Step 3: God as we understand Him (Her)

It’s the third month of my gratitude blog, so I am reflecting on the third step of A.A.:

“3: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.”

For many people, one of the challenges about A.A. is the central presence of God in the twelve steps and twelve traditions. What really helped me embrace A.A. was that “God” could be anyone/anything I believed in. I remember an early A.A. meeting where someone said that God could be as simple as the people in the room if that is all that you are comfortable with. It means that people of any faith or belief can follow the A.A. program. That was important to me from the very beginning of my sobriety, and continues to be.

But then there is the part about turning “our will and our lives over to the care of God.” That was a tough one. It was one thing to admit that I was not completely sane in my drinking and drugging. It was another huge leap to turn my will over to a Higher Power!

That’s where the solidarity of going to A.A. meetings and talking with A.A. friends about their sobriety journey really helped. I heard  stories of the struggle with this step. I learned how people made it to and through this step. I worked through it with others, sharing the journey, the uncertainty, the baby steps forward and the small steps backward. And I really listened to the stories of the changes in people’s lives when they got sober.

By hearing these stories and sharing the struggles with the third step, I learned what it would mean to turn my will and life over to “God.” That I was not in charge of everything – my drinking and drugging showed how well I did at that! That I needed and wanted to let go of my belief that I could control everything, and instead began to work on a belief that a Higher Power would help me stay sober. That turning my will and life over did not mean letting go of responsibility and accountability. Instead, it meant taking a leap of faith to believe that a Higher Power would care about me, that turning my will and life over would help me move away from the craziness of abusing and toward good decisions and healthy thinking.

Many thanks to my Higher Power – “God as I understand Him.” In turning my will and life over I have received great gifts: sobriety, family and friends, choices, and so many, many other reasons for gratitude.

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