STEP THREE ~ INTRODUCTION
Hi, I'm rose, compulsive eater and your step leader for this quarter.
"Practicing Step Three is like the opening of a door which to all appearances is still closed and locked. All we need is a key, and the decision to swing the door open. There is only one key, and it is called willingness. Once unlocked by willingness the door is open almost of itself, and looking through it, we shall see a pathway beside which is an inscription. It reads: "This is the way to a faith that works." In the first two steps, we were engaged in reflection. We saw that we were powerless over alcohol, but we also perceived that faith of some kind, if only in OA itself, is possible to anyone. These conclusions did not require action; they required only acceptance."
Step Three is when we roll up our sleeves and really begin to work.
So we know that we are powerless to help ourselves around our food problems, and many other problems as well-that's step one. We know that we need to trust that a Power Greater Than Ourselves will help us to that end, and that it doesn't matter what kind of higher power it is, just so long as it's not us-that's step two. At this point, we are ready to ask god directly to help us, and that is what the third step is all about. I understand this step as something I practice on a daily and situational basis. Every morning, when I say my prayers, I ask god for guidance and strength when I say the third step prayer;
"God, I offer myself to thee, to build with me and do with me as thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do thy will. Take away my difficulties that victory over them will bear witness to those I would help of thy power, thy love, and thy way of life. May I do your Will always!" (p. 63, AA Big Book)
Whenever I'm troubled or uncertain, whenever I feel character defects coming up, I try and remember to turn it over to my HP for him to take care of it. It's a mental exercise, really, but it is very freeing to let go of the things I can't control. It allows me to relax and turn my attention to reality, instead of whatever my fear or resentment is at the moment. And I've really found that ninety percent of the time my fears and resentments are just that-momentary. If I make the decision to let god take care of the people places and things that hurt, annoy or scare me, I am free to do what I really need to do. And my right course of action, gods will, only becomes apparent when I let the fears and resentments go.
But it's important for me to remember that it's up to me to work on improving myself and my life in this way-that's called doing the footwork. HP will not magically make me a different person who doesn't binge or starve just because I've said in steps one and two that I know I definitely will binge/starve/whatever if I don't ask for god's help and guidance. What happens, in my experience, is that if I turn my attention to god and god's will for me, then I am not as plagued by my faulty self-will. My job is to make a decision to turn my attention to god for help and guidance, and that means action on my part. That doesn't mean I'm going to get it on my timetable, or get what I think is best. But god's plan always has turned out to be a lot better than anything I could cook up for myself. How do I know it's god's will? I check in w/ god regularly, with prayer and meditation, in the morning and evening, and throughout the day as I need it. Am I abstinent? Probably I'm making a good choice. Am I working the steps and using the tools? Have I talked over my problem or situation w/ my sponsor, and/or gotten input from a trusted OA friend? Again, I'm probably doing what's right for me. There have been many times when I had no clue what I should do next, and it was so comforting to me to just say to myself over and over "god has a plan. I don't know what it is, but god has a plan." And it's fine if I don't exactly know god's will-I seldom get step-by-step instructions. I talk to god frequently, but I very rarely get back any kind of strong, definite message. I don't think I know anyone who does. If I feel a soft breeze come in through and open window when I'm being still in meditation, or see a tree that reminds me to pray when I walk in the morning, for me that's plenty of proof that my god is there, ready to help. It's *me that's seeking the connection. Higher Power is that which I need to connect to in order to stay abstinent and on the right track in life. What I feel is entirely in my imagination, as far as I know, and that's fine w/ me. My little human brain is really too small to handle something as big as a constant interaction w/ the Power of the Universe. Basically, what I'm saying is if I *want a relationship w/ a higher power, I can have one. But it's highly unlikely that god is going to invite me over for tea, in order to give me an opportunity to get to know him better.
Again, from the AA 12 Steps and 12 Traditions;
"...other steps of the OA program can be practiced with success only when step three is given a determined and persistent trial. This statement may surprise newcomers who have experienced nothing but constant deflation and a growing conviction that human will is of no value whatever. They have become persuaded, and rightly so, that many problems besides compulsive eating will not yield to a headlong assault powered by the individual alone. But now it appears that there are certain things which only the individual can do. All by himself, and in the light of his own circumstances, he needs to develop the quality of willingness. When he acquires willingness, he is the only one who can make the decision to exert himself. Trying to do this is an act of his own will. All of the Twelve Steps require sustained and personal exertion to conform to their principles and so, we trust, to God's will. It is when we try to make our will conform with God's that we begin to use it rightly. To all of us, this was a most wonderful revelation. Our whole trouble had been the misuse of willpower. We had tried to bombard our problems with it instead of attempting to bring it into agreement with God's intention for us. To make this increasingly possible is the purpose of OA's twelve steps, and step three opens the door." (p. 40)
So paradoxically we need willingness in order to be free from our self-will. But when we're willing to let god in, to change, and we will go to any lengths to do so, incredible miracles happen, they really do. I've seen it in my own life, and in the lives of many others. It's often said that this is a program of attraction, rather than promotion b/c you have to really *want this recovery. No one can do it for you. You have the key of willingness at your disposal at all times. It's entirely up to you to pick it up, put it in the door, and open it. Even you open it just a little bit, you'll begin to see how wonderful life is on the other side of the door.
STEP THREE ~ QUESTIONS
Can you let god be in charge just for today, or just for this moment? Can you see how letting god in, even if it's only for a moment, will build up to letting god in more often?
Is there anything holding you back from complete willingness? If so, why is that?
If you have a specific example of "letting go and letting god", the slogan often associated w/ this step, please share.
thanks for letting me share
The Twelve Steps
© Copyright 2004 THE RECOVERY GROUP All rights reserved