Step 3 of the 12 Steps is all about Surrendering to your Higher Power.
We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him
During active addiction we were incapable of making healthy decisions for ourselves. Either we couldn’t make decisions and everything we did was just ruled by our need to use or if we did make any decisions we made bad choices.
Step 3 is a process and does not mean that we suddenly start living our lives in a completely different way. Each day we make the decision to hand our will and our lives over to the care of our Higher Power. This is a very important point to highlight. We are allowing someone or something else to care for us. This does not mean that we simply let someone or something else control us and make all of our decisions for us. Nor do we become mindless robots that just follow directions.
We are allowing someone or something else to care for us. We are choosing to believe that our Higher Power will be able to make better decisions for us. We pray for the knowledge of God’s will instead of running rampant on our own self will.
Until this time we have probably been making all our decisions based entirely on our own self will. As we look back on our lives we will realise that running on self will is exactly what got us into this mess in the first place. We cannot do this on our own and we are incapable of making healthy decisions on our own.
Spiritual Principles of Step 3:
- Surrender: we need to do this on a constant basis, when things are going well and when things are going badly
- Willingness: we usually feel most willing after we have surrendered
- Hope, Faith & Trust: there is a progression from Hope to Faith to Trust in the third step
This step is very important to me personally. Although I have been in recovery for a number of years I constantly find myself in battle with my self will. I will be happily living my life and suddenly start encountering difficulties. When I go back to basics and start looking at what is going on in my life I find that I have been taking back my self will instead of trying to implement God’s will in my life. I then once again surrender myself to the program and to God’s will and find suddenly all the little bumps along the road start smoothing out. Life becomes easier again.
I won’t lie, there are plenty of times that there is a battle within me and I struggle to let go of my self will. It is when I finally let go and let God that peace and serenity once again settles over me.
The serenity prayer that we say at every meeting is beautiful and helps me find my path when I am struggling and don’t know which way to turn:
God, Grant me the Serenity to Accept the Things I cannot Change,
The Courage to Change the Things I Can,
And The Wisdom to Know the Difference.
This prayer always helps me to find the strength to surrender to my Higher Power and to understand what is God’s will and what is my self will.
I heard a little story a while back that really hits home for me. An old Cherokee tells his grandson that there are two wolves constantly fighting inside us. One is Good and the other is Evil. The boy asks he grandfather which wolf wins and his grandfather answers: The one that you feed the most.
If I don’t continuously check myself and ask whether I am running on self will or God’s will then my addiction will run riot and I will relapse. This is the reason that once the 12 steps has been completed I simply start them over again. I will be doing this for the rest of my life, it keeps me healthy and it keeps me clean.
I would love to hear your thoughts, please leave a comment!