Step Three

“Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

The chapter on Step Three includes these concepts:

  • Willingness is the key to Step Three
  • Requirement for action
  • Just showing up at meetings is a beginning
  • The paradox of becoming more independent by depending on God
  • Electricity as an example
  • Self-sufficiency and playing God
  • The spiritual test of World War II
  • Dependence on God may begin with a sponsor
  • The role of willingness in Step Three
  • Whole trouble was the misuse of will power

It’s Only Logical

Step Three assumes that you have admitted that you can’t control your addictive use or behavior, that this powerlessness is ruining your life, and that you believe God or another understanding of a Higher Power (or Program) can help you straighten out all this mess. If you can’t do it but God can, wouldn’t it be logical to let Him (or Her or It) do it? Most problems with Step Three do, in fact, result from an inadequate acceptance of Steps One and Two.

Also, for most people, Step Three is a gradual process. You make a small leap of faith, see that it works, take a bit larger jump, and so on, until one day you realize you are depending on the guidance of a Higher Power or Program in your life.

Third Step Prayer

The “Third Step Prayer” appears on page 63 of the Big Book. Many addicts memorize it and use it as a daily affirmation of the decision to embrace the gift of recovery their Higher Power has offered:

“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!”

Note that this prayer, which is sometimes used to begin or end a Twelve-Step meeting, is particularly offensive to those who do not believe in a very traditional personal God.


Step Three, see also: Acceptance, Attitudes, Fear, Freedoms, Grace, Gratitude, Openmindedness, Prayer & meditation, Program, Step Two, Step Four, Step Seven, Surrender, Trust, Willingness.

Updated 11 Sep 2015

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Addictionary 2 by Jan & Judy Wilson

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