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

Principle -- Faith

Readings: AA Big Book, page 60 beginning at "Being convinced..." through page 63. Just as an aside, I always remember that the 3rd Step prayer is on page 63, because that is also my favorite psalm.

I don't believe in coincidence. I know that God met me in my recovery walk today and put me exactly where I need to be in this moment. Step 3. I think in Step 2 we become aware of, or actually choose something to have faith in. We choose our Higher Power. In Step 3, we put our faith in that power. What is faith? It is defined as "complete trust or confidence in someone or something."

Whoa. I don't know about you, but I have trust issues! Once, in couples therapy with my now ex-husband, we were talking about trust. This very wise therapist told me that trust is something you build by showing consistent ... days, weeks, months of respectful and honoring behavior. I believe that faith can start out very small, and then it grows as we see our Higher Power work miracles in our lives and in the lives of others. If you have been in program for a while, you have seen the miraculous work, healing, growth and recovery available to all who make use of this simple program. Let me share with you some of the amazing things that were revealed to me as I read through the OA 12 and 12, Step 3 chapter just this evening.

I think I need to preface my share with this. I have worked these steps on a daily basis for years. I memorized the Step 3 prayer back in the 1980's, and never forgot it. I say it every single morning as part of my prayer routine. It had lost some of its meaning for me lately. I said the words, but was not feeling the passion or desperation I had when I first came to recovery. I had forgotten just what this prayer had meant to me. I had forgotten what kind of decision I had made, and it was showing up on my plate.

"If we want to live free of the killing disease of compulsive eating, we accept help without reservation from a Power greater than ourselves. ...follow spiritual guidance in making every decision." "...we earnestly seek guidance from our Higher Power, and when that guidance comes we act on it." I had become very self-reliant in recent times. I was giving lip service to my Higher Power, but I was not truly seeking His guidance in barely any decisions. When I did seek guidance, He was faithful to provide it, and more often than not I would promptly ignore it, thinking it was too hard, or I was too scared, or I simply knew better. That attitude leads to serious trouble in recovery.

Page 20 brought a couple of things together for me, but not in the order presented. I had received the absolute miracle of freedom from obsession with food and the compulsion to overeat. And it didn't last forever. I was truly baffled by this. I thought I had it! I thought I'd made it! How can I lose my abstinence after it was so very strong??? Oh, how reading this chapter has helped me tonight. We "adopt a whole new attitude about weight control, body image, and eating." I did. My weight is none of my business. I really felt that way. And then one day I started questioning the importance of abstinence. Can you imagine????? I had some crazy slip into old thinking. "Well, so long as I am maintaining my weight, who cares what or how I eat?" It didn't take long for me to figure out that maintaining my weight was going to be next to impossible without abstinence. But tonight's reading hit me right between the eyes. "Our primary purpose is to abstain from eating compulsively."

My primary purpose is to abstain from eating compulsively. Repeat after me. My primary purpose is to abstain from eating compulsively.

Today I have hope that a Higher Power can restore me to sanity, AND I have faith that He will do it because He has done it before, for me and for others. On page 21 it says, "... we give up self-will regarding food..." I totally took that out of context, and you should read the whole chapter, but those words were underlined and bolded on my copy. That was the decision I had made so long ago... to give up self-will regarding food. Here are some other phrases taken out of context because my personal Higher Power wanted me to see them very clearly.

"... power of choice about our eating..." I can choose to surrender my will about my eating today.

"... knowledge... is useless without... the... help we find in OA..."

And how about this one? "... living out our decision to trust God's guidance..." LIVING OUT MY DECISION. I made that decision a while ago. I prayed that decision daily, yet I had completely stopped living it out.

".. we ask God for the willingness and the ability..." "We ask and we receive, first the willingness, and then the ability. We can count on this without fail. And isn't that the true meaning of faith, to count on something or someone absolutely?

And how awesomely amazing is it that in this chapter we find the solution again to get through the difficult times. "We don't panic. Instead, we quietly reaffirm our personal guidelines... ask for help... turn away from food... focus.. on our OA Fellowship and the twelve steps." "If something has repeatedly worked well for us or for someone else in a similar situation, we may assume it will work on our present situation, ultimately bringing good to us and to others, which is God's will. "

"As we live out our decision day by day... reminded of our commitment to live by God's will alone... willingness and ability." "When we get off track, our Higher Power will guide us back..."

I apologize to you if this share seems really disjointed. Perhaps something in what I shared will resonate with you. Perhaps you wouldn't mind sharing what stands out in the reading of the OA 12 and 12, Step Three chapter for you personally. Tonight, I am apologizing to my Higher Power for not living out the decision I made, for not asking for His help, and for taking my will back, especially when it comes to food. Tonight I am thanking my Higher Power for His provisions of wisdom, willingness and ability; for putting me in the right place at the right time; for meeting me just where I am, but not leaving me there.

Some questions for you all to share on this week:

1. Have you memorized the 3rd Step Prayer? Have you said it out loud with someone.. a sponsor, or another OA fellow? If so, can you tell us about that experience? If not, would you be willing to do that, and let us know about the experience?

2. Do you trust your Higher Power? If so, why?

3. Can you think of practical ways to turn your life and your will over to the care of God, as you understand him? What does that look like for you on a day-to-day basis?

4. How do you recognize God's will versus self will in your experience?

5. Have you ever had to re-boot your program by coming back to this step? Can you share about that?

6. Do you know how loved you are, how important you are, how much your Higher Power wants to guide you in the path of recovery? I sure hope you do.

Love in recovery,


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