- Trouble With 3rd Step

Trouble With 3rd Step




12 Steps: Discussions related to the 12 Steps and using them as a treatment to recover from alcohol and drug addiction.

The Third Step is not about figuring out God

Postby Jim W » Mon Jan 07, 2008 9:11 pm

The Third Step is not about figuring out what God is. For that matter, neither is the Second Step. God either is or God isn't. God is either everything or God is nothing. In the terms terms laid out- God is the director, God is the principal I am the agent, God is the father I am the child- do not define God to me, but they do define the relationship.

As far as having trouble with the Third Step, I would say that anyone having trouble with the Third Step, or any other of the following steps is not having trouble with the Third Step. Go back to the Second Step. It's about willingness or not even necessarily about belief, if that's a problem, go back to the First Step. There's a reservation somewhere, because if you've experienced the First Step, there's nowhere else to go but to the Second Step and so on. Alcohol isn't called the Great Persuader for nothing.

It says to think well before we take this step, making sure we are ready to utterly abandon ourselves. Doesn't leave a lot of room for reservation, does it? Don't take it lightly, it is a helluva committment.

There is a story about a chicken and a pig walking down this road one morning. They came by this big church with a bunch of people out front. On the church was a banner that said "Clothe the naked, Shelter the homeless, Feed the hungry." The chicken says to the pig "We should do something about this hunger problem." The pig replies "What are we gonna do about a hunger problem?" The chicken says "Let's feed the m breakfast. Let's give them ham and eggs." To which the pig replies "Wait a second! For you that is a sinple decision to lay an egg. For me that is a life or death committment!" Moral of the story-am I going to be the chicken or the pig?

If the Third Step is taken, but I stop, it goes on without me. If I take the Third Step and don't launch out on a course of action beginning with inventory, it will eat me up. I can either write it down in blac & white or watch it play out in my life in living color.
Jim W
 
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Postby garden variety » Tue Jan 08, 2008 10:28 am

I tend to lean along the lines with Jim on this. Well with one exception. I'm learning that when folks go back out or have trouble with the steps, it usually seems to be trouble with step 1, which Jim said requires willingness. I say getting the first step done right also requires honesty and openmidndedness, and as Bill Wilson says, humility too.

But here's where I agree with Jim on step 3. If I haven't got step 2 down, there's no way I can move on. And he's also right about "being ready" because that is purposely mentioned and talked about in the book. The bottom line is if I haven't "come to believe that" in step 2, there's no way I can turn over my will and my life to that which I haven't come to believe even exists.

There is "action, action, and more action" in each step. I have to take an action in step 2 that I need to move on to step 3. That action is "becoming convinced". If I use a single word, I can replace "believe" with the word "TRUST". The only way I can do step 3 is if I TRUST the fact that a Higher Power exists and can relieve me of my alcoholism. That is not saying a "I believe IN".

Step 3 means to me, like Jim said, I don't have any reservations about a Higher Power even if I don't understand Him. So I guess what I'm saying is that step 2 teaches me to TRUST that a Power is there that can relieve my alcoholism. Step 3 teaches me to TRUST the process of the 12 steps. That trust means that I don't try to cram my EGO into the process by putting my limitations or false ideas in front of the process which has already been laid down by those 100 drunks in 1939. In other words NO CAFTETERIA STYLE program!
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Postby dahlgren » Tue Jan 08, 2008 11:39 am

Hi Jim, I'm Mike an alcoholic and addict.

I had to go back to the very beginning of this thread to figure out how the 3rd Step got involved here so now this is making much more sense to me.
When I first responded to this thread it was to a post by flyfisherman so I may have gotten a bit off track with my remarks.

This is only my humble opinion and no more and what has happened to and worked for me.

In order for me to work the 2nd Step I had to figure out for ME what my concept of a Higher Power was and needed to be something that I could accept, embrace and work with. Once doing so I will agree that it should be a simple task of proceeding with the remainder of the Steps, simple not to be confused with easy.

