Step Three of twelve begins a mental discipline. Made a decision to turn our will and life over to the care of God as we understood him.
So three frogs are sitting on a log, one decides to jump in. How many frogs are on the log? Three – he made a decision – he didn’t jump. That is an old joke around 12 Step Programs. Make a decision – then act on it.
But why? Why would someone new to a program make such a momentous decision? Turn your will and life over to the care of something that you don’t even understand? Something that one does not trust – the experience of many in their respective religions has not always been rewarding. On the surface this does not seem logical.
The answer is simple – Faith. It is faith because a person is being asked to do something that they do not understand or have knowledge of. They are being asked to take a leap, with the outcome uncertain.
Faith is not totally blind, nor is it totally unfounded. In this case there are many millions of people who testify that this is the process that saved them from the hopeless state of mind and body of addiction. With that testimony – many are willing to take this leap; to make this decision, to take this step. It feels like a leap – but it is just a step.
There are other important issues at stake. What exactly is will? Self Will? The demand is that one give up one’s self will in favor of some sort of will bestowed by a Higher Power. At an early stage of recovery from addiction this does not feel very comfortable. There is little clarity between self will and God’s will. Again – one does not have to completely understand – all that is required is faith. It is faith in a clearly defined process – not necessarily faith in an obscure thought of superstition. This is snot an unreasonable request.
The real brilliance of 12 Step Programs rests in the last four words of Step 3 – ‘…as we understood him…’ This is not meant to confuse or discount any understanding of a Higher Power. It is quite the opposite. This is a statement of inclusion. It is a statement of religious tolerance. Baptists and Catholics, Islamics and Jewish, all accepted, all inclusive. The idea is that each member is to try to understand the faith of the other and to try to help the other to use their faith in their healing process – and the service is returned in kind.
Some have cheapened the concept by declaring a door knob or a coke bottle as their Higher Power – it is cute but not very smart and not representative of mature 12 Step work.
Step three is an important transition from desperation to making progress in a life of recovery from the pain and horror of addiction. Have faith in this: “…more will be revealed…” Anyone can choose to take this step, and they can choose to stop, to get off the bandwagon, at anytime. Taking this step does not require a tattoo on the forehead.
See Also: On Addiction