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 everyone My name is Shlomo, I am a compulsive overeater and leader of this workshop.

When we come to this program we have to put our preconceived ideas aside and approach it with an open mind.

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

One cannot add water to a glass that is full to the rim with water, and one who is full of old ideas and prejudices, and thinks he knows it all, cannot learn anything new or different.

Big Book page 47 " Do not let any prejudice you may have against spiritual terms deter you from honestly asking yourself what they mean to you"

Since we are powerless when we come to the program we need help, and the only thing we can do is turn to a Power Greater than ourselves and pray. Here is a nice prayer that will help us. ( the prayer is not in the Big Book but is based on what is written in the Big Book . It is used in a lot of twelve step fellowships).

SET ASIDE PRAYER Please help me set aside Everything I think I know About myself, my disease, these steps, and especially a Power greater than myself, So I can learn with an open mind And have a new experience With myself, my disease, these steps, and especially a Power Greater than myself.

I will now share my experience with my concept of H.P. When I came to the program I thought that if there was a God He didn't care for me.

I prayed asking for all kinds of things but but my prayers were not answered. Friends of mine were murdered in a terrorist attack and I survived and began to think that God cared for me. But than I thought 'if He is such a good God why did he let my friends be murdered' and then came more questions. If God is responsible for everything that happens, why is there so much evil and pain in our world? And why do we accept God as a loving God as long as calamity hits strangers and not us( Is it self-centeredness? Yes!).

I could choose to deal with that problem the same way my father did.

His first wife and their two daughters were murdered by the Nazis in the second world war (my mother was his second wife.). He decided that if a God Almighty can let this happen to his family, It means that the whole idea of a God is a delusion, and there is no God. My father became an atheist.

My younger sister her husband and their two young boys drove in their car on a weekend and a drunken woman rammed their car with hers. She came out without a scratch. But my sister's husband and her younger child aged 5 ,were killed on the spot. My sister smashed her leg and her other boy aged 8 smashed his hand.

After the accident she didn't want to continue living and I had a lot of talks with her about her having to carry on because her boy needed her.

After a while she tried to find more meaning to her life by becoming religious , but she gave it up and tried to broaden her consciousness by making me her spiritual adviser.

As I see it , as long as someone doesn't give up and continues on the spiritual path, the soul finds more peace .

Anyway I couldn't live with a concept of H.P which saves me and punishes others or saves others and punishes me. I trudged a lot of spiritual paths till I had a concept of H.P I could live with . My personal H.P., is a source of life energy to which I connect deep inside myself.

In order to be able to connect consciously, I have to work all 12 steps and continue to work steps 10-12 on a daily basis.

This Power is available to everyone. In fact it is available to everything in the universe. In order to have a tangible image I compare its action to that of the sun. The sun gives light and life to everything and everyone with no exceptions, and without any dependence on what they do or how they live, and without interfering in what they do. If my H.P interfered we would have been puppets on a string with no freedom of choice.

God does not change the rules of nature in order to save me from pain and tragedy. God sends me energy so that when I have conscious contact with God I absorb this energy which turns into insight on how I should act in order to accept life as it is , and deal with it the best I can even if it is very painful. In this physical world we learn grow and develop when we encounter problems tragedies and pain and not when everything is fine.

I see myself as a multidimensional being an eternal soul which experiences life on many levels. when we experience life on a physical level We do it for a reason I as soul grow and develop much faster in this dimension. It is like running with heavy weights on my legs. It strengthens the legs so much that when I take the weights off I feel like I am flying.

Going back to the sun comparison, in order to benefit from it I have to let its rays of light reach me.

My spiritual disease locked me up in a dark room where light couldn't get in I had to do the steps in order to open the room to the light and the more I advanced with the steps the more light came in. When I am open to the flow of H.P.s energy I get insights and understand what I have to do with my life. The insights come by way of intuition, and inspiration.

I usually have to quiet my mind in order to get it and the way I do it is by meditation on a daily basis. I usually say a prayer before meditating as a way to open myself up to the Power's influence. I also use prayers to ask for power to carry out what I gleaned by my insight This opens me up more to the influence of this Power.

When I am in conscious contact with this Power as a result of working the 12 steps on a daily basis, I am recovered. My food obsession is gone or lessened to such a degree that I control it instead of the obsession controlling me. This is my concept of a Power greater than myself in my life. Of course any concept that you feel comfortable with will work for you too.

So I don't blame or resent my H.P when I suffer pain and tragedies. It is not my H.P.s job to keep me free of pain and suffering. His job is to send me energy and love so when I do my part by developing conscious contact with H,P I can deal with my pain and tragedy and grow spiritually as a better human being who has the spiritual power to live according to the code of love and tolerance as they say in the Big Book page 84 " Love and tolerance of others is our code.. So when some of my sponsees tell me they resent God I tell them to examine their concept since a God I resent does not contribute to my recovery . As the Big Book says on page 64 " resentment is the number one offender . It destroys more alcoholics (compulsive eaters) than anything else. from it stem all forms of spiritual disease"

And if a sponsee tells me they are atheists and are sure there is no God, I tell them that's OK . When I was new to the program my sponsor told me that as long as I try to behave with love and tolerance of others I am on the path to recovery, and as long as I continue to come to meetings, it means that I do believe in something.

