“Funny how we used to crave the drinker, the drug, and now we crave the peace and serenity that touches us in sobriety” Anonymous.
AA meetings are an excellent time to reflect on how life was, review what working the AA program is all about, and revel in what life is like now. If you haven't plugged in, give it a try; plug in, if only temporarily, to start. We have a link to AA Meeting Finder Apps in the sober.coffee resource room. To those plugged in - We suggest you immerse yourself in the experience and deeply connect to the memory of what was and the miracle of what is.
The steps of 12-step recovery are laid out sequentially. They are numbered; they are not a bulleted list. They are designed to be worked in order and strongly suggested to be worked with the sponsor.
Some say the first three steps are the cornerstone of building a robust program. So if you want strength in sobriety, ensure your foundation is solid. Trying to build any structure on a weak foundation will ultimately lead to collapse or, in our case, relapse.
The first three steps are also important in that they set the course. Suppose we were to set out to walk to New York City from Chicago on a straight path. It would be important that the direction of our feet is set the right way. If our feet are pointed towards Atlanta, it will be Atlanta that we end up in. Choose your destination and set your feet on the right, of course.
So, after admitting that we had no power to conquer the drink problem (step 1) and agreeing that something existed that could change our destiny (step 2), we arrive at Step 3, which suggests: we “made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand him.”
Let that sink in for a minute and feel the conflict that most sense as they attempt to absorb the concept of surrender.
Surrender, so often, is seen as an act of weakness. We concur that nobody wants to feel or be viewed as weak. The tattered team, the battered army, and the broken individual always concede to the stronger source. If we have come to the end of our strength, maybe it is time to raise the white flag.
It is through surrender that we find survival.
Here is where we see the magic of Alcoholics Anonymous begin to appear: This founding 12-step program does not demand that we buy into anybody else's conception or understanding of who created this universe or who is controlling it now. The bold reality we discovered in Step 2 is that we are not the creator of all, the controller of all and that the world is not contingent on our being.
And to be clear, there is no transformational moment post surrender that has the God of your understanding filling out your to-do lists or calendar for the day, week, or month. What you get when you give up is the confidence that you are directionally set. What you will eat today, whom you will golf with and how you will spend your free time will be left to your devices. With the captain at the ship's helm, you will find that you won't have to worry about the vessel's direction.
Our addiction was the little bottle that controlled the big man. The more we tried to captain the ship, the more captain we drank. The more we tried to control “it,” the more “it” controlled us.
The most important third step is surrendering to the first two steps. Simply put, number 1 - I've got a problem with alcohol, number 2 - I can't fix it on my own; and then number 3 - I need to turn it over to someone, something, some other that I believe will manage the battle better.
Earlier, we strongly suggested that the steps be worked with the sponsor (Somebody who has worked on the 12 steps and is willing to guide you through what the big book of
Alcoholics Anonymous maps out and how that guidance worked for them). We can only tell you what has worked for countless individuals, and that is this simple fact: there is no better resource for the alcoholic than somebody who has recovered from this seemingly helpless state of mind and body.
And please remember that the step we talked about today, step 3, is only about making a decision, not about the definition and certainly not about determination. Simply a decision. We encourage you not to overthink it but also counsel you not to underplay it.
Make the decision!
We promise that releasing the control factor off one’s self will be replaced with peace and serenity beyond measure. Little bits of and touches to start - and more and more as time goes by.
As the man on the TV says, “we guarantee it.”
Thoughts and ideas for this blog post were taken and built upon from sober.coffee podcast #3 Titled: “Step 3 - Made a Decision” The podcast dropped on 4/21/2021 click here to hear the podcast
Alcoholics Anonymous and AA are registered trademarks of Alcoholics World Service. Inc. References to AA, the 12 steps, and 12 traditions does not mean that AA has reviewed or approved the contents of this publication, nor that AA agrees with the views expressed herein. This publication is intended to support personal growth and should not be thought of as a substitute for advice of healthcare professionals. The authors advice and viewpoints are their own.