How Alcoholics Anonymous Third Step Prayer Works

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

When a newcomer is in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous, the third step prayer can cause some confusion.

Often people will say to do the third step prayer, someone has to “just turn it over.” Other times, newcomers are told to just keep going to meetings until they get it.

But there is more to the step than simply going to meetings or mentally trying to turn it over to God.

If that were the case and it worked, then all we would need to do is say a simple prayer to God and have faith and we would be cured of our alcoholism, and we would never drink again.

But for the chronic alcoholic, few remedies work for full, long-term recovery. To better understand how to take the third step, let’s quickly look at steps one and two.

Step One of Alcoholics Anonymous: Admitted we were powerless over alcohol and that our lives have become unmanageable.

Many people who go to A.A. meetings have experienced step one. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they understand the step and what it means for the real alcoholic.

The symptoms of alcoholism affect everyone the same. The symptoms are that when someone starts drinking, they are going to do way more than they thought they were going to do, or once they stop, they are going to drink or use again.

For alcoholics and addicts, we have a problem with our minds and bodies.

When drinking, the body has a manifestation of an allergy when we start drinking. Our bodies physically want more alcohol and we will not stop.

Eventually, however, a consequence will occur like, divorce, car wreck, jail, unemployment. When this happens, the alcoholic wakes up and emerges remorseful with a strong resolution to never drink again.

The second part of the disease of alcoholism is that we can’t stay stopped. No matter how bad the consequences or how much we have harmed people we love, we will drink again.

Our mind tells us after a while that it is okay to drink. No matter what happened the last time we went on a spree, this time it is going to be different. We drink again and the vicious cycle happens again.

We take a drink. We go on a spree. Consequences happen. We stop. Then for whatever reason, our mind tells us it is okay to do it again.

This is the true powerlessness of alcoholism. We are without defense against the first drink.

The scary thing is, which the Doctor’s Opinion states, we cannot differentiate the truth from the false, and we think how we live our alcoholic life is actually normal.

Truly understanding that you are going to drink again — no matter what — is the first step in recovery.

We learned that we had to fully concede to our innermost selves that we were alcoholics. This is the first step in recovery. The delusion that we are like other people, or presently may be, has to be smashed.

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Step Two of Alcoholics Anonymous: Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

Step two is easier to do than to actually explain. It takes longer to explain it than it does to do it.

Treatment centers and different A.A. groups and sponsors have different ways of showing their clients and members this step.

Many times when someone is in treatment or going to meetings, they have tried almost everything they know to get sober. But they have not tried the spiritual component of it.

They may have had moral convictions, but they could not live up to them. What the steps can do is give you a new attitude towards life and yourself.

One of the few ways an addict or alcoholic can get this new attitude is by getting connected to a higher power. Lack of power is our true problem, we need to get connected to something that is bigger than ourselves.

Taking step two is simple.

“We needed to ask ourselves but one short question. “Do I now believe, or am I even willing to believe, that there is a Power greater than myself?” As soon as a man can say that he does believe, or is willing to believe, we emphatically assure him that he is on his way. It has been repeatedly proven among us that upon this simple cornerstone a wonderfully effective spiritual structure can be built.”

Many people who are atheist or agnostic are reluctant to ask for a high power’s help. But no matter how inadequate your conception of something that is bigger than you is, it is okay.

Perhaps you don’t believe in God but are you at least willing to try to get connected to something bigger than you? Willingness is indispensable. If the answer is yes, then you are ready for step three.

Step Three of Alcoholics Anonymous: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

In step three, the first three words are the most important. Made a decision.

You are making a decision: Are you going to continue to manage and control your alcoholism in step one? Or are you going to try something completely different in step two and seek help from a high power?

Once you decide to take certain steps, then you start by taking action. The first action step is step four.

But here is the thing that gets confused in many A.A. circles.

Many people will use an A.A. slogan, like “Just turn it over.” But that’s not right.

Here’s an analogy: If you are at home and decide you need to go to the grocery store, have you gone to the grocery store yet? No. After you make a decision to go to the grocery store, you need to get your keys and drive to the store.

The same is true for step three. If you decide to turn your will and your life over to the care of God, after you decide, you still need to do the rest of the 12 steps.

And once you begin, you will start turning your will and life over to the care of God. Your attitude will start changing and the way you think, operate, and react to life will be different.

This is the true meaning of step three.

God, I offer myself to Thee-
To build with me
and to do with me as Thou wilt.
Relieve me of the bondage of self,
that I may better do Thy will.
Take away my difficulties,
that victory over them may bear witness
to those I would help of Thy Power,
Thy Love, and Thy Way of life.
May I do Thy will always!