Step 3: In 2 Deep

The first requirement is that we be convinced that any life run on self-will can hardly be a success. ~ Alcoholics Anonymous, p 60

The following questions come from the Step 3 Not So Scary Worksheet:

  • What person causes me the most stress no matter what I try?
  • What am I afraid will happen if they don’t listen to me?
  • What have I done to control this person or situation?
  • Is it working?

The amount of stress I was experiencing from trying to control my own life and the lives of those I love, was causing me so much emotional pain and fear that I had to just…stop. I couldn’t keep it up anymore. Not only was I miserable, but the people around me were miserable. They started complaining. Eventually, I couldn’t ignore them any longer.

It didn’t happen quickly. It was a process that started with admitting I had a problem: a control problem. And it started at home. I couldn’t even control me. I had to think about what I was thinking, for a change.

I finally admitted that any life run on self-will can hardly be a success. Whether I was trying to get my own way with life’s circumstances, or my way of controlling others, it was not working. I could hardly function anymore. I was in too deep.

I was 55 before I started to seriously question my life. Until then, I just tried to seriously control it. I admit control is not a possibility. It’s life, after all. Being me (and not God), I’m not going to be in control anytime soon, either. There’s a set of boot straps on the closet floor that reminds me of this.

As a result of pain, I’ve accepted the guidance from some Old Timers in Alcoholics Anonymous. Whether an alcoholic or not, it has become evident to me that self-will is a natural, but unproductive, reaction to life. Even ‘normies’ suffer from it.  I’ve saved my frayed bootstraps to remind me that no matter how hard I pull on them, I can’t satisfactorily control my own life. That other pile of straps? If we’ve known each other for a while, maybe one of those is yours: evidence that I cannot satisfactorily run your life, either.

PS: Being a teacher, I love worksheets. Maybe you don’t. Just for fun, I’m breaking down the Not So Scary Step 3 Worksheet into a few segments. Want to play along, or are those bootstraps working for ya?