Big Book Recovery

Working the 12 Step Programme

Step Three

Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understood Him
Reading: pages 60-63

This is a decision to go on with the program and the practical consequences are that we decide to do the other steps and try to behave in accordance with the spiritual principles of honesty, unselfishness, love and purity, and that we will follow the guidance of our sponsors. Also, if there was a difficulty in getting to grips with the idea of a Higher Power, it is worth pointing out that “God, as we understood Him” means just that. There is no requirement for the understanding of the Higher Power to be any more sophisticated than the one you have accepted before — it is the same HP as in Step Two.

Are you ready to make a decision to hand your will and your life over to the care of God as you understand Him?

If we have followed all the suggestions given in the before, and are ready to follow all that our sponsor suggests further, then we can answer this question with a firm, ‘Yes’.  (As we said before, for most of us, we learn to trust our Higher Power by first placing our trust in our sponsor.) Then we read quietly to ourselves p60: “Our description…” to p63: “Many of us said to our Maker, as we understood Him:” And then we read out the prayer, while on our knees.

God, I offer myself to Thee — to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relive 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!

This step was better done with a sponsor: “We found it desirable to take this step with an understanding person…” {p63}

We do not retake Step Three as we go through the programmer. The Big Book does suggest, however, that we remind ourselves each day, as part of Step 11, that we have taken it: “We constantly remind ourselves we are no longer running the show…” {p87}. It goes on to suggest that we do this by repeating to ourselves, “Thy will be done”, throughout the day. It would be in accordance with this principle to start the day with the Step Three prayer although there are other ways of reminding ourselves. Some, as Step 11 suggests (see later also) say the prayer: “How best can I serve thee? Thy will not mine be done.”

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