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

Hi, friends. Iím Penny K., a compulsive eater and your WTS leader for this quarter. Thank you for the honor.

A reminder: please make sure that you are working with a sponsor. I cannot imagine what I would do without my sponsor (some of my comments come from conversations with her).

Step 3 ........ Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

This is what the whole program is about. This is what makes it work if you work it. This Step is where everything changes.

Please read Step 3 in the OA 12&12 and pages 58-63 of the AA Big Book.

First, hereís a quick thought or two on the dreaded ďGĒ word. A lot of us get tripped up over the ďGĒ word. Like I said in Step 2, I had a real problem with the God idea. I knew all about God, and I didnít like it one bit. Mine was an immature, childish understanding, and that was just not going to work. This was compounded by my absolute belief that when my co-OAís talked about their God, they were talking about a religious deity that was anathema to my own religious beliefs. Thank God (pun intended) for my then sponsor who pointed out the ďÖ as we understood HimĒ part of the step. My vision of God Ė as raw and unpolished as it was Ė was equally valid to anyone elseís. If you have a problem with God or any deity, please donít let that get in your way. There are agnostics and atheists among us along with people who affiliate with a huge range of religious belief systems. What matters is not what you call your Higher Power but rather than you believe that you are not the be all and end of the world with infinite power.

Back to Step3: We have accepted that we are powerless. We have come to believe that thereís a power greater than ourselves that can restore us to sanity, to balance, to perspective. Now we are making a decision to let that power take care of us.

On the one hand, this step is very simple. All weíre asked to do is make a decision: turn our lives over to the care of our higher power or donít do that. That this decision is so challenging for people is proof that while it may be simple, itís not easy.

I spent years thinking I knew what was best for me, and sometimes I was actually right. That said, most of my decisions and beliefs about what I wanted were based on ego, pride, fear, and resentment. I wanted things because they would make other people praise me, and I demanded things because I was afraid of what would happen if I didnít get what I wanted. I knew best Ė dammit Ė and no one (certainly no deity) was going to tell me otherwise.

It happened in all areas of my life. With food, well, no one was going to tell me what to eat, and I kept going back to the empty well of the cycles of gyms, nutritionists, starvation, and fad diets, even though I knew in my gut that all these efforts were doomed. It happened in relationships as I kept going back to the empty wells of manipulating people to get what I wanted. It happened in the workplace as my fear-based will kept me from leaving dead-end and soul crushing jobs that were killing me spiritually.

If my will happened to lead me a healthy choice, it was certainly by dumb luck.

Step 3 was asking me to let go of everything I thought I knew in favor of a power that I couldnít see and could just barely define. That made me nervous because I thought I knew everything about everything and no one was going to tell me otherwise. I was the captain of my own ship, and I was in charge and in control. If I turn my self over to a Higher Power, whatís going to happen to me? Was I going to disappear?

Except that my life was a mess, and my own shaky efforts had gotten me to the point where I couldnít manage my own meals, much less my life.

The great challenge of Step 3 is that itís a one-day-at-a-time effort. I canít just say the 3rd Step prayer and think, ďwell, whew, thatís over with, donít have to do that again.Ē Taking Step 3 is a continual leap of faith. Every day I have to Ė as the commercial says Ė just do it.

Step 3 is a mindset of faith and trust. In truth, itís the hardest of all the steps to explain to an outsider because sometimes what comes across can be construed as a bit of a faith and religious fanatic.

So I look at Step 3 like this:

My vision is miserable; no amount of willpower is going to make me see any better. I trust that my ophthalmologist knows what heís doing, and Iíve had several surgeries to correct muscle issues. In effect, my ophthalmologist is a power greater than myself, and I wear corrective eyeglasses so that I can see straight. As I put on my glasses each morning, Iím aware that Iím doing a Step 3 on my vision, turning my vision over to my physician.

I struggle with tinnitus in both ears; no amount of willpower is going to make that hiss go away. I trust that my audiologist knows what heís doing. In effect, my audiologist is a power greater than myself, and Iíve been wearing a variety of hearing aids for years. They have made all the difference in the world. As I put them in each morning, Iím aware that Iím doing a Step 3 on my hearing, turning my hearing over to my audiologist.

And it goes on from there. Clearly my physicians are not God, but just as I trust them entirely, I have learned to trust my Higher Power entirely. And I act out that decision to turn my vision and my hearing over to them on a daily basis because if I donít, I know very well that I wonít be able to see or hear.

I take Step 3 every day, asking my Higher Power to take care of me, to let me know whatís really in my best interest, to help me be the best person my Higher Power wants me to be.

There will be days when my commitment to Step 3 isnít quite what it might be. When that happens, I just let it be, and do my best. Iím not being asked to do Step 3 perfectly, just to practice making that daily decision. As I make progress through my days, I sometimes find that the food still calls to me, and that life continues to challenge my commitment & abstinence. It doesnít mean Iím necessarily doing anything wrong; itís just a sign that my decision-making may be on shaky grounds, and I need to renew my commitment.

At times like these, I find it useful to take advantage of the tools of OA: a plan of eating to give me structure; a sponsor (if you donít have a sponsor, please find one!) to help me through my program of recovery on all three levels, physical, emotional, and spiritual; meetings and telephone (those plus a sponsor get me out of my tendency towards isolation); writing; literature; an action plan. Prayer and meditation come into play.

While these are not substitutes for taking Step 3 or continuing with the remaining steps, they supplement my program and strengthen my relationship with my Higher Power.

Just a few questions for thought Ö

  1. How do you feel about the idea of making a decision?
  2. What do you think will happen if you turn your will over to your Higher Powerís care and love?
  3. How do you think turning your will and life over to the care of a Higher Power will affect your life?
  4. Do you have any examples like mine (glasses and hearing aids) that might show that youíre already taking a 3rd step in some areas of your life??
  5. Are you willing to make a decision to turn your life and your will over to the care of God as you understand God?

Thank you for letting me do this service.

Penny K

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