Step Three

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







Leader's Share and Step Questions


Step Three

Step Three is the REAL adventure. My belief is the spiritual part of this program is what will bring healing not only to our compulsive overeating but to other areas of our life as well. Step Three can take your recovery to a whole new level even if you have been abstinent and already have some recovery under your belt.

Having just said that I am not going to spend a lot of time talking about God, Atheism, and Agnosticism. Why? Because, I believe, it does not matter!!!. It is really all about accepting that only a power greater than ourselves can help us. Defining a power greater than ourselves is a very personal endeavor. Again, I suggest all of you read Chapter 4 – We Agnostics in the Alcoholic Anonymous Big Book. This chapter addresses far better than I could ever explain the importance of having clarity about your higher power.

If you do not have the AA BB you can find it online at this link -
www.aa.org/bigbookonline/en_bigbook_chapt4.pdf

How Trying To Recover On Our Own Does Not Work

What I am going to spend some time on is how trying to recover on our own does not work. (I suspect you already know that or you would not be here!!!) Am I preaching to the choir?

If I had kept doing what I had been doing – looking to myself to find the answers to my compulsive overeating -- I probably would be dead by now. It is a pretty blunt statement, yet it is true. I am diabetic and even if I am eating healthy foods, overeating can kill me. I spent many, many years trying to find the answers myself. I thought I could figure it out on my own. I even became addicted to finding the insight or insights that would free me, that would heal me and that would answer why I ate like I did. I wrote a book (unpublished) about how to get out of the ruts I was stuck in. All it did was make me a little wiser about my own human nature.

The AA BB (pgs 44-45) describes it well…“If a mere code of morals or a better philosophy of life were sufficient to overcome COE, many of us would have recovered long ago. But we found that such codes and philosophies did not save us, no matter how much we tried. We could wish to be moral, we could wish to be philosophically comforted, in fact, we could will these things with all our might, but the needed power wasn’t there. Our human resources, as marshaled by the will, were not sufficient; they failed utterly.”

Yes, we need to do the footwork. Yes, we need to use the 12 steps to guide us through our recovery. And, yes we need to use the tools to help us change from compulsive overeating to abstinence. That is our responsibility. That is our part – we work our program.

Yet, when I went through still another period where I was very depressed and near suicide, I had to let go of what I was doing and get some help. That is when I went to an inpatient eating disorder program and was introduced to OA. It is where I found my HP. I had a hard time for awhile because I needed to be in control or I felt unsafe. I did not trust anyone or God. However, I knew I could not do it alone anymore. I had to make a decision to turn my will and my life over to the care of God – as I understood Him. I considered it like a partnership with my HP. I chose to do the footwork and He worked the miracles.

Miracles like helping me know that the next bite would be a compulsive one – that never happened before. Miracles like remembering in those compulsive moments how devastating it felt to fail so many times – that never happened before either. Miracles like knowing when I was in my overanalyzing head getting into the old cycle of crazy thinking instead of feeling my feelings which would lead me to solutions. And, so many more miracles….

The rest of my story is all about healing and recovery.

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

Before we get to the questions, let’s talk a little about what making a decision means when it is about our compulsive overeating and our OA program. In the OA 12 x 12 it says it is impossible to take step three without taking the first two steps. From all the answers to the step one and step two study I have read, it appears that nearly all of you get this. Some of us though can still get hung up on making this critical decision in our program. Some of the reasons are:

  1. We are fearful we will have to give up the food that comforts us.
  2. We do not know what will happen if we let go of control.
  3. We are not sure some ghost from the past will come to painfully haunt us.
  4. We think we will fall into uncontrollable anger or depression.
  5. We think others will start seeing a side of us that would cause them to reject us.
  6. We do not believe even God and deal with all our pent up emotions.
  7. We would have to admit we could not control our life and that would mean we would have to trust, which we have learned could hurt us.

Those were all my reasons!!! What I know now is none of them were real. My thoughts and feelings were greatly misguided. In OA I learned with abstinence that I could feel those types of feelings. Wasn’t I already feeling despair, hopelessness, anguish, misery, desperation, depression, failure already? With abstinence I felt success, joy, peace and hope instead. Seems like a no-brainer which I would lean toward.

Here is what I learned about those reasons I could not make a decision to turn my will and my life over.

