Step 3: Examine Inconsistencies

It was Spring. We were on a photo shoot, driving along a wondrous coastal road between the woods on our left and the Pacific on our right when these beautiful words fairly begged to be captured.

Later, we learned that the young woman who had painted this hidden stretch of blacktop was just escaping an abusive relationship. While still in tears, she had grabbed a girlfriend, some paint and headed to the coastal back roads. How inconsistent! Sometimes inconsistencies are a good sign. Her art was the tribute to a new way of thinking. She was beaten down but had not given up.

Before AA, I had all but given up. Since working the steps, I make a concerted effort, to be honest with myself. Here’s the confession: When I’m doing well, it’s not really me doing it. It’s the power within. This is an inconsistency that’s worth noting—a welcome change from life before the Steps of AA.

Simple Equation: Me – God = Self-centered Deception

Sometimes inconsistencies are warning signs:

  • If I say my problems are the result of how I was raised and not of my own making, the truth is not in me.
  • If I say I am working the program and I ignore the work of steps 3 through 12, the truth is not in me.
  • If I say I don’t play God, yet I tell others what to do with their lives, the truth is not in me.
  • If I say I was sane before I got to AA, the truth is not in me.

The truth is in me if I live in a way that is consistent with the truth and I practice the presence of God. When I do that, I am peaceful and in harmony with others. When I let my own selfish will take control, chaos reigns—it’s my nature. It’s what’s in me when God is absent.


Examine Inconsistencies


on an abuser’s face

bare feet on a beach

in the snow

road art

from the hand of a survivor


PS: How do you spot inconsistencies? If you want to examine your own, try the Not So Scary Worksheets