This I Believe

Robert - Boones Mill, Virginia
Entered on November 20, 2006

I believe in the third step of the 12 step recovery programs of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous: Made a decision to turn my will and my life over to the care of the God of my understanding.

The first step of the twelve step recovery program is to accept the reality that the mood altered state results in insane choices, choices by which my life was turned over to the care of the drug and my life became unmanageable. To proceed any farther in the change process, I must relinquish the drug, but abstinence only allows me to work on the root of the problem, and the problem is me and my behaviors.

Step two predicts that if I seek assistance, that assistance will present itself, thereby providing a power greater than me to address this pattern of insane choices. The easy definition of this power is the recognition that me plus another’s assistance is greater than my working alone, particularly if I seek the assistance of a seasoned veteran.

Step three, the action step, allows the process to come together and really work. It is the personal challenge necessary if change is to be permanent. Step three challenges me to make decisions about my values and my beliefs. It challenges me to confront wrong behavior and replace it with right behavior. It directs me to turn my will and my life over to the care of God as I understand him.

When I explore the message, I can see layers of challenges designed to lead me to a spiritual awareness that can only be achieved through introspection.

Will is defined by Webster as wish, desire, or customary action. I define my will as my choices or my behaviors, and these choices need to be directed by my values and my beliefs.

Life is defined by Webster as way of living, period of existence. I define my life as the direction I am heading by the choices I am making. The choices, again, are governed by my values and my beliefs.

God is defined by Webster as Supreme Being, being with supernatural powers. The God of my understanding is my challenge by step three to unravel my beliefs, my values, my right behavior verses my wrong behavior and ask myself “What would the God of my understanding expect of me as I make this choice, or this decision, or take this action?”

Step three challenges me to reflect on my influences, my upbringing, my core beliefs and those things I’ve espouse as important and invites me to live and act accordingly. It says to me, “Before you act, if you could call the God of your understanding on your cell phone, what would he say regarding this choice?” If I have explored my beliefs and I ask the question, honestly, I will have no regrets no matter the outcome.

I believe in the sanity of step three of the 12 step programs of AA and NA.