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12 Steps Treatment - Step 3

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

The third step is the heart of surrendering to the process of recovery. It is an act of faith. It is an extraordinary step that can have a profound impact on those who willingly embrace it. You may not have a conversion experience as described by some who have gone before you, but as you practice this step (most people don't just take it--they take it over and over until it "clicks"), you will begin to see changes in your life you could not have imagined when you were drinking or using drugs.

Remember, this is one of the few steps with italics. The steps that mention God always add "as we understood him" in italics to emphasize the importance of that statement. The God you surrender to is YOUR God. Not my God, not her God, not your parents' God or the God of your childhood. It is God as YOU UNDERSTAND HIM.

Many members of 12 step programs struggle with this step for years or decades, but remain sober and on a path of recovery. Why is this? Willingness. They have not shut their minds to the idea. They understand the struggle, and that the struggle is part of spiritual growth. Even the most famous of spiritual figures throughout history have struggled with their beliefs and faith. It is human to struggle with questions about God and our place in the universe.

The willingness to accept that the third step can possibly happen for you is a significant step forward from the often empty, meaningless spiritual lives we led as active alcoholics or drug abusers. Maybe you sought out spiritual gurus, read self-help books, and hungrily searched for some answers to your pain. The willingness to take the third step is the beginning of an answer to that spiritual emptiness and longing you experienced as an active user of alcohol or drugs.