Step Three

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

Before I begin to look at the text, my general impressions and basic understanding.

An important part of the step is making a decision.  Not “turned our will and lives over,” but rather made a decision to do so.  The actual turning over, I’m pretty sure, can never be complete, not even for someone who dedicates his or her life to God in some kind of religious vocation and life.  Even the decision needs to be made again and again, as I realize I have taken my will and my life back, and am doing something contrary to what I know is right.

It can seem mysterious and complicated, but in a nutshell I think it means working the rest of the steps, and then all of the steps again and again for the rest of my life.  The steps show me God’s will for me.  Or, if there is no superior being, the steps show me the right way to think and act and live so that I, as an alcoholic, so not have to drink.

I need to consciously consider each step purposefully over and over again through the years and decades.  I know that other people who have long term sobriety do it differently, but this is what has worked for me.  As I consider each part of each one my understanding grows and I find additional ways to put the steps into practice.  This is one of the ways that AA stays relevant and fresh for me after more than three decades of sobriety.

Today, I often do what I know to be wrong.  I speed.  I eat foods that damage my health.  I fail to exercise.  My house isn’t as clean as it should be.  I don’t walk the dog as often as she deserves.  I slip something into the garbage that I should recycle.  I don’t answer the phone, or make a call I should make.

All of these examples and many more are evidence to me that I haven’t turned my will and my life over.  The wrong actions may take only a small part of my day, but they are there.  Just because I’ll never be perfect, that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t strive toward perfection.  I hope that my coming reading and writing about the third step brings me just a fraction farther down that road.

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