Making a Decision
Looking at the twelve steps of recovery can be seriously intimidating, especially for people who don’t come from a spiritual background. There is a lot of talk about God, a higher power, and prayer, which has the potential to scare away a lot of atheists and agnostics. However, by keeping an open mind and giving the steps an honest shot, it becomes less and less intimidating as time goes on and the blessings of recovery begin to happen.
The Third Step
The third step in a program of recovery talks about turning our lives over to the care of a higher power. For people who don’t have faith in a higher power, this step can cause them to shut down.
If you’re anything like I was when I started my steps, I was utterly confused by step three. When I said the third step prayer, I really had no idea what it meant. I had a purely scientific mind, and I could explain every physical phenomenon to you through a mathematical equation or scientific study. In order for me to believe in something, I had to see it. I had to have an explanation for it. I didn’t believe that there was anything out there greater than human existence. I had no conception of a higher power whatsoever. The idea of prayer and meditation was something I resented. I certainly didn’t understand the concept of surrendering my life to God.
Thankfully, I was guided by a woman who had been in my shoes before and now had a strong relationship with a God of her understanding. She went from having a lack of faith to a woman who exhibited faith and grace in everything she did. She explained to me that the third step was merely making a decision to go through with the rest of the steps, giving them one honest, thorough shot. She told me that by making this decision and doing the rest of the steps, I would come to learn exactly who my higher power was and how to turn my life over to it.
A Turning Point
Up until the third step, we learn what our problem is and what will fix it. The first two steps are simply making the conclusion that we are powerless over substances and that we will always be addicts and alcoholics, but there is a way to relieve the crippling obsession that we suffer from. The third step is where the work begins.
The third step is a turning point in recovery because this is where we make a decision to keep going with the twelve steps that will relieve us of our obsession and ultimately save our lives. This is where we show a glimpse of faith that if this program worked for others, maybe it could work for us, too. This is where we begin to put action behind our own personal road to recovery.
Getting Rid of Self Centered Thinking
In the third step prayer we ask to be relieved from the bondage of self. This means we begin to be willing to get rid of selfish actions and self-centered thinking. While in active addiction, the addicted brain is consumed by selfish thoughts. Many of us did irrevocable things, at other people’s expense, to get the things we needed. Whether that be money, substances, or financial and emotional security, we were thinking about ourselves constantly.
If we continue thinking only about ourselves, there is no way for us to get rid of the obsession that causes us to drink or use. Helping other people, however, is how we begin to get outside of our own self centered thinking and begin to do the things we were destined to do. When we make a decision to go through with the rest of the steps, an integral part of this decision is beginning to think more about what we can do for others rather than what we can do for ourselves.
The Mustard Seed
A mustard seed is smaller than most other seeds that are used to grow plants. When you really think about it, it is miraculous that something so little can grow something so plentiful that it is used for a magnitude of different things we consume and use each day. You simply have to plant the mustard seed in a foundation of soil and water it on a regular basis to grow something useful.
In recovery, faith is like a mustard seed. All you need is the smallest about of faith in order to grow and flourish as a person in recovery that lives to serve and help others. This mustard seed can be as little as simply seeing that a twelve-step program of recovery has worked for others and believing that maybe it could work for you too. It can be as little as having the open-mindedness and willingness to go through with the rest of the steps.
Once you have that mustard seed of faith, you continue to water it by working the steps and living on spiritual principles. After a short amount of time, you will change into a completely new person who sees the world in a new light. You come to have a purpose to your existence by being useful to others. In the end, the third step isn’t as complex as it may seem. All we need to make this beginning is a mustard seed of faith to help us make the decision to recover from drug addiction or alcohol addiction
Chop wood, carry water