Our lives are full of daily decisions – some critical, some not so critical. Some have lasting impacts. Some don’t. Each are treated differently depending on the situation and various other factors while other decisions are instinctual. For example, I discovered that I always put my left leg into my pants first when I get dressed. This is not a critical decision or anything that I give a lot of thought to. But my life first thing in the morning while getting dressed would feel quite out of place if I, all of a sudden, decided to start putting my right leg in first. In my drinking, I admit that I made a lot of important decisions without careful thought. Decisions such as drinking and driving. Most of the time, when drinking, my decisions were poor ones.
Step 3 – “Made a decision to turn our will and our lives our to the care of God as we understood Him”
There is a reason the steps are in the order that they are. I’ve heard the first three steps summarized as:
- I can’t.
- He can.
- I think I’ll let Him.
By the time I got to step three, I thought I could do this sobriety thing standing on my head. But then – the vicious cycle… I relapsed. You see it all the time in the Program. People work steps 1-3 then go back out and do some field research. So now, back to the drawing board. What was I missing? Well – it was all laid out clearly in the Big Book:
“The first requirement is that we be convinced that any life run on self-will can hardly be a success.” – Big Book Page 60
My will has always gotten me into trouble. Because my will involves terrible decisions. God’s will, on the other hand, is perfect. And I don’t always know what God’s will is. But, I do know what God’s will ISN’T. It isn’t getting drunk at all the wrong times. It isn’t neglecting my family. It isn’t running from my responsibilities. It isn’t getting behind the wheel of a vehicle and putting others’ lives in danger. I find that if I quit doing my will and start praying for and doing God’s will, things slowly start to get better. But, it all starts with that DAILY decision.
“This is the how and why of it. First of all, we had to quit playing God. It didn’t work. Next, we decided that hereafter in this drama of life, God was going to be our Director. He is the Principal; we are His agents. He is the Father, and we are His children. Most good ideas are simple, and this concept was the keystone of the new and triumphant arch through which we passed to freedom.” – Big Book Page 62
Keeping God’s will first is not always easy, especially because He gave us free will. The will to choose. It takes practice and that daily decision. The turning point in this step, for me, was praying the Third Step Prayer with my sponsor EVERY morning. I don’t just memorize and recite it either. I meditate on what it is that I am asking for and make sure that I mean it. Saying this prayer daily has helped with that conscious contact and helps put Him at the focus of my morning.
“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.” – Big Book Page 63