- Step 3

Step 3




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

Step 3

Postby Molly M. » Tue May 08, 2007 1:13 am

Hi Guys:

Once again I'm looking for your thoughts. During last nights BB meeting one of our old-timers made a statement about the 3rd step that suprised me. He said that the 3rd step did not mean actually turning your will and life over to a higher power, rather it just required the willingness to do so because the actual turning over took place in steps 4-7. Especially, 7 when you asked your HP to remove your defects of character. So last night I reread the section in the BB dealing with step 3 and nowhere did it say anything about willingness. However, it did talk about making a decision to turn your life over to you HP and doing so with the 3rd step prayer.

It seems to me that there is a big difference between just being willing and actually surrendering. What am I missing here? Can somebody help me out?

Molly
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Postby Dallas » Tue May 08, 2007 7:34 am

I wonder if this is why Dr. Bob, said something like "Let's keep this simple and not louse it up!" :lol:

I was told to read the black on the white... and to try to avoid reading the words between the lines. :lol: I admit that I don't always do that... :oops: but, I try. :wink:

Maybe I'm missing something, too?

Last time I looked... Step 3, read..."We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understood Him" (page 59 BB).

Then, on page 60 BB... "Being convinced, we were at Step Three, which is that we decided to turn our will and our life over to God as we understood Him. Just what do we mean by that and just what do we do?"

I guess Bill, knew long ago... that today, we would still be asking these questions. :wink: "Just what do we mean by that" -- "and" -- "just what do we do?" :wink:

I've often thought it was interesting... that on page 59, it's "over to the care of God..." and on page 60, it's simply "over to God..." And, on page 59, "we made a decision to" and page 60 "we decided to".

It seems to me... that regardless if it's "over to the care of God"... or "over to God".... it's saying that we've only made a decision to do it. We haven't done it yet... we've only decided to do it. And, even with the prayer of Step 3, I've only made an offer... I haven't carried through on my offer. Which is why in the paragraph following that prayer... on page 63... it reminds me that "This was only a beginning..." And, the paragraph following that one... starts off with "Next we launched out... on a course of vigorous action... the first step... of which... is a personal housecleaning..." :wink:

And, further on.... with the Seventh Step Prayer... (page 76),... the prayer is nothing more than "I am now willing...." :lol:

Right below that paragraph on page 76... I read, "Now we need more action, withouth which we find that "Faith without works is dead." Let's look at Steps Eight and Nine." :lol: :lol: :lol:

For me... it's kind of like me making a decision to go to California, or New York. Nothing has really happened... other than, I have decided to go.

I doubt if I'm alone -- in saying, that "I've made a lot of decisions to do a lot of things.... but, never got any further than making a decision... to do a lot of those things!" :wink:

I "made a decision to go to any lengths..." to get over alcohol. I'm glad that I screwed this one up... and didn't "make a decision to be willing to go to any lengths." For me... that was a big difference. I will go to any lengths... regardless if I'm willing or not! :wink:

This kind of reminds me of all those sincere prayers of mine... kneeling in front of the toilet... puking... and praying "God help me! I promise I won't do this again!!! I'll never drink like this again!!!!" :lol: :lol: I was making an offer to God then... I was making a decision then... :lol: And, when I woke up the next morning... I would launch out on a course of vigorous action!!! It was... Step One... "Have a drink." Step Two "Have a drink" Step Three "Have another drink." :lol:

I was thinking of this earlier today... I could be wrong about this... but, it's only by Step Four... that we start getting those little warnings in the Big Book... of... "If you skip this Step... you'll probably drink!" A theme that seems to carry through from Steps Four through Nine. :lol:

I wondered... "why would Bill wait until Step Four to start giving those warnings about drinking again... and not getting over alcohol"?

I believe... it was probably because Bill already knew... that an alkie who had only taken Steps One, Two and Three... was probably going to drink again anyway... and, that if they were spending too much time on One to Three... without launching out on a course of vigorous action (Step 4), they probably hadn't even made a sincere decision yet... so, why warn them of the obvious?

In the original manuscript for the BB, at about the place where page 60 reads "Being convinced"... was a remark that read something similar to "I've been trying to sell you on three pertinent ideas... and, if you are not convinced by now... you might as well throw this book away... or read it again!" :lol: :lol: :lol:

Regarding surrender... it seems to me, that Step Three, is making the decision on surrender... Steps 4 through 9, is the process of surrendering... and by Step 10 (page 84) "we have ceased fighting..."

At Step One... I raised my white flag of surrender. I admitted defeat. Now, I had to take the actions to fully surrender... or to continue to take a beating with alcohol. Step Three, for me... is like me sitting in a tent, with the other General... signing my agreement to surrender. Steps 4 through 9, is handing over everything I've got... my good, my bad, my weapons of mass destruction.... and my cooperation and participation in making things right!


Dallas
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Postby Molly M. » Tue May 08, 2007 11:30 am

Thanks Dallas :D That helped alot.

