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Excerpts from The Little Red Book Step Three; part one


STEP THREE Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him. Step Three identifies the spiritual illness of alcoholism and suggests a simple, effective remedy. Success with it, or other Steps in our program, is not a matter of chance but of right thought and motive practiced on a daily basis. Knowledge and treatment of our physical and mental health are vitally important to us alcoholics, but lasting, contented sobriety is maintained only by surrender of our lives and wills to God as we understand Him. The first three Steps are a composite A.A. package. Conceived of meditation and experience, they are a basic recovery prescription. Taken with proper timing and in correct proportion they immediately arrest our alcoholic illness. Complementing each other, however, they fail to work if any one of them is omitted. Steps One and Two are the premise upon which we decide to surrender our alcoholic lives to God. Step Three calls for this decision. Honesty, faith, and prayer spark our success. A complete knowledge of the physical, mental, and spiritual injury we have suffered at the hands of far-reaching decision we wish to make. Deliberation born of necessity and a desperate need for help will inspire us to seek our understanding of God. Our great need is loss of self-centeredness and alcoholic obsession. A.A. pioneers discovered their answers to these problems as they developed spiritual understanding and relied upon God’s help for recovery. Each of us has the same possibilities if we are honest, humble, and willing enough to work them out.

Step Three offers no compromise with reservation or delay. It calls for a decision, here and now. How we surrender our alcoholic personality defects to God is of no immediate concern. The important point is our willingness to try. Faith in practice of the Twelve Steps opens the way to understanding of God and provides ways of giving our lives to Him. When we have made this crucial decision, our mental attitude changes rapidly from negative to wholesome, constructive thinking. We lose our uncertainty and fear. Strife and rebellion disappear. Somehow, we seem to gain a vague understanding of God’s will for us. Just a little, perhaps, but a little is all we need to start with. It comes slowly at first. Members who have accepted and practiced Step Three know the value of turning the defects of their alcoholic lives over to the care of God as they understand Him. Faith in His help and willingness to try A.A. spiritual practices will convert our weaknesses to great spiritual strength and understanding. Contented sobriety, the central purpose in our lives, is not earned without self -sacrifice and God’s help. If fear of public opinion, spiritual bias, or hypocritical ideas stand in our way, we learn to overcome them. We have no other choice. It is a small price to pay for life and sanity, particularly when we learn that our prejudice is but preconceived judgment inspired by ill health, ignorance, and false pride.


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