The third step says that if we surrender thinking we have to be in control - and open up to receiving guidance from a Higher Power we will get help and guidance.
|Step 3 - Co-Dependents Anonymous||Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God|
|Step 3 - Discovery and Empowerment||We make a decision to become our authentic Selves and trust in the healing power of Truth.|
|Step 3 - 12 Steps for Kids||I've made a decision to reach out for a Power greater than me to help out.|
|Step 3 - My version||Made a decision to ask the Force to help me align my will, my actions, and my life with the Universal Power.|
When I was in treatment getting sober I was in a city I hadn't lived in for 20 years. I had no car and was going to be living with my brother who lived on the outskirts of the city when I got out of treatment. I was scared that I wasn't going to be able to make it to meetings and went in to talk to my counselor about it. He said, "You ask for rides." "Oh no," I said. "You don't understand I never ask anybody for anything." "Well," he said, "that is what working the third step is all about." "Asking for rides?!?!" I said incredulously.
I thought he was crazy. How can asking for a ride be working the third step?
Well, it is. I needed to learn to ask not only a God I didn't trust for help - but also to ask other people to help me. That was horrible for me. It seemed like such a huge risk. If I asked people for help that would give them a chance to reject me - and I had had enough rejection in my life, thank you very much!
There was a story that I heard around that time. It was about 2 guys who were arguing about rather there was a God or not.
The first one said, "Of course, there is a God. How can you say there is no God."
The second said, "I not only can say it - I can prove it."
"You can prove it?"
"Yes. Years ago I was in a small plane crash in the wilds of Alaska. I was the only survivor and I had a broken leg. There was nothing around for hundreds of miles, so it was only a question of rather I would freeze to death before something ate me. I prayed to God and said 'If there is a God please save me.' And God didn't do anything."
"What do you mean," the first man exclaimed. "You're here and alive aren't you."
"Oh, well some Eskimo came along and saved me. God didn't do anything."
The point: God works through people. We all have had Eskimos in our lives, angels disguised as people. We are not alone in this process - we can't do it alone.
So, I learned to ask for rides. What I know now is that the Universe always responds - just not very often in the way, or at the time I think it is necessary. I need to ask for help and then let go of rather the person I am asking can in fact help me. I need to take the risk and let go of the outcome. What I need will come from someplace. There is a verse in the bible that says: (paraphrased??)
Ask and ye shall receive.
Seek and ye shall find.
Knock and the door shall be opened.
ASK. By asking - either God or another person - I am setting energy in motion in the Universe. Once the energy is in motion it comes back to me at some time from some place. I have to put it out before it will come back. What I sow I reap. The Universes works on the principle of cause and effect. It is very important for me to get proactive in my own life by taking the risk of asking for help - and it is much easier when I can let go of my picture of how, and when, that help is going to manifest.
Of course, it was very important for me to start practicing some discernment in who I was asking. What I told the counselor that day about never asking for help wasn't true. I wouldn't ask for help until I was in very dire straights and then I would ask people who would shame and abuse me for asking. It was very important to start asking safe people when I needed help. People who wouldn't shame and judge me.
A turning point in my recovery came when I realized that the third step is a step of action.
The third step (CoDA version) says: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God. What I learned is that making a decision is not a passive process. I need to make the decision and then take action based on the decision. Turning my will and life over to God does not mean saying "You got it God. I'll hang out here and wait for you to tell me what to do." What it does mean is that I turn that "problem/question" over to The Goddess - and then I let go of focusing time and energy on that one. I keep letting go of the outcome of that situation, and take some positive action on some other things in my life - like taking a walk or cleaning house or whatever.
Working the third step is about taking action. Once I decide to try this new way of life in which I believe there is a Higher Power that Loves me - then I need to start taking action based on that belief. I need to align my will with the will of a Loving Universal Force. There is nothing wrong with will power, or self-will. It is self-will pointed in the wrong direction that is destructive. Once we admit powerlessness out of ego-self then we start accessing power out of Spiritual Self. Spiritual Self is the part of us that knows we are connected to everyone and everything.
I have to use my will power to get myself to meetings, to pray, to take inventory and be honest with myself, to ask for help, to not pick up the next drink, etc., etc. It takes an act of will on my part to get me in motion. Once energy is placed in motion then the Universe responds.
One of the principles behind the third step is taking action. I need to take action that is positive and Loving for myself. That can mean making my bed in the morning or washing the dishes - as well as going to meetings or Spiritual gatherings. Any action that I take that is Loving towards myself is working the third step and aligning my will with the will of a Higher Power, a God-Force, Goddess Energy, Great Spirit that Loves me Unconditionally and always has.
Another principle involved in the first three steps is acceptance. Accepting reality as it is and then surrendering to aligning myself with taking action based on trusting that there is a Universal Force that is in charge of this life business. Any time I take action aligned with recovery - rather that be saying the Serenity Prayer, going to a meeting, looking up a web page about healing, reading a Spiritual book, whatever - I am working the first three steps.
I am not in control of this process and need some help. I choose to believe there is a Spiritual Force at work that is going to support me in learning to Love myself. I am going to take some action that shows that I have faith that I am worthy and Loved by that Force. 1, 2, 3
We work the first three steps anytime we pray / talk to our Higher Power, meditate / listen for messages, or take any action that supports our healing and recovery. Sometimes the action we need to take is to not judge ourselves for eating the cookies because we need some nurturing. We are unconditionally Loved - no matter what we do. Working the steps is about learning to own that in the way we treat our self. That includes accepting that we are human and can not do it perfect.
The Spirit does not come from judgment and shame. By working the steps we are learning how to align ourselves with / become allies with a God/Goddess that is Love and to quit being partners / allies with the disease with it's fear, negativity, and shame.