Step 3: Gargantua Tarantula

In February I had thousands of dollars of unanticipated expenses: repairs to my RV and gutting the bathroom in my rental house. I charged motel bills while I waited for my RV repairs, paid the contractors and prayed for a responsible renter. In March I face an IRS bill of thousands, the house taxes are due, and I’m carrying a sizable credit card debt for the first time in a long time. This is not what I planned for 2012.

Can we say fear? Decidedly. Gargantua Tarantula. When fear creeps into my gut, I know I need to revisit Step 3.

We were now at Step Three. Many of us said to our Maker, as we understood Him: “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!” We thought well before taking this step making sure we were ready; that we could at last abandon ourselves utterly to Him.
~ Alcoholics Anonymous, 2012, p 63

It is when we try to make our will conform with God’s that we begin to use it rightly. To all of us, this was a most wonderful revelation. Our whole trouble had been the misuse of willpower. We had tried to bombard our problems with it instead of attempting to bring it into agreement with God’s intention for us. ~ Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, 2012, p 40

So, based on these quotes, saying the prayer isn’t all it takes to do Step 3, is it? I’m not done with Step 3 just because I said the prayer once. That’s why Step 3 is worded like it is. I look at it again:

Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him. ~ Alcoholics Anonymous, 2012, p 59.

We made the decision, we prayed the prayer and then we began the practice of Step 3. That means we make a daily decision to practice the steps—all of them. The program is specific. It’s 12 Steps, not 2. The Old Timers that I love and respect are those who have serenity today from taking all 12 Steps. Also, they didn’t just take them once and forget them. They daily rely on them as a guide for living.

When I revisit Step 3 and find I still lack the peace I’m needing, I can be grateful to Bill W for the following from page 41 of Step 3 in the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.

In all times of emotional disturbance or indecision, we can pause, ask for quiet, and in the stillness simply say: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference. Thy will, not mine, be done.”


PS: Fear comes from the illusion that I should be in control.