As I had stated earlier I have a strong opinion of how successful a person can be in this program without a spiritual foundation, not to be confused with religious. Going back to the very beginning of this thread I agree wholeheartedly with anniemac that this is a very personal process and decision that we each have to make for ourselves. Moreover one's concept of a Higher Power does not require me to understand fully that Higher Power all it requires of me is acceptance.

Acceptance of a Higher Power to me is the equivalent of "blind faith" since I can no more understand my Higher Power than I can understand how electricity really works. Can any of us honestly state that we know how electricity works? Sure we know how to make it work for us, we've figured out how to control it to a certain extent but there isn't a person on the planet that can tell you at it's base how electricity works. Yet most everyone puts their faith into it everytime you flip that light switch at home, we all take it for granted every day of our lives that it will be there ready for us at our beck and call. That to me is an example of blind faith in something we can only have a concept of without full understanding of.

So why did I fight for years something that could make my life just as rich and rewarding as electricity does? Well for me I think it was because I hated like the devil the idea of giving MY will up and turning my fate over to the hands of someone or something else. I believe it's inherent in all human beings, due to free will that my Higher Power gave me, that I fight giving up that free will. Even in the face of all the evidence I will ever need that I abused my free will over and over and over.....

Free will for me bacame a desire and obsession to "freely use" anyone or anything to feed my disease. In the process I had no more free will than someone locked behind bars, I was ruled by my addiction which at that time was my higher power.

Enter the first Step admitting my powerlessness and the unmanageability of my life. That was easy for me to do when I honestly looked at the wreckage of my life up to that point.

The 2nd Step is what took real work and brutal honesty from myself along with a process of building and forming an idea of my Higher Power whom I choose to call God. My initial concept is one which has evolved over the years but the one thing that has not changed is my belief in and acceptance of God, for me.

It's a pretty amazing thing to me, these 12 Steps. When studied closely they make a great deal of sense to me being written in the order which they were, OVER 60 YEARS AGO. Now I have to be honest and admit here, that in itself is a pretty hard concept for me to wrap my head around at times but I learned years ago not to question that success in my life. Everything I need to know is in "How it Works" and although I looked for many a day for something that would tell me "why it works", I never found it. I finally came to believe, why it works is not something I need to know today.

Keep coming back please, you'll never know how much you help me.

In love and recovery,
Mike
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Postby littlemiss » Tue Jan 08, 2008 6:38 pm

Funny, I was just reading about the 3rd Step last night in this book (& Steps 1 & 2 & how they affect each other):
A Program for You ### Guide to the Big Book's Design for Living (includes 3rd & 4th edition page references) - HAZELDEN

This book thoroughly explains/breaks the steps down for me ..it's just wonderful--can't recommend it enough...:) 8)
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The deal is there is no more deals

Postby Jim W » Tue Jan 08, 2008 7:27 pm

The thing to understand is that once the 3rd Step is taken, the deal is that there are no more deals. My life is no longer any of my business. My conduct is my business, but my life isn't. I am go where ever God takes me.

I could get rich, or stay poor. I could have a great job or lose the one I have. I could be healthy or get sick, marry the girl of my dreams or stay a bachelor. I could win the loteery (I don't that will happen, since to win I have to buy tickets), I could lose everything I have. I could sent to wherever God wants to send me, maybe some dusty little town in the middle of no where and live in a room with a light bulb hanging down from the ceiling and work with the one alcoholic in that town.

What I do know is that whatever God has in mind for me is always better than what I had in mind for me.
Jim
Jim W
 
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Re: The deal is there is no more deals

Postby Tim » Wed Jan 09, 2008 11:19 am

Jim W wrote:The thing to understand is that once the 3rd Step is taken, the deal is that there are no more deals. My life is no longer any of my business. My conduct is my business, but my life isn't. I am go where ever God takes me.

I could get rich, or stay poor. I could have a great job or lose the one I have. I could be healthy or get sick, marry the girl of my dreams or stay a bachelor. I could win the loteery (I don't that will happen, since to win I have to buy tickets), I could lose everything I have. I could sent to wherever God wants to send me, maybe some dusty little town in the middle of no where and live in a room with a light bulb hanging down from the ceiling and work with the one alcoholic in that town.

