Posted by: RealisticRecovery | May 21, 2009

Step 3: Sweet Surrender

wow! this is a really great post on Step 3 from ” a 45+ woman, a sometime political activist and a professional writer who lives in the Overberg region of South Africa” over at her blog Letting Go

Sweet Surrender

Taking a break from Nanowrimo to reflect on sobriety. What makes everything else possible.

Tagged by Hank at In God’s Hands to write on Step 3, a chance to look again at my own early recovery and what worked for me.

Step 3:  Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of a Higher Power as we understood that Higher Power.

In the rooms I have heard many people say that they made ‘a decision’ to turn their will and lives over, since they were not yet ready to turn anything over in reality. This is not true of me. I had committed myself wholeheartedly to the first two Steps and had no problem surrendering completely. It came as a relief to do so.
As I have said before, alcoholism had damaged me in many, many ways. I was emotionally bankrupt and did not trust my own instincts on anything. I had many interesting and contradictory notions about the divine, but I had no idea who I might be, let alone what kind of God might be out there or in here.
So I decided to trust whatever guiding spirit lay behind the collective wisdom of AA. I turned my life over to the wisdom that had helped so many others get sober. I decided that until such time as I might be able to recognise or name another kind of Higher Power, I was going to trust the Good Orderly Direction guiding a Group of Drunks. The care and genuine concern I had found  amongst my fellow recovering alcoholics was a place to begin. They were sober and I wanted what they had, so I would believe in what had helped them get sober.
And it worked. I felt then and still feel enormous gratitude to the Higher Power that saved my life. Today I associate this Higher Power with the miracle of AA recovery. I don’t try to fit myself into any theological straitjackets. It doesn’t bother me how anyone else finds or names his or her Higher Power. Right now, in early recovery, I am entirely committed to the guiding wisdom of AA.
If I had buried myself under a tonne of concrete for 20 years, I could not have hammered myself any harder. Alcoholism shattered my psyche and blunted my emotions almost beyond recognition. Time after time, I have heard men or women talking about not having had to go to prison or not losing homes or the custody of their children. They talk as if oblivious of the utter numbness and ethical blank that constitutes their inner being. I can see that blank because that is me. I came out of those drunken lost years null and void. Selfish to the core.
I wouldn’t and couldn’t recognise ‘God’ or any non-AA concept of the divine because I had lost all powers of discrimination. I had lived a lie for so long I was incapable of telling truth from falsehood.
Sobriety is a sharp and fast learning curve. It amazes me how we do recover in all senses of the word. Feeling flows back, the habit of telling the truth at least once a day steeps into us, we keep doing the next right and good thing and slowly goodness shapes us. We become what we are practising, what we do.
Which is why I always think of Step 3 in connection with the Promises. Newcomers are often puzzled by the talk of living a life ‘beyond our wildest dreams’. This is not about prosperity or romantic fantasy or living happily ever after. It is about being transformed from a self-seeking, self-pitying monster into a person who has something to offer others. It is about becoming an ordinary and vulnerable and humble member of the human community, another bozo on the bus.
And it has to do with peace of mind. We stop thinking about ourselves all the time and we start thinking about being there for others and living productive, useful lives. Not sentimental rescuing and flattering of others as we once liked to be flattered or saved from ourselves. A hard, truthful and loyal agape love.
I turned over my will and my life, insofar as I was capable of doing this, to the care of my Higher Power. This is what it has brought me.

The Promises:
‘We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.
We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.
We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace.
No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.
That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear.
We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows.
Self-seeking will slip away.
Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change.
Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us.
We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.
We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.’

source: Letting Go



  1. Thanks for the mention but I am a little puzzled as to why you are putting up my entire post here?

  2. I just finished step 3. i am having a very difficult time accepting life as it is right now. I just don’t know how to stop fighting the everyday wars that are consuming my thougth.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: