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Step Three: After the Decision
If you attend meetings on a regular basis, you will probably have the opportunity to read and share on all of the steps throughout a year. One of my women’s meetings works the step that corresponds to the month (January, Step One; February, Step Two, etc.). At times I think, “God, we have totally exhausted this step”. But the next time I encounter that same step, I hear something new or read something I feel I had never read before.
Our increasing spiritual maturity, what we encounter in our everyday lives (how we are living life on life’s terms) or maybe it is just how long we have been in recovery and how many times we have read the steps determines how better we understand and grasp their “suggestions”.
The third month, March, means a focus on Step Three. The reality, of course, is that we work the steps 365 days a year but for this short period of time, 31 days, I can make this step a priority. I cannot think of a step that has become more important to me especially within the last few months or that I have consciously worked at as hard and deliberate.
Step Three in all of the 12 Step programs that I am aware of is: “Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.” If you are new to recovery, yes, all you need do is make the decision. For me (and maybe for some of you who have been in recovery for a while) the decision-making is over and now I am at the difficult part…actually turning it over!
It is difficult because who doesn’t love the control? Today I realize that control didn’t get me anywhere but growing in this step has. I love Step Three (I say that about all of the steps). No really! I love this step because I can see how I have grown. When life hands me something I am not happy about, I feel and see the change in how I deal with it. It’s not perfect but it’s different…better different. I am convinced that it is God’s hand that “forces” us to change by giving us difficulties and challenges. And the best part is that even if we do not realize it, He gives us these when we are ready to handle them. We already know this because we hear the cliché constantly that God won’t give us anything we can’t handle. Step Three, however, instills the faith and trust that this is in fact, true.
I have had my share of difficulties lately. I don’t think God is testing me. I think God is giving me an opportunity to grow spiritually and emotionally. Today I accept that opportunity by praying more, meditating more, using my God box (a favorite “tool” in the toolbox), and being in gratitude for what I do have.
A few days ago I had a very important meeting. I honestly prayed about it because “popular” opinion was that I should forget the meeting and move on. I was confused and had to dig deep inside of myself to make sure my motives for this meeting were pure. I asked for a sign and really didn’t get one until the morning of the meeting. I always look at my horoscope in the morning. Will it be a one star day or a five star day? I honestly don’t put stock in this and never let it determine my day. But every now and then something throughout the day will happen and I will recall the horoscope and will have that “Aha” moment. “So that’s what it meant!”
My horoscope that morning was simple. It said, “Defer and you will get the results you desire”. I kind of panicked thinking that it was telling me to just stay home but then I realized if I did, I could never get the results. I was sitting in the lobby of the meeting place when I realized that I had to defer this to God. It was in His hands and if I could let go with faith and trust that He would take care of me, it would bring about desired results. God doesn’t want us to just sit around and let Him do the work. So I took action and attended the meeting.
When I got home, I decided that if I really believed that God talked to me via my horoscope, then I had to write it down and physically turn it over by putting it in my God box. I no longer have to think about this problem. I have turned it over. I do not know exactly what the “desired results” will be or when they will happen. I do know that it can only happen when the timing is right and that certainly won’t be up to me! If it were, tomorrow would be good!
Step Three is personal. No one can honestly tell you how to do it; how to feel; what to think. Each of us finds our own way and that way is between you and your Higher Power. I am going to repeat a sentence someone emailed me last week. I’ve written it before but it is perfect for Step Three and with the Serenity Prayer has become my mantra. Many of you have heard it but if you have not, here it is and please “pass it on”. “The will of God will never take you where the grace of God will not protect you.” Say it every day. Believe and feel the peace, love and freedom that are ours when we can “let go and let God”!
Namaste’. May you walk your journey in peace and harmony.
Like Grateful Recovery on Facebook. Kathy L. is the author of "The Intervention Book: Stories and Solutions from Addicts, Professionals and Families" (Conari Press)
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