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Step 3/Twelve Steps


Each year I like to run through the 12 steps as written in the book Alcoholics Anonymous. These steps were an adaptation of many works before them, and are a universal truth for all people who want to enjoy good mental Hygiene and an abundant life. They have been adopted by some 150 self-help groups, and in the words of my favourite forensic psychologist, are the best basis for mental health around IF worked and lived.


I am not a step guru, and like to keep things as simple as possible.


Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of god as WE UNDERSTOOD him.


There was a great man who had a major influence on the early part of my journey. His name was John Skelly, we lovingly called him Grumpy. John had a brilliant grasp on the applications of the steps and being an uncomplicated man, taught them simply and directly. Each time I relook Step 3, I can hear John's gravelly voice,"Just TURN IT OVER"!


For me, I was soured on formal religion and institutions by the time I hit my low point. God was then, and remains today, a "church" word for me. Today I can handle to word, because as a society we label everything, as an acronym for "Good Orderly Direction". The god I am intimate with today feels very different than the god I knew in church. In Step 2 I recognized there was a power greater than me that could help. With regards to my sanity in early recovery, god was not a part of things.


It was very evident, as I learned to get honest to some extent with myself, that my actions and thinking over time had taken me to a place I hated being at in life. I was convinced that I had to seek help to solve things; I could not do it alone. A slight bit of progress that had begun through Step 2 reinforced this. Gradually, and as the step asked me to do, I made a decision to try and turn problems over to the care of things outside of myself. The god/higher power/universal truth I know today works in mysterious ways; often through other people like John.


I did experiments at first in turning things over. It was very difficult for me. I did not trust and certainly did not trust structured religion things. I loved being in control, and had tried (and with some success for a while) to control people places and things. I began to turn certain things over to a god that I thought I might understand,; something outside of me. Funny, when I made a decision to do this, several of the things I turned over seemed to work out OK without my help.


As I progress on my journey, my concept of a higher power seems to constantly evolve. The consistent has been there is something that gives overall direction and that something IS NOT ME. That being said, I found something inside of me (and in many places) that does give good orderly direction, and proves to me there is good orderly direction, if I pay attention.


The question, how do I know when I've done Step 3. With this step, the answer for me is ongoing.


Way back when, and with the propting of Grumy, I made a decision to start turning some of my will and parts of my life over to this higher power as I understood it then. Over time, I learned to trust more and more, and turn more and more over.


For me, who still likes to take control, Step 3 is a daily step and is always work in progress. Each day I say the 3rd Step Prayer in my own fashion. I ask for relief from "self" and ask that for the day, I listen to and respond to the "voice" of a higher power I feel and have grown to love and trust. This higher power gives me "FREE WILL", and sometimes I do take control back, and many times the results are not very good when I do that.


Funny, when I remain conscious of my higher power and take the time to really turn things over, the outcomes are so much better and sleep is far less troubled!


For me, Step 3 was done early in the journey as best I could. I did make the decision asked for. But it remains work in progress, and I have to make the decision on a daily basis to "Turn It Over." I have achieved progress, not perfection.


-- keithb

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