“Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.”
Step Three

I was recently at a small and intimate meeting on Step Three.  As I looked around at the people seated at the tables, I noted that the least amount of time anyone has been in ‘the program’ was probably 8 months; the longest was 24 years. I mention this because I found it very interesting that no matter where our individual journeys have taken us, we’ve all had an experience with “God as we understood Him” that we could share.

A few people mentioned their childhood experiences with religion and how they were “brought up”. One woman said she learned that God was too busy for her and she spent most of her life trying to take care of herself so as not to bother God. Another person learned that God was a punishing God and that he spent most of his life always angry with Him for the bad things that happened to and around him. And still another had a God who he felt expected him to go through certain motions or he would disappoint God.

Then there was the woman who was frustrated at trying to find a God that suited her. She seeks God kind of like the way you play darts — throw something out there and see what sticks. She wants to make a God that agrees with her.  She wants to be her own God.

But as we went around the tables and shared, I saw that all of us, no matter the religion or experiences we’ve had, were willing to try it again. Living with alcoholism had brought each of us to the edge of ourselves. There was nothing left in us to get us through anymore. We had no more ideas, no more words, no more willpower, we could think of nothing we hadn’t tried.

But something in us draws us back to seek the real “Higher Power” and we’re willing to withstand the discomfort of not knowing for the possibility of a great reward we don’t understand. And gradually, together we seem to do what we couldn’t do individually–become stronger by admitting our weaknesses.

Another thing I realized as we discussed this Step was that each of us struggled with a different part of the Step. One may focus on making the decision, another with turning it over (and over and over). And another mentioned it gave her comfort to think that God would “care” for her; she really just wants someone to care for her.

One of my favorite pastimes is looking up the meaning of words in a sentence to help me gain a better grasp of what it is saying to me.  I often read and re-read things and sometimes I get myself confused!

So what I’ve done is run the main words of Step Three through the wringer.  I found this wonderful web site (www.visualthesaurus.com) that creates this fun graph of a word or phrase to help bring the reader to a better understanding.  So, one at a time, I entered the key words of Step 3 into the search box and this is what I gleaned from it:

Made [having succeeded at] a decision [reached a judgment after consideration] to turn my will [capability of conscious choice & decision & intention] and my life [the course of existence; state of living], over [place into the hands or custody], to the care [attention and management implying responsibility for safety] of God [personification of a force] as we understood [comprehended, made sense of] Him.

I chose the words that most closely fit to my understanding of Step 3.

So this exercise helped me learn how to “work” this Step. And since my life before sobriety was anything BUT clear, this helped to clarify in my mind what it is asking of me.

I’ve discovered that Step 3 is a practical process for the beginning of humility in my life.

And after much study, I am convinced that the 12 Steps exist to bring us to the point of humility.