  1. Feelings usually did not last long and were replaced by feelings of success, freedom and peace after working awhile on my recovery.
  2. I learned I truthfully never knew what was going to happen anyway.
  3. I learned if some painful ghost from the past came up I was ready to deal with it and had all the help I was willing to reach out for.
  4. I learned my anger and depression were valid. I also learned I could choose to get lost in them and be a victim or I could face them openly. Again, with help if I needed to reach out.
  5. I learned most people are far too busy worrying about their lives to hardly bother about mine. As long as I took some time to listen to their struggles, they generally let me share mine, if I wanted. I never have been rejected by sharing heartfelt feelings.
  6. I learned that the steam boiler full of anger and frustration would not blow especially if I took it ODAT and worked on one issue at a time.
  7. I learned trust was not the worthiness of others or my HP, trust was about me being willing to trying something that had a good chance of working. OAs experience has proven it works.

When we face indecision we can remember the words of the Alcoholic Anonymous Big Book: (pg 86-87)

“Here we ask God for inspiration, and intuitive thought or a decision. We relax and take it easy. We don’t struggle. We are often surprised how the right answers come after we have tried this for awhile. What used to be the hunch or the occasional inspiration gradually becomes a working part of the mind.”

One last thought before the questions:

We are told that once we take the third step, we cannot fail. Whoa!!! …it actually says, we cannot fail. If you still have some indecision, maybe giving it a try just to prove it to yourself is worth the effort.

Here are some questions to help you explore your decision:

  1. What have you learned from Steps One and Two that changed how you are feeling about your COE?
  2. If you have already made this decision, please tell us how it has changed your COE and other parts of your life.
  3. If there some indecision to taking this step? Explain.
  4. What would you like your HP to do in your life?
  5. How can your HP change your physical recovery?
  6. How can your HP change your emotional recovery?
  7. If you cannot make the decision today, can you “act as if” you did? Explain.
  8. Rewrite the Third Step Prayer so it really describes your decision to turn your will and life over to the care of God as you understand Him.


Third Step Prayer

God,

I offer myself to Thee. To build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of 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.

My sharing on the Questions:

    1. What have you learned from Steps One and Two that changed how you are feeling about your COE?
      When I took Steps One and Two I felt relief and freedom. I had been trying to carry the whole world on my shoulders. I carried myself, my family, my friends and even co-workers sometimes even strangers. It was way too much and I was way too ignorant to help anyone – let alone myself.

      I did believe in a power greater than myself. I had heard about miracles and I believed they could happen to me too. I stopped feeling alone. It took awhile to understand how my HP would guide me. It also took awhile to realize His guidance was His Will for me. I am now very comfortable with steps one and two.


    2. If you have already made this decision, please tell us how it has changed your COE and other parts of your life.
      Does night and day say something. What a wonderful life I have now. I know success. I know freedom. I am giving service and sharing with others on a level I never would have dreamed before. I feel respected and appreciated. I am truly happy.

    3. If there some indecision to taking this step? Explain.
      Not any longer.

    4. What would you like your HP to do in your life?
      Continue to lead me to my best self and help me find ways I can give back all that I have been given.

    5. How can your HP change your physical recovery?
      I have let go of almost 70 pounds since last spring. I still have close to 100 to go. I know with all my heart He can guide me to doing this.

    6. How can your HP change your emotional recovery?
      I know life will always have its challenges. It is comforting to know I have my HP to guide me in those challenges. Each time I work through something I become stronger and understand so much more.

    7. If you cannot make the decision today, can you “act as if” you did? Explain.
      I have made the decision and it is the best decision I ever made!!!

    8. Rewrite the Third Step Prayer so it really describes your decision to turn your will and life over to the care of God as you understand Him.

      God, I know within the deepest part of my spirit I cannot make it on my own. Without your help I am powerless and my life sucks. I know, too, that Your will is filled with loving guidance to my best life. Thank you so much for being there.

    Suggested Reading

    The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous-Pages 19-27.
    The Twelve-Step Workbook of Overeaters Anonymous, Pages 21-26
    Alcoholics Anonymous, Chapter 4 – We Agnostics
    Pamphlets:
    A Guide to the Twelve Steps for You and Your Sponsor, pp. 7-8

    A Few Slogans For You

    “I can’t; God can; I think I’ll let God!” (OA 12 x 12 pg. 19)

    If you turn it over and don't let go, you will be upside down.

    Be as passionate about the program as you were about the food.

    OA is not something you join; it's something you live.

    Being 'willing' to do something is not the same as 'wanting' to.


    Coralee






    Introduction
    Step One
    Step Two
    Step Three


    WTS Home
    The Twelve Steps
    Recovery Home



    © Copyright 1995 ~ 2011 THE RECOVERY GROUP All rights reserved