Step 3 - Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him.
This step is a tricky one for a lot of people. If you’re thinking ok you’ve told me that I’m powerless, my life is unmanageable, and I’m crazy and now you’re starting to talk about God I’m out, you wouldn’t be the first. There’s a lot of people out there, some of us included, that had a lot of preconceptions about God coming into the rooms.
If you’re unsure about a power greater than you we recommend that you read the chapter “We Agnostics” in the Big Book.. There’s a lot great guidance in there. Our experience in reading through those pages in the book is that we all worship at one altar or another, it really just comes down to a decision of what that is going to be.
For some people the concept of God or a power greater than themself is no sweat. Others might have more trouble. Some use clever acronyms like “Good Orderly Direction,” or “Group of Drunks”. It doesn’t really matter what it is as long as it’s not you.
What does turning our will over mean? Self-will can simply be defined as thinking only of ourselves and organizing our lives around our own selfish needs. However, it is one thing to say that we’ve turned our will over. It is another thing to actually conduct ourselves in a way that reflects that we have. Turning our will over means taking consistent action that turns us towards service and away from ourselves.
What does turning my life over mean? We are no longer responsible for outcomes. What a relief! It is often heard in meetings that our Higher Power is responsible for steering the ship. It is our job to row.
What if I’m an atheist? Not many people know that almost half of the first 100 members of Alcoholics Anonymous were atheists. They had no conception of God. However, they were able to believe in a power greater than themselves. If you are an atheist we encourage you to seek out a power greater than yourself. Talk to others and ask them about their higher powers. Ask around if anyone else has a similar experience. We’re sure you will see that many have wrestled with the same question. And by no means do you have to call your Higher Power God.
Another important consideration is that we should understand that Step Three is but a beginning. It is a step that we will return to many times again. At some points we might feel very close to our Higher Power. At others, it is easy to feel less connected. “Turning it over” is not a one and done thing.
So to wrap up, remember that we shouldn’t get hung up on any conceptions of God that we had before coming into the program. Our Higher Power can be one of our understanding. Remember to take action. Faith without works is dead. Know that taking Step Three and connecting with our higher power is going to be a lifelong process. And just keep an open mind.