Step 3

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From the Foreword of the 12 & 12:  “A.A.’s Twelve Steps are a group of principles, spiritual in their nature, which, if practiced as a way of life, can expel the obsession to drink and enable the sufferer to become happily and usefully whole.”

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

The One Thing I Need To Know About Step 3:
Real Action Starts With a Decision

of this Step:


Reading Assignment:
BB: Pgs. 60-64 / 12&12:  Pgs. 33-41
(Read Online)

Literature Reference: “Faith has to work twenty-four hours a day in and through us, or we perish.” (Big Book – Page 16, Bill’s Story)

What Can I Surrender in this Step?

  • The person I was before taking these Steps.
  • My belief that I know better than God what is right for me.


Decisions are wonderful. Decision is defined as “making up one’s own mind.” Decisions resolve conflicts. For many, the conflict over drinking and not wanting to drink made a third step decision relatively simple. We were happy to turn over our drinking problem to God as we understood God. However, for many of us, we were not so willing to turn over other areas of our lives so readily.

This step helps shift our mindset from thinking directly into action. It opens the door to conforming our will to that of our Higher Power’s. Step 3 is the first step that requires real and continuous action. The first two steps focus on reflection and introspection. In Step 2, we learned to believe in a Power greater than ourselves (some call that faith). Step 3 allows us the place to solidify and act on our newfound faith in ways we never knew possible before coming to the rooms – some call that trust.

Have you ever wondered WHY (in the Third Step Prayer) we “offer ourselves to Thee?” Answer: So our Higher Power can “build with us and do with us as it will.” Have you ever wondered WHY we ask HP to “relieve us of the bondage of self?” Answer: So that “we may better do HP’s will.” Have you ever wondered WHY we ask HP to “take away our difficulties?” Answer: So that we fully understand that “victory over them may bear witness to those we would help of HP’s power, love and way of life.”

I heard someone share in a meeting once about Step 3 that it’s like when you take your car to a mechanic to have them fix or service it.  You trust that they will be able to get it all tuned up and ready to give back to you.  They don’t want to KEEP your car, they just want to get it in good working order so you can move on down the road.  Making the decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God (trusting God) is much the same thing.

As we’ve learned in our basic text, the spiritual life is not a theory – we must live it. This means we need to begin putting in practice those things that will ultimately be the foundation to the personality change sufficient to bring about recovery from alcoholism (once again proving that alcohol is not now, nor has it ever been the problem). It has been said that “We thought faith said, “I’ll take away the pain and discomfort,” but what it ended up really saying was, “I’ll sit with you in it. I’m here with you and we can walk through this together.”


If you depend on a higher power, you will lose your individuality. On the contrary, turning our will over to a Higher Power leads to true independence of the spirit. As we practice being conscious of a Higher Power, it will gradually turn from a hunch or occasional inspiration to an active, working part of our mind.


Taking a step displays a willingness to write inventory and allow it to surrender something within us. Write inventory on your most serious shortcomings around the practical application of this step in your life today (“How am I applying the principle found in this Step to every moment of my life?”).

In Your Personal Relationships:

  1. What am I doing today to surrender my personal relationships to God with enthusiasm?
  • Corrective Measure(s)?

At Work:

  1. What actions am I taking today to prove I’ve decided to surrender my work life and my career to God?
  2. What am I doing today to surrender my bank account balance to God and take action where I can on it?
  • Corrective Measure(s)?

With God and in A.A.:

  1. What has changed in me today where I show I trust the group conscience of my home group?
  2. Have I decided that I don’t always have the right answer?
  3. What actions have I taken today that remind me I made the decision to turn my will and my life over to the care of God as I understand God?
  • Corrective Measure(s)?


  1. Am I ready to embrace complete dependence on a Higher Power and view this dependence as a form of strength?
  2. Have I said the Third Step prayer out loud with another member of A.A. one on one?
  3. Am I prepared to make a commitment to turn myself over to something greater than myself? (My higher Power can be God, nature, the AA community-whatever feels right to you.)
  4. Am I fully ready to surrender so that I can have a quality sobriety?
  5. Am I ready to be relieved of the bondage of self?
  6. Am I prepared to live the spiritual life in all aspects of my everyday experience.
  7. Do I no longer hang on to loneliness? (loneliness can be regarded as a character defect.)
  8. Am I no longer secretly angry at God because my soul-mate has not appeared in my life?
  9. Am I no longer depressed because I don’t have the job or money I want? (We can define depression as being secretly angry at God because we don’t want to accept life as it’s given to us.)
  10. Am I no longer fearful about the outcome of my life? Do I trust my HP?
  11. Have I made a decision to turn my will and my life over to the care of a Higher Power?

(If you can answer yes to these questions, you’ve likely taken this Step)

“All Action Result From Thoughts – So It’s The Thoughts That Matter”
(Unless the phrase “We can’t think ourselves into right acting – but we can act ourselves into right thinking” works better for you.)