Mar 01 2013

Using Step Three

Published by at 2:55 pm under Using the Steps

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

Welcome to Using Al-Anon’s Twelve Steps in Our Personal Lives from Al-Anon Family Groups. This is a series of podcasts to discuss how Al-Anon members use the basic principles of Al-Anon.

Today we’re going to ask Al-Anon members how they used Step Three to help them overcome the impacts of a loved one’s drinking.

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21 comments on “Using Step Three”

  1. mandy says:

    This podcast helped me after my meeting today and after writing and still not feeling happy.
    I heard the Al-anon member say she brought God into her life for a simple subject matter and for helping her love someone when she didn’t want to.
    I know I am getting in trouble when I feel that no one is recognizing my feelings and what is beneath all my ideas for changing my life. Well, maybe I am the one who needs to recognize my feelings and decide for myself rather than look to others for what I should do. And when I cannot decide, I open up to God or my higher power in helping me decide.

  2. Monica says:

    This Step reminds me of a fish that is caught on a fishing line. I find myself fighting tooth and nail when I am scared. But when I give in and let myself be put in the boat, a great calmness descends on me. The outcome is not in my hands. If the worst happens or the best, it is not in my hands — but I at least do not have the desperation that comes with the struggle .

    I can look with better clarity on the direction my higher power has shown. He doesn’t tell which way, but shows me I have choices. The choices are mine. I can continue with the path that is the same, or choose one of the others. Whichever path I choose, he is still there supporting me with his love. He allows me to learn about myself and is there when things go right or go wrong. Turning my life over to his care, to me is allowing me to have faith that he is there no matter what.

  3. Steve says:

    One of my challenges with this Step was how exactly do I “make a decision to turn my will over”? What if I believe what I believe and I just can’t seem to do it? It was a part of the same challenge I had with Step #2, how do I “come to believe”? I can’t help what I think, can I?

    By contrast, Step #4, which is a concrete action, seemed easier to me because I can physically do that without trying to change my thinking.

    I asked my Sponsor these questions, and he suggested that I “act as if.” He asked me, in light of my agnosticism/atheism, if I would be willing to do the act of praying every day on my knees even though I didn’t “believe.” He suggested that we don’t think our way into new ways of acting, we act our way into new ways of thinking. This was a path forward for me because it was an actual action that I could do, so I was willing to do this.

    My Sponsor also suggested reciting a 3rd Step prayer each day. He suggested doing “mirror work” where I looked into the mirror each morning and say, “Good morning, Steve. There is nothing that can happen today that you and I cannot handle together. Love, God.”

    What these actions and others did was give me a direction to follow (that I would never have chosen on my own) that allowed me to develop a dialogue with my Higher Power, whatever that may be for me.

    Maybe we need a level of familiarity and/or intimacy with something or someone before we are able to turn our will over, and these actions seemed to be the foundation by which I was eventually able to do this. I’ve prayed every day for almost 2 years, and I’ve gotten through Step #3 now and am currently working on Step #4!

  4. Annie J. says:

    Wow! Thanks for these awesome uplifting messages!

  5. Lu H. says:

    My husband and I have been married for 14 years. He didn’t have a relapse until 4 years after we were married. I didn’t think it would happen again, so I was very supportive and kind in helping him, and he did go to counseling after that relapse.

    A few years later and it’s been a roller coaster ride. He goes for a few weeks, maybe a month or two, and then he goes on a binge — sometimes for days. I worried, got mad, became depressed and many more negative emotions in trying to get him to stop.

    I used to think I had a strong faith in God as I am a Christian, attend church, and read my Bible. I guess my faith is not as strong as it should be. I like Step Three, give it to God.

    I have not attended Al-Anon, but will start attending meetings to help me. I am thankful that I found this site and listened to a few podcasts. I really liked the story about making the coffee and will be praying that God will show me how to love and show His kindness to my husband.

  6. Chris says:

    Thank you for being here. I crashed and burned 3 weeks ago and became someone I was not proud of, said horrible, painful things. I said them, I own them. Have not seen him since, nor has anyone else. We know where he is and that he is safe. He is in God’s hands now. I just have to stop taking situations back and work on me. I know my higher power is there for both of us.

  7. Usha says:

    My name is Usha, a very grateful Al-Anon member. Life would have been very difficult without Al-Anon. I came to my first meeting with a confused mind and total loss of hope. I didn’t know what is program, what are Steps and Traditions. But once I started studying this program and applying it to my personal as well as my work life, it created wonders in my life. I started saying the Serenity Prayer daily, but I actually started understanding the meaning of prayer when I started practicing the Steps.

    First two Steps were difficult to practice initially, as it was difficult for me to accept that I am powerless, the one who is competent. And in the Second Step I could not believe that I was insane, or what is insanity, because I had never recognised these traits of mine. But my Higher Power showed me the same by putting me into various difficult situations–that I am fearful, I am resentful, I am controlling, I am jealous, etc. and I need not go into self-pity every time I experience any humiliating situation, as I am powerless over certain situations, behaviours–though I tried to change those behaviours, situations, by exerting my will.

    With acceptance of powerlessness and belief in my Higher Power, I proceeded with the decision to turn my will and my life over to the God of my understanding. When I truly surrendered to my Higher Power the things, the persons, over which I was powerless and came to believe that my Higher Power will restore me to sanity, I was able to truly surrender to my Higher Power, and detached myself from that situation. By attending meetings, applying slogans, I always got help from my Higher Power at the perfect time. I am really very grateful to Al-Anon and this wonderful fellowship! Thank you, all of you.

