Step Three

Made a decision to turn our will and our lives
over to the care of God as we understood Him

Dear Fellow Travelers,

Try it - you'll like it

The human mind is an amazing instrument. It is capable of rationality, intuition, and feeling. People who have been hurt often move into the rational mode somewhat to the exclusion of all else. This is unfortunate, because modern rationality descends from Descartes, who said, "I think, therefore I am." What one notices about this is that "I" is both subject and object in this point of view. When we allow all of our mind to guide us, we begin to realize that the spiritual is a more intuitive way, and that feelings, so far from killing us, are guides to certain situations in life.

In the second step, we noted that our egocentrism has failed, and that we have to get connected by some means to power that is outside ourselves if we are going to recover. This is something of an empirical statement. The Twelve Steps work if we accept the idea of such a power, and they do not work if we don't. It sort of boils down to the issue of whether we want to recover or die.

Theism is not an issue. Theism is a specific concept of deity. I know devoutly spiritual people who do not agree with theism as a philosophical concept. Being spiritual and being an atheist is not a contradiction, just sometimes hard to understand. Unless recovery becomes the main thing, even the only thing.

So we do not offer any particular concept of God or Higher Power. You may choose your own, and accord that Power whatever you need he/she/it to have for your recovery. I will admit that a lot of people find the God of their ancestral religion to be adequate for them, but very often with a change in understanding about that God. We, as addicts, need a God, HP, who can receive us into a close presence and keep us there safely from the evil power of our additions.

You will recall that at the beginning, I was working with Ziff, the God "As If," said rapidly. Act as if. This would be true of someone who was an orthodox believer in some specific religion. We have to act "as if" this could be done, in order to come to see that it has been done, can be done, is ours for the asking.

Surrender is really the hard part, and the big issue. The ego of the addict is huge - in the mind of the addict, it has dethroned any Gods that are. "I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul." (W. E. Henley). We have to turn our lives and our wills over to the care of HP. Notwithstanding that alone we have almost dug our graves with our teeth, notwithstanding our isolation and loneliness, our wretched health problems, our disturbed relationships, our dysfunctional lives, WE WILL BE IN CHARGE OR ELSE!

Or else what? Or else we will recover. Surrender or die. There are causes for which a person might choose to die. Having a compulsive eating disorder can be such a cause only for someone whose sanity is in serious question. That day when I first came into the rooms of OA I saw people who were in recovery, leading happier, healthier lives - even having a life! If this is what it takes to get there, I will fall down before it, because I sure as shooting couldn't do it by myself. I know. I tried for over 50 years first. Sam told me to "act as if." Well, why not - all I had to lose was the chains that enslaved me to my addiction (apologies to Marx). They did not ask me to convert to any religion, they did not ask me to undertake any rites or liturgies. They just said, surrender, act as if, and see if it works for you as it has for us.

Now, I have to tell you my story, and will in the post which follows. The fact is, it worked. I don't know the answers to such things as the problem of evil, the metaphysics of theology, or the ins and outs of theism (I lie here, of course. I have a graduate degree in post modern thought, so I could go on about this ad nauseam). But from the intuitive and emotive sides of my being I know nothing.) I only know that when I did this, when I surrendered to a Higher Power who could and would take away my disease one day at a time if sought, and let the HP do his/her/its thing, the miracle began for me.

And I think it will for you, if it hasn't already.

Love, John,
Step Leader WTS 2001 Study


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