Step Three: Spiritual Principles

Congratulations on being on Step Three!

This is a wonderful step that marks the end of thinking and the beginning of serious action.

Many say that this step is where they truly found peace and freedom from the obsession of addiction, as they turned the key of willingness in the lock of self-will.

That is the good news.

The perhaps not-so-good news is, Step Three really never ends.

Like many of the Twelve Steps, Step Three is not a step we take just once; most people find the door slamming shut behind their self-will many times each day, let alone in an entire lifetime of sobriety.

For many of us in addiction treatment and recovery, Step Three is front and center as we continue to make the decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of a Higher Power.

Step 3 is a Decision with Powerful Principles Behind It

Notwithstanding the necessity of making the Step 3 decision over and over again, it is just that: a decision.

Reviewing the evidence, we have to decide whether to turn our will and our lives – or, as it has also been expressed, our thinking and our actions – over to the care of God as we understood him.

The evidence can be handily summed up by the ABCs on page 60 of the Big Book:

  1. That we were alcoholic (addict) and could not manage our own lives
  2. That probably no human power could have relieved our alcoholism
  3. That God could and would if He were sought

Of course, accepting these tenets requires certain spiritual principles.

The first is Faith.

We had to come to believe that, though we couldn’t do much alone about our own drug or alcohol problem, that there was a loving Higher Power of some kind who could and would help us: first by putting an end to the merciless obsession to drink and use, and secondly by guiding us through recovery and life.

The next principle involved is Surrender.

Once we have declared that we need help, and are willing to believe that a Higher Power can provide it, the next logical step is to put that belief to the test and surrender our thoughts and actions to that power.

The third principle is the one that will truly put us to the test: Willingness.

I Can’t. Higher Power Can. I Think I’ll Let It.

Some say that’s all there is to Step 3: repeated willingness to step back and let a Higher Power take the driver’s seat.

Of course, this principle of willingness does not need to be exercised every waking moment; we can hardly be said to be ‘taking our will back’ when deciding what colour socks to put on or what to make for dinner.

Obviously, as recovering addicts and alcoholics, we have immense strengths and skill sets already that don’t necessarily require communing with God before taking action.

It never hurts to seek the guidance and wisdom of our Higher Power; the habit is a good one to develop so that when we really do need to let a higher consciousness take over, we’ll feel comfortable asking for spiritual help and accepting spiritual advice.

By having faith, surrendering to the will of a Higher Power as we understand it, then showing the willingness to do so repeatedly when we need help, we will start reaping the rewards of recovery, trusting that we’ll be taken care of every step of the way.

About the Authors

Renascent Staff
The staff at Renascent is passionate about helping people with substance addictions so they can reach their full recovery – with compassion, respect, empathy and understanding. Our staff includes our counsellors, all of whom have lived experience of addiction and recovery.

One response to “Step Three: Spiritual Principles

  1. Am thrilled to have found this article. I couldn’t have asked for more!
    Please keep them coming? I need ALL the help I can get to get through my Step Work.

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