What I do know is that whatever God has in mind for me is always better than what I had in mind for me.
Jim


Thanks for your post, Jim. It reminded me of what it means that my life is not my business now, but God's business. Last fall I lost my job and the year before that I had surgery for prostate cancer. This year my wife was diagnosed with a serious health condition.

An old wag in AA said, 'In the end everything will be ok. If everything is not ok, it's not the end yet'
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Postby Tim » Wed Jan 09, 2008 11:35 am

dahlgren wrote: TOLERANCE

The most loveable quality any one can possess is tolerance.
It is the vision that enables one to see things from another's viewpoint.
It is the generosity that concedes to others the right
to their own opinion and their own peculiarities.
It is the bigness that enables us to let people be happy
in their own way, instead of our way.


Mike--I ran across the Tolerance quote in the Grapevine, loved it, wrote it out, and carry it in my wallet to pull out from time to time as a reminder.It helps me to wear the world easier and to focus on my own inventory, especially when the gravitational pull is to take someone else's.

It is also important for me to remember that tolerance does not imply approval.
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Re: The deal is there is no more deals

Postby Jim W » Wed Jan 09, 2008 9:36 pm

Tim wrote:
Jim W wrote:The thing to understand is that once the 3rd Step is taken, the deal is that there are no more deals. My life is no longer any of my business. My conduct is my business, but my life isn't. I am go where ever God takes me.

I could get rich, or stay poor. I could have a great job or lose the one I have. I could be healthy or get sick, marry the girl of my dreams or stay a bachelor. I could win the loteery (I don't that will happen, since to win I have to buy tickets), I could lose everything I have. I could sent to wherever God wants to send me, maybe some dusty little town in the middle of no where and live in a room with a light bulb hanging down from the ceiling and work with the one alcoholic in that town.

What I do know is that whatever God has in mind for me is always better than what I had in mind for me.
Jim


Thanks for your post, Jim. It reminded me of what it means that my life is not my business now, but God's business. Last fall I lost my job and the year before that I had surgery for prostate cancer. This year my wife was diagnosed with a serious health condition.

An old wag in AA said, 'In the end everything will be ok. If everything is not ok, it's not the end yet'


Tim-hope you are well and that things with your wife get better.

I have been through a lot in the nearly seventeen years I've been sober. No more so than any one else, certainly not as serious as what you've mentioned. I've lost a few jobs during that time.

When I was about fourteen months sober, I hurt myself at work. I didn't work for next almost three years. I lived on little or nothing much of that time. I also got well during that time-God gave me the time.

When I was seven years sober, my dad passed away. I'm grateful that I had a chance to square things with him and other than a normal grieving, there were no loose ends.

Between eleven and fourteen years sober I went into a spiritual desert, a dark night of the soul that was at times nearly unbearable. Suicide crossed my mind. I'm grateful for that experience. It softened my heart.

I am currently in another period of transition-not sure where it will take me yet, and it is uncomfortable, but because of past experience, it is not nearly as scary as before.
Jim
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Re: The deal is there is no more deals

Postby garden variety » Thu Jan 10, 2008 12:51 am

Jim W wrote:Between eleven and fourteen years sober I went into a spiritual desert, a dark night of the soul that was at times nearly unbearable.


Wow Jim! You definitely got the blessing there and came out on the other side realizing what you got. I'm totally impressed - thanks so much for sharing something that deep and personal. I know what you're talking about.

Good for you my friend! May God always bless you. Thanks for helping me!

Paul
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Postby PatchesPal » Thu Jan 10, 2008 2:51 am

It appears that our friend ScaredSober came and went in a day. However, he started a long-lived post. I hope he is OK and has resolved his difficulty with the 3rd step.

For myself, I was convinced of the ABC's from page 60.

When I found my self in this situation Step 3 became very simple.
Where else did I have to turn?

I might note that the chapter is entitled --We Agnostics, not Those Agnostics. A fellow at a meeting explained agnosticism to me as a state of being without direct personal experience of the existence of God. I have found that working the steps produces the direct personal experiences needed to overcome my agnosticism.
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