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


Hi everyone.
My name is Shlomo and I am a food addict and compulsive overeater.

We are ready for step three when we are convinced of the following (Big Book page 60):
(a) That we were food addicts/compulsive eaters and could not manage our lives.
(b) That probably no human power could have relieved our food addiction/compulsive eating.
(c) That God could and would if He were sought.

When I did step two for the first time I had a problem with (c). I still didn't have a clear concept of a personal Power greater than myself. I didn't really believe that such a power exists and even if it did that it would help me.

I accepted the fact that the program helped millions of people but I couldn't believe that it will help me too. My sponsor pointed out that the Big Book also said that "God does not make too hard terms with those who seek him" and that even willingness to believe is enough to send me on my way. (pages 46-47).

He suggested I act "as if" and do the step actions and the rest will follow. And it did follow. So I suggest to all of you who are not sure of (c) to act "as if" and the rest will follow. Someone asked me 'and what if the rest doesn't follow'. 'Well', I answered 'in that case you can always pick up your misery load and go somewhere else . You don't lose anything by trying and you have everything to gain'.

I hope this introduction puts everyone on the starting line for step three. Step Three: "Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him."

This is a decision making step. We decide to let God take care of us, of our thoughts and actions.

We have to understand that a decision and the carrying out of the decision are not the same. I can for example decide to be a doctor. The decision itself doesn't make me one. I have to carry the decision out by years of study and practice. The same is true here, we carry the decision out by doing the rest of the steps , steps 4-12.

A lot of times I hear people say in meetings, 'I had a problem so I did step three and turned it over'. I wish it was that simple and easy. They may think they did but they didn't. They only decided. A decision gives some immediate feeling of relief, but in order to really turn anything over we have to do a lot more than just decide. We have to do the rest of the steps. Let us get to the assignments so you can do the work that is needed order to work step three.

1. Read the chapter "HOW IT WORKS" pages 58-60.
A) Mark the sentences that discuss honesty,willingness, need for God, half measures, progress rather than perfection.and any other sentences that resonate with you. Reflect on the marked sentences and their personal meaning to you. Share with us.

B) Read pages 60-62
Mark the sentences that resonate with you and the sentences that describe you. Pay special attention to the following, self will, the actor-director, the root of our troubles, who is responsible for our troubles, selfishness as a killer, self centeredness that cannot be reduced by our own power. At the end of page 62 it tells us what we have to do and what we have to decide. Reflect on all the above and share with us.

C)Read page 63 first paragraph.
This paragraph describes the recovery process and spiritual awakening that is a result of working all the steps ( of carrying out the step three decision) If this is not the first time you work the steps than some or all of it surely happened to you. Share with us.

D) Read page 63 paragraph two and three.
In those paragraphs the decision making is presented as a prayer. We are also told what to do with the prayer. Mark the words that resonate with you. Share with us.

E) Read the end of page 63 and the beginning of page 64 till ".....This was step four" How long do we have to wait after step three in order to do step four and why? If you have done the steps before, were you aware of this urgency? Share with us.

2. Read step three in the AA 12&12 . If you don't have the book read it online at: AA 12&12

A) Mark the paragraphs that resonate with you and the paragraphs that describe you. Pay special attention to the following. Willingness, dependence and independence. Also pay special attention to the last paragraph on page 40, misuse of will power and conforming our will with Go's will. Reflect and share with us.

B) The chapter ends with the serenity prayer. Share the meaning of the prayer to you.

3) Doing step three Say the step three prayer (Big Book page 63) aloud to your sponsor or to someone else who understands. You can use your own words as long as you convey the original meaning. Do it while you meet him/her face to face (f2f). If you cannot meet than do it on the phone. Share the experience with us. REMARK: Today one can talk on the phone locally and internationally for free or for a very small charge Have a look for example at:




I was just reading from the AA 12 and 12. On pg 40, the first full paragraph, last sentence-I'm just wanting more clarification of what it's really saying. "Requiring sustained and personal exertion to conform to their principles." Does that mean that we need to work all the steps in our life and from the effort to do that is what they're talking about? I mean I know its going to take effort.


The answer to the question YES! The 12 steps are a package deal. Recovery depends on working all 12 steps on a daily basis everyday of our lives in all aspects of our lives. Our situation is similar to that of a diabetic. He has to take his medicine every day and cannot skip days without negative consequences. Our medicine is the 12 steps, and we have to work them on a regular daily basis.


I heard in a meeting that the program prayers should be done while kneeling. Is kneeling really necessary?


In the chapter "HOW IT WORKS" , in the first edition of the Big Book, it is written.

"Get down upon your knees and say to your Maker, as you understand Him: "God, I offer myself to Thee - to build with me and to 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 may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life. May I do Thy will always!"

The demand to say the prayer "on your knees " was deleted in later editions. There are some other changes in "HOW IT WORKS" in the first edition. It was more stringent than the later editions. Those who are interested can read the first edition and compare: http://www.aadayton.org/study.html

Saying the prayer on your knees is a personal choice. It usually depends on one's upbringing. In some religions praying on your knees is taken to be an expression of supplication and humility.

There is another effect of kneeling that you can check out for yourselves. The kneeling posture in the west and the lotus position in the east, are physical postures that help quiet the mind. There are much less random disturbing thoughts when one takes such a posture.

Most western persons find it very difficult or impossible to sit in the lotus position. It may even harm their joints since they are not supple enough. The kneeling position does the job of quieting the mind almost as well.

So if you are upset and find it hard to concentrate on the prayer, the kneeling position can help. But it is not mandatory. So if you don't feel comfortable with it or feel ridiculous then don't do it. One can recover without kneeling.



Step 4, Part 1

Step One
Step Two
Step Three
Step Four

WTS Home
The Twelve Steps
Recovery Home

© Copyright 2008 THE RECOVERY GROUP All rights reserved