Comprehensive Guide to How the Alcoholics Anonymous Third Step Prayer Works
The Third Step Prayer is a significant element in the recovery process of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). It’s found in the AA literature and is commonly recited as part of Step 3, which states: “Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.”
Understanding Step 3: Step 3 is a pivotal moment in AA’s 12-step program. It involves a conscious decision to surrender one’s own will and ego to a higher power (often referred to as God, as each individual understands), recognizing that one’s own attempts at control and self-will have been contributing factors to their alcoholism and other life challenges.
The Purpose of the Third Step Prayer: The Third Step Prayer is a tool to aid in the process of surrender and relinquishment. It helps individuals express their willingness to let go of their self-centeredness, fears, and resentments, and to embrace a new way of living that’s guided by spiritual principles.
How the 3rd Step Prayer Works:
1. Recognition of Powerlessness:
- Start by acknowledging your powerlessness over alcohol and the unmanageability of your life.
- Understand that your attempts to control outcomes and situations have often led to further chaos.
2. The Decision to Surrender:
- Make a conscious decision to let go of your own will and ego-driven behaviors.
- Recognize that your own self-will has not served you well and has contributed to your struggles.
3. Seeking Guidance from a Higher Power:
- Approach the Third Step Prayer with an open heart and mind, seeking guidance from a higher power.
- Understand that this higher power can be any concept or entity that resonates with your spiritual beliefs.
4. Embracing Humility:
- The Third Step Prayer emphasizes humility, recognizing that you are not the center of the universe and that a greater power is at work.
- This humility helps you move away from arrogance and towards a more receptive and open mindset.
5. Letting Go of Fear and Resentment:
- As you recite the prayer, focus on releasing your fears and resentments, which often drive self-will and control.
- Allow yourself to experience a sense of relief and freedom as you release these burdens.
6. Embracing Change:
- The Third Step Prayer signifies your willingness to change, to live differently, and to be guided by spiritual principles rather than self-centered motives.
- Understand that this change is a gradual process and a journey towards personal transformation.
7. Reciting the Third Step Prayer:
- The actual words of the Third Step Prayer can vary slightly depending on the version you use.
- Here’s a common version of the prayer: “God, I offer myself to Thee – to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life. May I do Thy will always!”
8. Reflection and Meditation:
- After reciting the prayer, take a moment to reflect on the words and their meaning for you.
- Consider the willingness you’ve expressed and the shift in your mindset towards greater spiritual alignment.
9. Integrating the Prayer into Daily Life:
- The Third Step Prayer isn’t just a one-time recitation; it’s a mindset to embrace daily.
- Use the prayer as a tool to remind yourself of your commitment to surrendering and following a higher power’s guidance.
10. Working with a Sponsor:
- Discuss your experience with your sponsor or a trusted mentor in AA.
- They can provide guidance, share their own experiences, and help you navigate challenges that arise in the process of surrender.
Conclusion: The Alcoholics Anonymous Third Step Prayer serves as a powerful tool to aid individuals in their journey towards recovery. By reciting the prayer, reflecting on its meaning, and integrating its principles into daily life, individuals can cultivate a sense of humility, surrender, and willingness to let go of self-will and control. It’s a reminder that transformation is possible when one opens themselves to the guidance of a higher power and the principles of recovery.