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: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God.


My name is Susan and I'm a recovering COE, sugar addict and emotional eater. I'm also your leader for the last quarter’s study of the WTS study in The Recovery Group.

Thank you for all your hard work on Step Two ~ I have read each one of your shares as shared with the WTS loop. I have seen a lot of honesty, open-mindedness and willingness (HOW). I am very grateful that we walk beside one another while doing this study: learning, growing and recovering together. Thank you for allowing me to give service! You help me with my own recovery. Thank you!

In this week's step I added a short Podcast, as well as a You Tube video clip. The latter is about addictions in general, while the Podcast refers to a woman who struggled with both alcohol and narcotics. Different substances than food may be involved; so listen with Open-mindedness.

How are you doing? Still working step zero? Do you find yourself still craving for #####, opening the cupboards or fridge for that “something” to fill the hole in your soul? I certainly do. I have walked this road so many times: relapsing, trying again, relapsing and trying again…

Today I know this is my disease talking to me and Step Three teaches me there is a way out. The way out is the shortest prayer I know:


I can surrender to God at any place and ask His help at any time. I'm not powerless any more, my HP WILL take the craving away. My sponsor taught me to pray with my feet by simply turning around and walk away from the kitchen/ table/ shop/ bowl/ bag.

The Surrender Prayer is maybe the second shortest prayer I know:

“God, I give up! I will do whatever You want me to do today.”

After lots of experiments and relapses I'm willing to go to any lengths to recover thanks to the Gift Of Desperation (GOD). Listen to the following Podcast to understand how this “Disease” (addiction) works and just how cunning, baffling and powerful it really is:

After we worked and understood Step One and Two can we say with assurance that We WERE powerless? If not, Step Three will finally convince us. The first paragraph in OA 12 and 12 says:

“It has been said that the first three steps of the Overeaters Anonymous program are simply ‘I can't; God can; I think I'll let God’”.


Part Two

The principle behind Step Three is FAITH.

OA 12 and 12 page 19 reads: “If we want to live free from the killing disease of compulsive overeating [under-eating, bulimia, over-exercising, and other food/weight obsessions], we accept help without reservation from a Power greater than ourselves.” (words between brackets added by myself).

Willingness is the key to the faith we need to make this decision and it does not matter who we are, what we believe and how low our individual bottoms are/were:

“[We can] testify that anyone, anyone at all, can begin to do it. We can further add that a beginning, even the smallest, is all that is needed. Once we have placed the key of willingness in the lock and have the door ever so slightly open, we find that we can always open it some more. Though self-will may slam it shut again, as it frequently does, it will always respond the moment we again pick up the key of willingness.” (AA 12 X 12, page 35 ~ words between brackets added by myself)

Willingness is doing what needs to be done whether we want to do it or not. Willingness is a key that involves action, and that action leads to faith. It is impossible for us to have faith if we don't take the actions that are needed. One action that leads to faith is to “Act as if” So we act as if we know that God will provide us with everything we need to recover.

Regarding choices we need to make about food, life, places, things etc.:

“we now say yes to this Power, deciding from here on to follow spiritual guidance in making every decision” (OA 12 and 12, page 19) and “we earnestly seek guidance… and when that guidance comes we act on it” (page 20) and most important “’If OA does not give us any rules to follow,’ they ask ‘how are we to find the guidance we must have to avoid compulsive eating?’ The decision we made in step three answers this important question. We have found that when we give up self-will regarding food and completely turn our lives over to our Higher Power, we receive all kinds of guidance.” (page 21)

My sponsor often uses the example of electricity to explain this POWER to me:

“Every modern house has electric wiring carrying power and light to its interior. We are delighted with this dependence; our main hope is that nothing will ever cut off the supply of current. By so accepting our dependence upon this marvel of science, we find ourselves more independent personally. Not only are we more independent, we are even more comfortable and secure. Power flows just where it is needed. Silently and surely, electricity, that strange energy so few people understand, meets our simplest daily needs, and our most desperate ones, too. (AA 12 X 12, page 36).