  8. Jenni S says:

    My Higher Power always guides me in the right direction and today I found these lovely podcasts. Thank you, and to those folks who wrote comments. As a newie to Al-Anon I found great comfort in all your comments. Loved the four “C’s.” Thank you

  9. Zaidie says:

    I am confused as to why in Step Three we speak of God as we understood Him. That is in the past tense.

  10. Kay says:

    In crisis, calm instead of chaos is a choice. These 4 Cs help me stay focused on my healthy boundaries for the good of all those around me. I like to pray early in the day, “All I want to know today is your will for my life and your power to carry that out.”

    At night I enjoy praying, “Thank you for showing me your will for my life today and thank you for your power helping me to do it.” Throughout my day I find these 4 Cs remind me I don’t have to live in crisis anymore and, when I feel challenged, I can choose to remain calm in someone else’s chaos.

  11. Wandy says:

    I also was able to feel love for my husband again. I was feeling a lot of anger and resentment and sometimes hatred toward him, and then I felt guilty for feeling that way. Al-Anon has changed me for the better. I see myself growing each day.

    I smiled at the coffee story. A little kindness can go a long way. I’m starting to trust again, and I will admit letting go is very hard–I sometimes have to remind myself, but it’s getting easier. Love to all.

  12. Lu says:

    I value hearing others’ experiences, but I think in terms of equal representation, it would be helpful to hear someone who does not define their HP as “god.” There are so many alternative belief systems out there that are just as viable.

  13. John says:

    This is very well done. What comes across is a simple, from-the-heart reality that applies to my own situation. Powerful and inspired.

  14. Sharon says:

    Thank you for the podcast; I am new to Al-Anon. I started my own group in a small Alaskan village after recognizing my own need and the needs of others. It’s been good and I have so much to learn. I am not where I need to be, but I am not where I was, either–in despair and depression. I am thankful for Al-Anon and the principles and teachings that have brought sanity back into my life, despite the drinking that still exists.

  15. Jenni W says:

    I was feeling desperate this morning–like I needed to go upstairs right now and tell my husband how he is destroying our lives and how I don’t feel loved by him and that I don’t understand how he can be so uncaring, etc., etc., etc.

    I am so grateful that I “stumbled” onto this podcast just now. I don’t believe I really stumbled–I believe it is my higher power offering the help I need, just the words I need to hear. I must admit that I am holding onto this will of mine. If I get help then my husband will realize that he needs help too. Guess what? That’s not happening!! Surprise, surprise. Maybe it’s because I am still exerting my will and not letting my higher power take the reins.

    The coffee story is just what I need to hear. I need to treat my husband as a child of God and myself too. If I am being honest, the way I treat my husband and myself as well is just harsh. I am still trying to manipulate what happens in my relationship with my husband because I am so scared that I will be hurt by him. Fear is so powerful in my life. I am trying to learn to trust my higher power. Why not just give it a try, right? That is something I have never truly done, completely trusted in that power.

  16. Laurie says:

    I so appreciate the podcasts, listening to the narrator’s voice and hearing the members’ sharings. I mention the podcasts in my home group meeting, along with other podcasts available on the members’ website.

    I try to remind myself of the first three Steps each morning, but recently I realized that I somewhat automatically turn my life and my will over to the care of my Higher Power without really feeling the CARE that the Third Step holds. I know I am always guided, but feeling the caring makes me more likely to realize that each event of my day happens because of that care.

  17. Ben r. says:

    Wow, love the podcast idea and love the sharing. I heard a lot of humility and perseverance in the coffee story. When I first came to the program six years ago I wanted all my problems to disappear overnight. Plus because my primary spiritual malady is trying to control what I cannot, I thought that it was my job to make them disappear!!!

    Thank you, Al-Anon, for suggesting that I not make any major decisions for a year. That first year provided me with a loving and supportive foundation for real recovery to set in. Today I know that there are no quick fixes in my life, but only a steady path that other members of our loving fellowship invite me to walk down with them.

  18. Holly says:

    Thank you for the podcasts and comments. I learn something each month. Step 3 is the first time I realized and accepted that I am a beloved child of my Higher Power and I am worthy of His Grace.

  19. Sari says:

    I really like the calm and clarity in the voices here.

  20. Connie says:

    I am always amazed at how God brings things to me–what I need when I need it. The comment made in this podcast, “No one needed to change in order for me to get better,” was something I needed to hear today and will keep for life. Thank you.

  21. Judy E. says:

    Thank you, Al-Anon, for posting these podcasts on the Steps. These give me little 7 minute meetings. Step Three gave me the opportunity to learn how to trust my Higher Power. The Step says, “…turn our will and our lives over to the care of God…” The word “care” helped to remind me that “care” is gentle, kind, loving, and careful.

    When I was first learning the Steps, my god was judgmental, harsh, and scary. I didn’t trust that God would do things the way I wanted them done. When I finally tried this Step–made a DECISION to try this Step–I found that a weight had lifted off of my shoulders. I didn’t have to use my energy to fix the chaos in my life and in my home. I could focus on myself, and my needs for health and well-being. I finally learned to trust my Higher Power. Sure, I try to take back control some days, but I can always return it to the care of God at any time.

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