- Working on Step 3?

Working on Step 3?




Discussions related to 12 Step Recovery and Treatment

Working on Step 3?

Postby Dallas » Thu Aug 09, 2012 1:50 am

As a newcomer, I looked at turning my will and life over to God, as a one-time event. Just take the 3rd Step. Little did I realize -- turning my will and life over to God, is a never-ending process, that must be continuously, moment-by-moment, every single day.

Now, after 9401 days, back to back days, of being sober -- when I hear a newcomer (like I was and like I did) tell me that they are "working on Step 3" it tells me two things for sure:

1. They only thought they took Step 1. They may really believe that they did. However, it's like Dr. Silkworth wrote in the Big Book -- they are still -- unable to tell the true from the false.

2. They don't understand the 12 Steps. They may really believe that they do. However, just like above, they are still unable to tell the true from the false.

This is what insanity means when it's referred to in Step 2. Paraphrased, another way of stating Step 2, would be: "Came to believe that God (yes, God is the Higher Power, LOL make no mistake about it) could restore my mind -- so that I could tell the true from the false. (Insanity).

You see, even restored to sanity -- is not just a one time event, for the alcoholic. They are restored to sanity, moment-by-moment, and this too, must happen continuously -- throughout every single day.

I think we all want to believe in the idea that someday we can honestly say "I have finally arrived!".

But, in reality -- we have to continue "arriving." This is what many of us had to learn the hard way. We kept thinking that "we have finally arrived" (safe & secure from ever drinking again) and before too long, we discover that we've been drinking again. LOL.

Recovery, for the alcoholic (even for those who "have recovered") must come first EVERY day. We must continue doing what we did the day before -- that kept us sober -- and, then some more.

We all want to hit the jackpot. We all want to win the prize. We all want to "arrive."

And, we do! But, we do -- moment by moment, every day, for the rest of our lives.

Yesterdays jackpot, and yesterdays winning, and yesterday's arriving -- was a good thing! But, it was yesterday. And, the day we're living in is: today. This is the meaning of "One Day At A Time" for the rest of our lives.

Wishing all well and goodness.

Dallas
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Re: Working on Step 3?

Postby Tim » Thu Aug 09, 2012 11:46 am

Thank you for writing this on the third step, Dallas. The Twelve Steps correspond closely to my Christian faith, although it is obviously not necessary or even advantageous to be a Christian to take the 12 steps. I've been recently reading a book by Father Jim Harbaugh, a Jesuit priest, about the relationship between the Bible and the 12 Steps. In the 5,000-plus days I have been blessed with continuous sobriety, the "care of God" has been evident. When I turn my will and my life over to the care of God, He is closer to me than breathing. There is indeed 'One who has all power--That One is God'
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Re: Working on Step 3?

Postby Dallas » Thu Aug 09, 2012 4:37 pm

The only part of the 12 Steps that I haven't found in the Bible was: Powerless over alcohol. Everything else is right out of the Bible. ;-)
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Re: Working on Step 3?

Postby Dallas » Thu Aug 09, 2012 4:58 pm

My first stint w/ sobriety was attained, not because I was trying to get sober or stay sober -- it was the natural effect that was produced by taking some actions on instructions that I found in the Bible. It totally transformed me and removed my desire for alcohol or drugs. It was a spiritual experience that was instantaneous. No withdrawal.

I believe, that had I had the knowledge of Step 1, AND if I would have continually practiced Step 1, daily, along with what I found in the Bible, chances are great that I would have continuously maintained the sobriety that had been gifted to me.

At about six months or 9 months sober, I was working for a rescue mission on skid-row in Los Angeles. My boss, a reverend, offered me a glass of whiskey. I recoiled from it, much like the experience written about in the Big Book.

The reverend asked me "What's wrong? Do you have a problem with drinking?" I said "No. It isn't a problem to not drink. I don't drink because I believe my body belongs to God, and I should watch what I put into it."

The Rev. then said "Well. I used to be an alcoholic. I was sober and active in AA for 25 years. But, when Christ came into my life, and I was born-again -- I was restored to whole-ness, and became a new creature in Christ." He then, proceeded to tell me how AA was like the anti-Christ, that they had their own God. :-)

About two weeks later -- I started off w/ a cold beer. Just a half one to quench my thirst. Drinking it as a beverage for thirst relief (or so I believed). Within two weeks after that half beer -- the SWAT team came after me, I was locked up in jail and headed for prison. Yes. Alcohol really screws me up -- as a Christian or as a non-Christian -- I CAN NOT drink! :-)

I'm glad you shared above. It ties in with what I woke up thinking today. "Spiritual progress -- without maturity -- can get messy for me. It's like an ice cream that melted all over my hands. It's nice and sweet -- but it messes us everything I touch!"
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Re: Working on Step 3?

Postby Tim » Thu Aug 09, 2012 7:04 pm

Dallas wrote:My first stint w/ sobriety was attained, not because I was trying to get sober or stay sober -- it was the natural effect that was produced by taking some actions on instructions that I found in the Bible. It totally transformed me and removed my desire for alcohol or drugs. It was a spiritual experience that was instantaneous. No withdrawal.

