Eliminating Limiting Beliefs in the Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12 Step groups

- 36 Tips
for working the
12 Steps

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Step 3 Is the Start of Surrender 

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

Step 3 can seem so scary at first. I well remember my initial reaction. I thought I would lose control entirely and be at the whim of some amorphous Entity I knew nothing about and didn't trust.

For me, and for many, control was the issue. Even though I had well accepted my lack of control when it came to alcohol and drugs, I hated the idea that I had to give up having power over the rest of my life. Of course, today I recognize that I never had the ability to manage my life the way I thought I did – I never was in control; it was illusion.

I couldn't see it

But in the beginning I literally couldn’t see or understand that. My sponsor chuckled at my confusion and distress and gently took me through this simple set of questions:

"Do you," he asked, "have any doubts you're powerless over alcohol and drugs?"

"No," I answered firmly.

"Do you have any evidence you're any good at managing your own life?"

"No," I said, "I haven't done well at that."

"Do you believe in God?"

"Well," I stammered, "something got me here, but… " He stopped me as I started to waffle.

"So you do believe in something, even if you don't know what it is or what it means to you at the moment."

I nodded.

"And you have a sense that that 'something' is what got you to AA, right?"

"Yes, in fact I'm sure of it," I said back on firmer ground.

"Do you think, perhaps, that something might be of help with the rest of your life?"

Willingness is the key

Tears sprang to my eyes and I felt some real hope for the first time – hope not only about being able to stay sober and clean, but that somehow my life might start to make sense.

"Are you," my sponsor asked, "willing to let that something have a shot?"

I was, and am.

Willingness is, of course, what this step is all about. It's simply a willingness to believe and let go. We don't need the answers about how it will work out. We don't need a definition of our Higher Power. We just need to be willing.


Love, peace and abundance,

Step Three Links

Step Three Prayers


One from the Program and an alternate.  

Grant Me Serenity


A beautiful, serene site which can really help with 3rd Step issues.  

Spirit Haven


Inspiration and affirmations.


* Yes, I know the step actually says, as we understand Him. Years ago a woman I respected read "How It Works" substituting gender neutral language. I loved it and have done the same thing myself every since.

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