Step 03 – The First Action Step

September 12, 2006

Step 3 from the Big Book of AA 

Made a decision to turn our life and our will over to the care of God as we understood him 

Step 3 from the LDS ARP Manual

Decide to turn your will and your life over to the care of God the Eternal Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.

Step 3 from He Did Deliver Me from Bondage

Made the decision to reconcile ourselves to the will of God, offer our whole souls as an offering unto Him, and trust Him in all things forever. (2 Nephi 10:24; Omni 1:26; Mosiah 3:19; 2 Nephi 4:34)

Step 3 is perhaps the most important of the steps. It is the first step that really gives you a good idea of the commitment involved in recovery. This is of course problematic as, being an addict, commitments are not things that you are used to taking seriously.

Step 3 asks us to commit ourselves wholly to God, to actively seek to do his will. It’s time to accept a hard fact’ you are bad at seeking and doing the Lord’s will. You may fulfill all your callings faithfully; you may never miss a meeting or a Family Home Evening; you may be a stellar example to your friends and neighbors. Nonetheless, if you are acting out in addiction, you are not seeking and doing God’s will. He doesn’t want you to act out.

Step 3 is really the first action step. In step 1 you became aware that your own will, efforts, and power were inadequate. In step 2 you came to believe that God could and would change you (if both of those ideas sound weird to you, go back through steps 1 & 2 again. Lather, rinse, repeat). Now you need to do something with that knowledge. You need to trust God and let him lead you.

That is a scary thing to do.  What Step 3 asks you to do is to turn your whole life over to God.  Most addicts operate under the assumption that God gave us the addiction.  So why would we want to turn our life over to someone who screwed us up so bad.  We’ll get to the source of the addiction later on, but think of it this way: if God gave it, he can take it back.  The only limits on God’s power over usare those we place.  He’ll do anything we ask Him to (fathers and sons, fishes and stones).

I particularly like the AA version of step 3.  You turn your will and your life over to “God as you understand him“.  I love that.  There is an AA saying that, “If the God you have isn’t working for you, fire Him and get a new one”.  Step 3 asks us to not only trust God, but to figure out who he is (making us repeat steps 1 and 2 in the process).  You cannot really do step 3 until you have gone through step 2.

In any case, this step requires listening to God and doing what he says.  Yeah, that’s right.  You are going to be expected to do the very thing that God asks everyone to do, whether or not they are addicts.  So, get ready for some special treatment as we go through step 3.

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3 Responses to “Step 03 – The First Action Step”


  1. Interesting perspective. I like what the twelve steps teach about knowing God.

  2. Leigh Says:

    You’re right. The hard thing is knowing HOW to turn my life over to God. I used to think I did, now I look back and saw that it was a sham. I look at myself now and see myself really lacking in what I thought I had and who I thought I was. Acting out is only a manifestation of my abuse. I finally told myself to stop the abuse. I don’t know really where I am going, I do know that God wants me to go on this trip. I am glad you are doing this website. It’s great to take this journey with someone else. Thanks for your advice.

  3. John Anon Says:

    Thank you for your comments. It has taken me a long time to figure out what I want to say about the third step. It is more complicated than it first appears. I’m glad my feeble efforts are helping.


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