Step 3, One Day at a Time

This week a long-time member guest posts about their experience with step 3.

As I became acquainted with the steps, the more I began to feel anxious about step 3. In some ways, step 3 is the first step to as a commitment from me. What does it mean to give myself and my life over to the care of God? To me, it didn’t really matter that it was a god of my understanding. The bottom line was I was pledging to leave the actions and decisions of my life to someone or something else. The lack of control—which as a child I experienced as painful and humiliating—was something I vowed never to endure again. Not in a job. Not in relationships. And so I went about my merry way—only it wasn’t too merry.

So, when I allowed myself to even contemplate the third step, the first image that came to me was of a mostly deflated balloon, with no direction. Without the helium of my personality, who would I be or become? I felt as if the third step was asking me to rid myself of everything I was or knew (as if that would even be possible!) and allow the program to brainwash me. Was it a cult, as I ‘d read online?

In time, I began to see that the third step was not the first step in becoming a humorless automaton but an invitation to become an active cocreator in my emotional and spiritual healing. What I was saying yes to was not deprivation and loss but real power to conduct the life I was meant to live—full of integrity, meaning, joy, sorrow, compassion, and love. I was agreeing to do the right thing, and I’d be given the necessary power if only I asked. My childish “wants,” which were mercurial and unending, were put aside until it was clear whether they were important or just distractions or illusions. Nothing I needed was kept from me, but lots of things I thought I needed were examined.

I am slowly (and I mean really slowly) becoming disciplined. I can see that discipline equals freedom. Discipline with food, discipline around not acting out my mercurial feelings, discipline around fulfilling obligations to others and myself.

Step 3 is necessary to work the steps that follow. But I also see that I have step 3 work to do when I bristle at doing something I don’t want to do or when I want to eat something I shouldn’t. Yes it is a step I take before I being making my moral inventory, but it’s also a step that I can take each and every day.