STEP THREE

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







Essay

This step requires a decision, and for the decision to mean anything, we have to follow through with it.

Hannah Hurnard once likened the decision to trust the God of My Understanding as being like jumping off a cliff with the bottom invisible in fog, and finding that we are set down with great care. The language is dramatic, but there is a clear picture of action in it.

For this is what happens here. We are on the edge of recovery. The decision to trust our Higher Power and carry on with recovery is crucial. Right now, there are some who aren’t quite sure who or what their Higher Power is. However, it is not necessary to know that in order to act.

My grandson doesn’t know a thing about nutrition. He knows when he is hungry, and his mother knows what he needs to have. If he had to know what was nourishing for him before he could eat, he would starve to death before the first mouthful. All he knows is the truth that Mommy is going to be there for him, and that something good will happen. That is enough for now.

The decision may require some to act “as if,” while others may have to come to believe that the God they believe in is also interested in them and their recovery. But we make the decision, and the evidence that this is a good decision lies in the testimony of all those who have recovered, who tell us that this decision is necessary to recovery. We can argue about God until the mail train comes back, but if we want recovery, we need to make this decision.

Now, the one thing that lets you know you have made the decision is not merely working this step, but continuing to work all twelve of them. That means that those horrible middle steps that ask us to do all those fearful things have to be worked. But you know what? Everyone I know of that has done so reports that they turned out to be not so frightful and that they felt life was so much better afterward. They made this decision, and it worked for them.

So when we make a decision, it isn’t just lip service. It is a call to action.

The poem I included in Step Two is from The Tao of Healing by Haven Trevino.

Again, I have read all your responses, and I am visibly impressed with the thoughtfulness and depth you have shown. Thank you for letting me lead this workshop.

Love,
John





Questions

1. It is said that we need to go to any lengths to recover. Are you willing to go to any lengths? What would this consist of, as you understand it? Can you see how making the decision in Step Three is a commitment to working all of the Steps?

2. If you have any problems with belief, are you able to act “as if’? Are you willing to take the chance that the program might work if you work it? If belief is not a problem for you, are you willing to make the decision to trust and go on with your recovery?

3. This step requires our taking a risk. We are usually not so good at that. Risks have usually been dangerous in our lives. Can you relate to how taking this risk might open you up to the possibilities of recovery? If you have recovery, as many of you do, tell us your story about how you made your decision.

-- Love,
John





My Answers

1. It was of no small benefit to me that I had literally reached the bottom of my barrel when I first came to OA. I had reached the point in my life where I felt that I was doomed by my weight and eating habits, had no more diets in me, and saw nothing that would or could help me. When I came to OA, I found people who told stories similar to mine, and saw that they had found recovery, had what I wanted. For me, it was an easy choice – I could see some people who had recovery, and all the good things that go with it, and I wanted so much to be like them. Could it work for me? I thought I had no real choice but to work it, it was my last, best hope. So I did it, and it worked. Since then, I have come to believe that anyone who works it will find recovery. I have known so many who have. The Big Book says that it requires honesty, and to me, the honesty in making the decision of Step Three is making the decision to trust the whole process of the Steps. They are the care of God.

2. I certainly had problems with belief at the time I came to OA and recovery. I really thought that if there were a God of any kind, that God wasn’t interested in me or my suffering. Hadn’t I asked to lose weight? And nothing happened. What I did not know was that losing weight was a by product of working this program, and great as that was, it was just one of many benefits. My sponsor told me to act “as if,” and go ahead and work the program. He said it had worked for him. Since his photographs showed that he had lost the 250 pounds he claimed to have lost, I decided that I could at least trust him, and act “as if” the rest were true. Over the course of time, I came to find a God of my Understanding who loved me very much, and wanted me to recover, and would do all the things I needed a Higher Power to do to help me in that. I no longer prayed to lose weight. I simply prayed to be led to do the next step, and the one after that. And the weight came off as a by product. Since I have sponsored some with anorexia or bulimia, I know that the same thing works in their cases.

3. Risk? My God, I was daring. Breathtakingly so. Not that I realized it in the moment, but later on I came to see that I had made a decision that if it failed would be the most insane thing I had ever done. I would have jumped to my death to use Hurnard’s analogy. But it did not fail. My decision was the best one I have ever made. Looking back, I can see that I was desperate, that any glimmer of hope would have led me on, but also, looking back, I can see that God was leading me to this point. I made a decision with a faith that wouldn’t move a grain of sand, much less a mountain; but it sure moved mountains of fat off of me!

And it has made such a difference in my life. It has turned everything around for me. My relationships with others, my finances, my ability to be present to others, and my faith itself, have all changed dramatically over the past thirteen years that I have been in program.

I came into the rooms when I was 54, after at least 45 years of compulsive eating. All my habits were those of the compulsive eater. I won’t say that I cannot revert to my disease at anytime – I have to keep working my program. But when I do, I find myself truly alive in a way I never dreamed possible.

Love,
John



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