I believe, that had I had the knowledge of Step 1, AND if I would have continually practiced Step 1, daily, along with what I found in the Bible, chances are great that I would have continuously maintained the sobriety that had been gifted to me.

At about six months or 9 months sober, I was working for a rescue mission on skid-row in Los Angeles. My boss, a reverend, offered me a glass of whiskey. I recoiled from it, much like the experience written about in the Big Book.

The reverend asked me "What's wrong? Do you have a problem with drinking?" I said "No. It isn't a problem to not drink. I don't drink because I believe my body belongs to God, and I should watch what I put into it."

The Rev. then said "Well. I used to be an alcoholic. I was sober and active in AA for 25 years. But, when Christ came into my life, and I was born-again -- I was restored to whole-ness, and became a new creature in Christ." He then, proceeded to tell me how AA was like the anti-Christ, that they had their own God. :-)

About two weeks later -- I started off w/ a cold beer. Just a half one to quench my thirst. Drinking it as a beverage for thirst relief (or so I believed). Within two weeks after that half beer -- the SWAT team came after me, I was locked up in jail and headed for prison. Yes. Alcohol really screws me up -- as a Christian or as a non-Christian -- I CAN NOT drink! :-)

I'm glad you shared above. It ties in with what I woke up thinking today. "Spiritual progress -- without maturity -- can get messy for me. It's like an ice cream that melted all over my hands. It's nice and sweet -- but it messes us everything I touch!"


You're right, Dallas, the Bible does not contain Step 1, except perhaps very indirectly. The genius of the Twelve Steps is that it is there--an essential beginning to a program of action-- and that the 12 Steps are simple instructions that anyone can understand and follow. My hat is off to you that you were able to stay sober for a period based on the instructions in the Bible. I could not, much as I tried. Only by taking the 12 Steps could I achieve sobriety. Perhaps the reverend you worked with was a hard drinker, but not an alcoholic, even though he spent 25 years in AA. I don't think that Jesus will cure my alcoholism any more than He would keep me from hitting the pavement with a splat if I jump off the roof of a 12 story building.
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Re: Working on Step 3?

Postby Dallas » Thu Aug 09, 2012 9:58 pm

I'm with you Tim. My experience has been -- to achieve and maintain sobriety -- it has taken whatever it takes, and then some. :-) I needed that message from the relapsed AA reverend, just as much as I needed my own experiences of failure, to provide me with a "personal message" of sufficient depth & weight -- that I would become willing to listen, and watch, and do. Sobriety, for me, much the same as the spiritual life -- has been a "learned process." And, I'm continuing to learn. For me, the learning never ends. That's one of the beautiful things about it. It keeps me moving forward -- or, I automatically move in reverse. :-)
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Re: Working on Step 3?

Postby Dallas » Thu Aug 09, 2012 10:01 pm

What I kind of mean by that is: The relapsed AA had 25 years of good solid AA behind him -- that he walked away from. And, now -- I have 25 years of sobriety. I hope, that it's through his experience and his example in front of me -- that helps me get to 26. :-) Reminding me once again, that "I have not arrived" yet. :-)
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Re: Working on Step 3?

Postby Dallas » Fri Aug 10, 2012 9:20 am

Thanks for sharing, Keith.
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Re: Working on Step 3?

Postby Camel » Fri Aug 10, 2012 12:32 pm

Great Topic! Parables and paraphrases. The Bible is full of them. I don't declare to be an expert in finding the absolute meaning of Scripture, or in my ability to convey my understanding of it to another human being as I see it. I'm an amatuer. I have noticed, however, that since becoming sober, by God's grace, I can comprehend and retain the writings I now feel compelled to read. That said, to quote King Solomon; "Who hath woe? Who hath redness of eyes? They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine. Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder. Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things. Yea, thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea, or as he that lieth upon the top of a mast. They have stricken me, shalt thou say, and I was not sick; they have beaten me, and I felt it not: when shall I awake? I will seek it yet again."

Now, to me, considering all the pain and misery alcohol always caused me, yet I would "seek it yet again", is the epitome of powerlesness and unmanageability. In my view, King Solomon's message to us of the " biteth like a serpent", was referring to the devil, or Satan, in the bottle, and the " stingeth like an adder", to inform us the venom of the Adder attacks the central nervous system, exactly as alcohol does. JMHO.

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Re: Working on Step 3?

Postby Toast » Sat Aug 11, 2012 12:08 pm

Hi, some very informative posts here, my thanks to all.

Its been said the story of the Good Samaritan is also about alcoholism.

When the Samaritan finds the Levite lying naked at the side of the road, the guy had been beaten up, robbed of his cloak and anything else of worth. He took him to an inn where he got him washed, clothed and a bed then he left some money with the innkeeper and said 'when he wakes give him what he needs' i.e. a square meal. Note how the Samaritan never said ' give him what he wants' which would be more booze!

Be well.
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