Step 3: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
The big book of Alcoholics Anonymous says that the first requirement of Step 3 is nothing more than being convinced that any life run on self-will can hardly be a success. It goes on to say that when running on self-will we almost always find ourselves in collision with something or someone even though our motives are good. We have to stop playing the role of CEO in our lives and understand that we are merely subjects of a CEO who knows best. Instead of trying to get what we can out of life, we need to start looking for what we can contribute to life and therein lay the dynamic shift that makes life worth living again.
Step 3, like the majority of the steps, is as simple as it is complex. The founding principle is the mere recognition that we don’t know what is best for us. This sets us up for the idea that someone outside of ourselves might be smarter and wiser and able to steer us into a better life. It is easy for me to look back at some of my grand decisions and ask myself why in the world did I make that decision. I can look back at several cross roads in my life where I was sure that I was making the right decision, but now believe I was throwing opportunity after opportunity away. In fact, most of my big life decisions have been wrong. Moreover, many of my inconsequential decisions have also been wrong. How many times has the decision on where to eat fallen on my shoulders and how many times I have selected the worst place the group could have gone? In each of those circumstances, I had a still small voice prodding me to go somewhere new or that place I went to once and loved, but I was trying to make a decision that was equal in distance and had something for everyone and as a result we all ended up hating our lunch. I didn’t listen to the still, small voice whom I call my Higher Power.
Turning our lives and wills over to the care of God as we understand Him is nothing more than choosing to listen to that still, small voice and choosing to do what it says. Turning our lives and wills over to the care of God as we understand Him is also inviting our Higher Power into our daily decisions, daily struggles and daily mental chatter. It is taking to time to speak to, pray to or meditate on our Higher Power. It is simple and complex at the same time. Simple to do and hard to carry out in all of our affairs. But this one step is the foundation for all the steps to come so take time to get this one down. The good news is there is no right or wrong way to really do Step 3 as it involves inviting in and listening to your Higher Power and trying to follow its lead in all areas of your life.
If you don’t yet have a Higher Power of your understanding you can create your own Higher Power. It is recommended that your Higher Power be an all-knowing entity that loves you and only wants the best for you. This makes it easier to invite Him or Her into your life. If it helps you can think of your Higher Power as an all-knowing mentor who just wants to help you be the best you that you can be. The idea of yielding to someone can be hard for some of us, but I think of it like yielding to a paramedic after a crash. We are flailing around trying to figure out what happened and fighting off anyone who comes near us, but then a smiling paramedic shows up and grabs us and tells us to stop fighting and to stop moving. It’s not safe since we don’t know what might be happening to us on the inside so we stop moving and allow the paramedic to do a scan of our injuries, ask us questions and tell us what he or she recommends next. We allow ourselves to be placed on a board, secured and then placed on a gurney and lifted into an ambulance. We allow that ambulance to take us to a hospital where we are greeted by nurses and an ER doctor who asks us more questions and we allow them to do whatever they think we need because we are operating under the assumption that they are working to make sure we are okay. Working with and yielding to a Higher Power is one in the same. We listen for guidance and follow promptings or proddings knowing that our Higher Power is working to make sure we are okay now and in a future that we cannot see. This is essentially, step 3.