I believe that recovery by the 12 step program is possible. When I joined the program more than two decades ago I thought I will leave after I lose some weight. But here I am. I have lost a lot of weight and I continue to come to more than one meeting a week, and I know I will continue as long as I live because for me this program is a life saver. I realize that weight is just a side issue of compulsive eating. Recovery is the result of developing consious contact with God which has to be worked on every day.

That is why I stay and will continue to stay. for me leaving means letting my spiritual malady take over.

As the big book says there are no easier and softer ways. page 58-59 "We thoght we could find an easier , softer way. But we could not......Half measures availed us nothing". Just to finish this part, I assure you that you don't have to adopt my concept of H.P. You can choose any concept that suits you. But examine your concepts carefully, so that they don't invoke resentments and fear in you for any reason. Since those negative emotions will keep you under the influence of your addiction. Also check that your concept of H.P. leads you to a code of living with love and tolerance of others.

I did not plan on sharing all that stuff, but I was in a f2f meeting a few days ago and a woman shared that she blamed and resented God because she gave birth to a dead baby. This is of course a tragic and very painfull experience but her reaction to it does not help her . It just helps the addiction to take over. One of my sponsees who was in the meeting said to me later, but she has to blame someone why not God. I answered that if she wants to deal with her tragedy in a healing and helpful way, she may ask God to help her and give her the Power to deal with it . Blaming others just weakens her and takes her out of the recovery path.

step three is dealt with on pages 58-63 in the Big Book On page 60 in the big book are written 3 pertinent ideas : (a) That you are a compulsive eater and cannot manage your own life. (b) That probably no human power can relieve your food compulsion. (c) That a Power greater than yourself can and will if It is sought.

When I am convinced of those ideas I can approach step 3. I was convinced of (a) and (b), but at fist I was not convinced of (c). But I was willing to believe that recovery by working the steps is possible And that was enough to begin my recovery journey. Today I am convinced and have faith in (c).

The Big Book tells us on pages 60-62 why we need care and guidance from our H.P. "Selfishness-self centeredness! That we think is the root of our troubles. Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity, we step on the toes of our fellows and they retaliate....So our troubles we think are basically of our own making. They arise of ourselves, and the alcoholic (compulsive eater) is an extreme example of self will run riot......neither could we reduce our self-centeredness ourselves much by wishing or trying on our own power. We had to have God's help."

The A.A., 12&12 on page 40, explains further: "Our whole trouble had been the misuse of willpower.. We had tried to bombard our problems with it instead of attempting to bring it into agreement with God's intention for us."

The key to step three is willingness to decide to get help and the requirements are to quit playing God and to decide that God is to be our life director.

Now let us look at step three: STEP THREE: "Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God AS WE UNDERSTOOD HIM." The word "will" in step three stands for feelings and thinking (past present and future) The word life" stands for my actions(past present and future).

Step three is a decision making step. We decide to turn our will and our life over to the CARE of God (a Power greater than ourselves). Notice that we don't turn our life over to God. We turn it to God's care.

A simple example .If I have to fix my car I don't give up my car to the mechanic. I turn it over to his care, which means I want him to repair it, not take it away from me.

We DECIDE to turn our will and our life over to the care of God in step 3 , but we still cannot carry out our decision in step three. Since we still haven't dealt with our spiritual malady and had not overcome it. Our spiritual malady blocks us from a Power greater than ourselves. We have to work on removing the blocks by doing steps 4-12. ONLY THEN CAN WE REALLY CARRY OUT OUR DECISION. That is why it says on page 64 that "although our decision was a vital and crucial step , it could have little permanent effect unless at once followed by a strenuous effort to face and to be rid of the things in ourselves which had been blocking us. Therefore we started on a personal inventory this was step four".

Step 4 is the first step we have to take in order to be able to carry out the step 3 decision and it is just the beginning. We have to continue with all the rest of the 12 steps in order to be able to carry out the third step decision.

So when someone says that he had a problem and did step 3 and turned it over to the care of God he is deluding himself. The process of turning a problem over to the care of God is by deciding in step three and then immediately doing steps 4-12.

Just saying I turned it over in step 3 is half measures that avail us nothing as far as recovery results are concerned. After I do steps 4-12 on my past, I turn problems over to the care of God by doing steps 10-12 and not by step 3 .

Let me give a simple example that I think will clarify step 3 . Suppose I decide today to be a brain surgeon. Can I now enter the operating room open some patients head and poke at his brain? Sounds crazy doesn't it . before I can even approch a patient I have to study medicine for 7 years. That specialise in brain surgery for two years operating on dead people and only observing real operations. that I have to work 2 years as an apprentice and have exams all the time .

Step 3 is just a decision making step. If I could carry out my decision in step 3 I could forget about all the other steps 4-12. since it means I reache my goal and am in consios contact with God

We do the step three decision formally by saying the step 3 prayer (Big Book page 63) . We say the prayer aloud to our sponsor or someone else who understands what we are doing. We can say it in our own words as long as we express the idea of the prayer,


1. read chaper HOW IT WORKS in the Big Book pages 58-64, and read Step 3 in the AA 12712. copy the sentences that talk to you explain and share with us

2. Do step three FORMALLY. Say the step three prayer (page 63) aloud to someone who understands. You may use your own words.

3. Say the Set Aside Prayer whenever you study the steps

That is all for now folks

Have a nice and fruitful day

send your questions and comments to:

Send your answers to the assignments to:

Shlomo K Worksop leader

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