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The Third Step: “In God I Trust”


When I approach the Third Step of the “Twelve Steps” that originated in Alcoholics Anonymous, I see that action must be taken and change must happen. If the second step inspires a new faith for an alcoholic/addict, the third step takes that new faith and asks the alcoholic/addict to adopt that faith and begin to live by it in virtually every aspect of his life. He must literally submit his entire life to God, trusting in his sufficiency, guidance, and provision.

There are so many ways to encounter God that there is no one clear way to understand him. In truth, he is beyond anyone’s comprehension if they were to understand him in his entirety. Rather, he reveals himself to us, and that’s one of the ways we can understand him. If you are religious, he reveals himself to you through your faith in that religion. If you are part of a spiritual, Godly community, he reveals himself through the people of that community as a collective group. It is important to understand that the third steps dictates there is no perfect way to understand your higher power. As you progress through the steps and your recovery, you will grow in your understanding of God. As we remain faithful to God and seek him through prayer, religious texts, and communal worship, he will reveal himself to us more and more.

When I think of turning my will over to the care of God, I think of “The Lord’s Prayer” that Jesus Christ taught his disciples. The timeless prayer, which is still commonly prayed at AA meetings today, asks God to implement his will as supreme over any other will including one’s own. To complete the third step, that is what someone must do. He must supplant his own will with openness to the will of God as best as he may understand.

God’s care for one’s life may manifest in different ways. One must be careful though, because not everything that happens to us ought to be attributed to God.  Rather, the aim is to seek God through prayer or religion before we make choices, and make our choices based upon what we think God’s will for us is.

The honest truth is this step raises a lot of questions for recovering addicts. Many people are not sure about how to contact a Power such as God. The main idea behind this step is to turn away from trying to fulfill our own will because the truth is that will never be fulfilled. Yet this is the most difficult thing for many of us to do because it defies our nature as humans.

I hope this helps. Have faith, say your prayers, and put your trust in God.


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Filed under: Recovery, Spirituality · Tags: AA, Alcoholics Anonymous, God, higher power, Prayer, Spirituality, third step, twelve steps is operated by Recovery Brands LLC, a subsidiary of American Addiction Centers, Inc.
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