It really amazes me how complicated a couple 100 pages can get. :oops:

Molly
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Postby Dallas » Tue May 08, 2007 4:22 pm

I don't think its the pages that are complicated. Most often it seems as though there is a need by complicated people to complicate simple things. :lol: One trait of the alcoholic personality is an overwhelming desire to be unique and different ... :wink: And, we like to prove that we really are different... Yet... our feelings get hurt... when we wonder if other people think that we are as different as we think and feel that we are! :lol:

Another trait is the perception of perfection by imperfect people. :oops: Many of us seem to believe it's more important to be right than to be happy... so we have an overwhelming drive "to be right" -- even when it makes us miserable. And, some of us seem to forever be attempting to drive round pegs into square holes! :lol:

:oops: Did I just make a list of my shortcomings? In front of God and everyone else, too? :oops:

If I did... at least I just got that out of the way ... and now I can go out and see if I can begin to make some changes! :lol:

My sponsor has said to me more than once... "Dallas, you seem to place great emphasis and take great effort towards making changes that will make no difference.... What would your life be like if you used all those efforts to change something that would make a difference in your life?" :wink:

Dallas
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Postby garden variety » Tue May 08, 2007 4:38 pm

Well hello there.

I agree with Dallas. Its supposed to be simple. But its pretty darn typical for an alcoholic to say that even though step three says "Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him" it "doesn't actually mean" what it says, like your friend at the meeting said. Thats why we get sponsors because they need to translate simple english into even simpler english because we got too many dead brain cells. And the cells that arent dead always want to be different.

OK I'll be to the point, be brief, then be seated which is what I'm supposed to do. Three parts to step three was explained to me.

1. "Made a decision" - thats pretty easy - I make a choice.

2. "turn over our will and our lives" - the thing I'm making a choice about which is my will. The choice is what to do with it. Either hold on to it or turn it over. They told me my will is "your thoughts and your actions".

3. "to the care of God as we understood Him" - First they said all I have to have understand is there is a God and its not me. Then they said God becomes my caretaker because Im so messed up from drinking so much that I need a caretaker, and God will always do a better job than me.

The funny thing they told me I always remembered is that this step doesn't have anything to do with Gods will. And if you look at the words of it, they were right. This step tells me what to do with MY will. Gods will is in step eleven.
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Postby Dallas » Tue May 08, 2007 10:07 pm

Thanks for the great message Paul! You explained it very well!

Dallas
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Postby Molly M. » Tue May 08, 2007 11:15 pm

Hmmm!! I think I'm going to send our old-timer the link to this site. :D :D

You guys definitely keep things clear,

Thanks much,
Molly
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Postby Dallas » Wed May 09, 2007 4:37 pm

Hey Molly,

I think I figured out why the Old-timer referred to “willingnessâ€
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Postby Molly M. » Thu May 10, 2007 11:16 am

Hi Dallas;

I know you're really busy, but I'd really appreciate it if you went ahead and added your explanation of the difference. I always learn from the things you write and I do feel as even though I had considered this a fairly straight forward step when I took it and when my sponsees have taken it, there may be some issues around it that I'm missing.

Thanks much,

Molly M.
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Postby Dallas » Thu May 10, 2007 2:28 pm

Hey Molly!!!

I'm sure you're not missing out on anything! What I would have to write on it -- isn't that important! :lol:

I would suggest to just keep it really simple. I think Paul did a real good job with his explanation above -- keeping it simple and to the point.

Somewhere here in the forum, probably here in the 12 Steps section, I think I have already written about the difference in "taking the steps" and "practicing the steps."

The Big Book was written to provide the instructions for "taking certain steps" -- whereas, the 12 & 12 was written for members who had already "taken the steps" -- and, who were interested in knowing more of Bill's thoughts about the steps.

Bill writes about this in the Foreword to the 12 & 12 -- and further re-states that the Big Book is our textbook, and that his writings in the 12 & 12 are not to be considered as a replacement or substitute for the Big Book. This is why, in the 12 & 12, there is such an emphasis on "practicing this step" and in the Big Book, we have wording such as "to take certain steps" and "the steps we took."

Taking the 12 Steps -- is a process that produces specific results -- the Spiritual Awakening -- the psychic change -- the personality change -- the removal of the obsession to drink -- and a return to sanity -- everything that we need to recover.

I like to use the illustration of baking a cake. We are following a recipe -- the ingredients are important and it's important as to the order of the mix of the ingredients, how hot the oven should be, and how long the cake should bake. And, if we follow the recipe -- it doesn't matter who is baking the cake -- the results will be the same.

If we leave the mix sitting out too long -- before baking -- or, if the oven is too hot, or if we leave the cake in the oven too long -- we might have cake at the end, but it will not resemble the cake that the recipe was intended to produce!

Practicing the 12 Steps increases our understanding and effectiveness at living and using the Steps as our daily design for living.... and, they enhance the benefits that we received as a result of taking the Steps -- in addition, to producing their own results -- which come as a direct result of practicing the Steps!

Dallas
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