We simply put the switch on and the POWER is there! How? Amongst others by praying the shortest prayer (Help!) and maybe the second shortest prayer (The Surrender Prayer). Whala… And then we pray with our feet. We either step towards the God Of Our Understanding or walk away from the distractions (fridge, bowl, drive through, toilet bowl, isolation etc.) that will take us away from GOMU’s will for us. Don't forget about walking towards a telephone or a meeting or the switch of the computer. We are no longer alone except if we choose to be.

Either God is everything or God is nothing! We are dependent; without HP we cannot. Without the WE of fellowship we struggle.

Then I white-knuckle in my own power... What happens when I white-knuckle? I calve in… sooner or later. I know, because I used to be a chronic relapser.

“And far from being a weakness, this dependence was their chief source of strength.” (AA 12 X 12, page 39)

So, WE WERE POWERLESS (Step One). I'm beginning to understand… Are you?

On an online meeting a leader shared her relationship with her HP. She said that her relationship with God can be compared to a tandem bicycle ~ her HP in the front seat and she peddling on the back seat, trusting Him/Her/It to take her where she needs to go. Even when she becomes tired and confused, she can only sit back and relax, because the Driver has full control. But she has a role to play and she never forgets her role ~ total surrender and doing the footwork.

It is when we try to make our will conform to 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 will power. 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 A.A.'s Twelve Steps, and Step Three opens the door. (AA 12 X 12, page 40)

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!

(AA Big Book, page 63)

On page 20 (OA 12 and 12) I read that we become willing to change our attitudes on:
1. Weight control ~ We learn a 12-step way of recovery with NO rigid diets.
2. Body image ~ We learn that recovery is not only about our bodies, but also includes the spiritual and emotional legs of recovery that will help address our body image issues. (The Three-legged Stool)
3. Eating ~ We become mindful of how we' r eating ~ Is it compulsively, insane, fast, in our closets and frantically? OR serene, sane, at a reasonable speed, with others and calmly?

Willingness leads to action. I become willing to act. Thanks to Humility, Openness and Willingness (HOW), ACTION follows!

I did and still DO the following ACTIONS:

  • I started attending 90 meetings in 90 days.
  • I send my plan of eating (POE) to my sponsor DAILY.
  • I choose to eat what I said I would eat.
  • I abstain from my trigger foods (mainly white stuff and alcohol) one day at a time (ODAT).
  • The OA HOW method of recovery places definite black and white boundaries around food so I weigh and measure my meals. (My eye-balling portion sizes were humongous)
  • I stopped weighing myself – my husband weighs me when my sponsor asks the number and I never know when this will be. He then emails the number to her.

I am still in the process of working the Twelve Steps, using the HOW method (this time) and had a candle ceremony via Skype with my HOW food sponsor once I completed the first 30 questions (which include the first three steps).

I send a daily inventory to my sponsor (most days) which includes Step 10, 11 and 12 issues, a gratitude list, a letter to God, the tools I used, the food I consumed etc. Putting my faith into action brought me a life beyond my wildest dreams and I’m still trudging the road to happy destiny. Thank you for being part of my journey!


(i) Reading for this week

(ii) Did you come to OA for the vanity or the sanity? Motivate your answer in the context of Step Three?

(iii) Listen to the following podcast on Step Three by clicking on:
Did you experience similarities with Susan’s story when you hit bottom in your disease? Please share you bottom with us.

(iv) “This inner resource is our intuition” (OA 12 and 12, page 22). Reflect on what these words mean to you?

(v) How do we pray with our feet when we land in a tough spot with cravings and triggers? (A clue ~ the answer is on top of page 24 in OA 12 and 12)

(vi) How do we know/learn God’s will for us? (Possible answers can be found on page 25 in OA 12 and 12 and on page 86 [bottom] and page 87 [top] of the AA Big Book)

(vii) The Big Book talks a lot about the Director and the actor and how the Director is running the show, not the actor. Can we see today how wanting things to go our way is blocking us off from the sunshine of the spirit?

(viii) Please read the Acceptance Prayer on page 417 in the AA Big Book. How can acceptance help you to surrender to your HP?

(ix) Please explain how your can translate the first three steps to Honesty, Open-mindedness and Willingness (HOW).

(x) I made my Step Three commitment by candle light with my HOW sponsor and recited the Step Three Prayer with her as my witness. How will you make your Step Three commitment before you move to Step Four?

In loving fellowship,


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