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

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

Step 3

The OA 12 and 12 reminds us that Steps 1, 2 and 3 are often abbreviated as, “I can’t. God can. I think I’ll let God!” If the principle behind “I can’t” is honesty, and the principle behind “God can” is hope, then it follows that the principle behind, “I think I’ll let God!” is faith that if I let him, something good will happen.

Now faith is a concept that this compulsive overeater never liked. In the disease of addiction, the only faith I had was that food could fix whatever ailed me, that chocolate could be relied on when no one else could and that the world really was a hostile place. One of Webster’s definitions of faith is “something that is believed especially with strong conviction” and I definitely had faith in food. I had strong conviction – and proof – that it could take away what ailed me, if even for a moment.

At some point, however, the food stopped working. It is often said that whatever we turn to in times of our greatest need is our god. When there was any pain or confusion in my life, I always turned to the god that I thought would take the pain away. I had utter faith that it would work because, at some point in my life, it really had worked like a charm. When I was five years old and there was chaos, screaming, fighting and insanity at home, a chocolate bar represented salvation to a terrified child hidden in a clothes closet. I ascribed all kinds of magical properties to this little inert object and deified it in my life.

It was only when I came into recovery that I began to see clearly that there was Something that had given me the chocolate and the food and the sugar to take the pain of that horrible childhood away. As the Big Book says, “Bottles were only a symbol” and for me, food was a powerful symbol of a Higher Power that I had no way of accessing alone.

This 12 week step study is about the principles behind the steps of recovery. And so this week we are invited to examine faith: the faith we had in the food, the faith we have in our program, the faith we practice in our lives today.

One of the most helpful questions I have learned to ask myself in recovery has been, “What would I do if I had no fear?” or “What would a person do that didn’t have any fear in this situation?” Those questions have been exceptionally powerful in helping me cultivate faith in my life.

For example, this past Saturday I went to my regular face-to-face meeting. For several months, I have noticed that the shares in this meeting spend more time on the problem of compulsive eating than on the solution WHICH IS IN THE STEPS. My sponsor always reminds me to, “Share your mess with your sponsor and the message with the meeting” so that I am carrying a message of HOPE that there IS recovery from compulsive overeating as a result of working these steps. YES we have a common problem and it is important to identify with others that have the disease in step 1 BUT we also have another 11 steps!!! We don’t have to stay stuck in the problem because, as that elusively entitled chapter in the Big Book tells us, “There IS a Solution!” As I listened to the shares, I found myself feeling anger and judgment arise. “I try SO hard to work my program and to bring HOPE to this meeting, why can’t anybody else talk about the solution?! Why do I ALWAYS have to be the one bringing hope the meeting, just as I do to my relationship and in my family?” My character defects were on fire as you can imagine: I was most certainly not spiritually fit! I was torn between wanting to express my anger in the meeting and the fear that people wouldn’t like me if I did. That they only like me when I play nice-nice. That it is ok to cry and be sad, but no one wants to hear me get angry.

And so the question arose in me at that moment, “What would I do if I didn’t have any fear right now?” The answer came quickly that I would express my anger and not repress it. And so when it was my turn to share, I expressed my anger. BIG TIME! And you know what? No one chased me out with a broom! No one shamed me! No one expelled me from the good girls’ club (which was also the clean plate club, too). I expressed the emotion, and then got on about my day, having lunch with a fellow afterwards and laughing about it, too.

The point of this example isn’t, as I hope it is clear, that it is a great example of faith to go around yelling at people in meetings! Of course that isn’t the point. The point is though, I have to ask myself many, many times each day, “What would I do if I didn’t have any fear in this situation?” and to cultivate faith through action. The Big Book is clear that faith without works is dead meaning that I MUST act with faith and on faith, not based on what my fears would tell me to do. Asking these simple questions regularly helps me bring my HP’s will into every decision I face. It is often much easier for me to visualize what my sponsor would do in this situation, for example, when it requires a level of faith that I don’t yet have: it is easier for me to see clearly when I am imagining what someone else would or could do. Then it is much more palatable for me to transfer those faithful behaviors into my own life.

Here are some questions and assignments for you this week.

Wishing you a sane, abstinent week. Remember faith without works is dead! So get working!


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