Step 3 is the initial surrender step. Step 1 is the initial admission of complete defeat. Step 2 is coming to believe from a state of powerlessness that there is a power available to me to solve my problems. If those statements are true then am I willing to completely surrender my thinking and life over to the care of that power? Are you?
I thought for many years that I made a choice to surrender. I now believe that I was surrendered by alcohol and a completely unmanageable existence. I couldn’t go on any more. Then the only decision was to admit complete defeat and surrender my will and life to the care of God. I no longer had a choice. I remember the moment of complete surrender , the time , date, and location, as if it were yesterday. I got down on my knees and said, God help me! Can you remember the moment of your complete defeat?
Then I can take step 3. I make a decision to abandon myself completely, all of me, to God! It is a powerful decision for any alcoholic. A complete change of direction from me to God. The authors tell me what I must do in step 3. I must stop playing God!!!!! Why? Because it didn’t work!!!! Why? Because I am NOT GOD. I lived in a world I created separate from my creator in which I played God. The rest of the steps are designed to follow through on that decision. The steps establish a relationship with God that will cause a personality change sufficient to recover from alcoholism.
A mistake I see being made daily in AA is a intellectual surrender without any action. Nothing changes for that person. They haven’t followed through on that decision by an intense, at once ,working of step 4 .Then steps 5 – 9 and daily working of 10 -12. They leave the fellowship and say AA didn’t work without following the course of action outlined in the 12 steps.
Step 3 is a decision to, at once, take a personal housekeeping to face and be rid of the things blocking me from God. Why is that important ? Step 3 is a decision to put my life in order with my creator and to establish a relationship with him that will enable me to live usefully whole. If I am blocked as a result of self-will then I can’t receive direction and power from him.
I can’t stress the importance of this step. I can’t take it for anyone. I can see the people who have truly taken it by their actions. They are working the steps with a sponsor. Taking steps 4-9. I would make a suggestion. If you are new find someone who has worked the steps out of the big book and ask them to guide you down the path of spiritual progress . Then please help someone by doing the same thing for them. One alcoholic working with another!