Step 3 is my favorite step. I love all of the steps and the gifts I’ve received from them but there is something truly unique about the third step. It was also my biggest roadblock when I first recovered. Turning my will and my life over to God as I understood him felt like I was being asked to never make a decision for myself ever again. I felt as if I was being humiliated instead of humbled. I was told to rewrite the actor’s scenario (Big Book Pages 60-63) in first person and read it aloud to 5 different people. After I read it to one of my dear friends, he reflected that the actor’s scenario is the only part in the big book where it says explicitly that we are victims.
I was rocked to the core by the notion that I had been bumbling through life, harming myself and others, seemingly unaware of the futility of my selfishness and self-seeking actions because I really thought I was making things better. I don’t believe that I was seeking to harm others intentionally, I was simply doing what I felt I needed to do to get satisfaction, happiness and security out of this world. Truthfully, most people I have spoken to report the same. I didn’t mean to create chaos and confusion but wherever I went, that’s what happened. If my intentions were malicious or benevolent, the result was often the same. People were left resentful, confused, angry or sad. I would end up cursing them, asking myself why they didn’t just go along with my plans. Why didn’t they care enough to understand what I wanted? Did they not understand how much better everything would be if they just followed my script?
The irony of this is how awful I felt about myself and how ill-equipped I was to handle even the most basic tasks. I am the classic alcoholic who believed I could solve all of humanity’s problems in a day but couldn’t even manage to take a shower in the morning. Once I had a thorough understanding of Step One and my powerlessness and the unmanageability of my life as I had been living it, I was eager to make the decision to turn my will and my life over to my Higher Power. It was simply a matter of learning how to do that. In the beginning, this looked like starting my day with meditation and handwriting the 3rd and 7th step prayers out every morning. I would call so many wise, sober women to seek their counsel whenever I felt the twinge of severe urgency which I now identify as my own will. I would go to meetings and share with brutal honesty, I learned to cry in front of people. I asked God to remove negative thinking and show me who God would have me be & ask to be of service constantly. I still do these things. I continue to learn new ways of connecting to God and my fellows.
What resulted was I was continuously placed in a position where I didn’t have to be right all the time, where I allowed myself to trust others and trust God to not pull the rug out from under me. Early sobriety was some of the hardest times of my life but looking back, I know that I have a faith that continues to grow and will carry me through anything I may face later down the road. Most happily, I can report that I no longer create chaos and confusion in the lives of people I am around. I don’t need to react to everything, nor do I want to. I can show love when I want to and communicate anger when I need to. My life isn’t a constant stream of drama, loss and hurt anymore. While I used to have such fear about “turning my life over”, I have security and safety knowing I will be ok no matter what. And that is the only thing I really wanted all along.