. Mind you it is a very large and vital decision to our continued sobriety.
Basically, after we turn all these things over to our Higher Power, we may feel some elation. It feels like we have “dropped the rock.” We have been carrying around a sack of fears, resentments, selfishness and self-centeredness for a long time. This sack just keeps getting heavier and heavier until we are no longer able to carry it. That it why we hand over the sack to our Higher Power.
Step 3 is simply a decision to proceed with the rest of the steps. After realizing some objectionable things in our life, we become willing to face and be rid of them. The false persona we have created and presented to the world has come crumbling down and we are beginning to become the person that we were created to be. We feel very hopeful at this point that this program will work for us. We have seen many people in 12 Step meetings that appear to be wonderful people after taking the steps. Do we want what they have? At this point surely, we do. Step 3 is a decision to continue on with Step 4 knowing we are being accompanied by our higher power into this next step. In Step 4 we begin to look at our selfishness and self-centeredness which is blocking us from God and the sunlight of the spirit. We are able to digest big chunks of truth about ourselves with the help of our sponsor and higher power. We are pursuing the goals of being happy, joyous and free from the bondage of alcoholism. It works!!! It really does!!!