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

If you thought this one would be simple and obvious, you have another guess coming. This step is about nothing less than the meaning of life: Why are we here? What is our purpose? If there is free will, how do you reconcile that with turning our will over to God? And what does any of this have to do with happiness? Why did the Step-writers distinguish our Will from our Lives?

What does any of it have to do with my substance abuse problem or my recovery?

Obviously, I can only answer from my own perspective, so bear in mind that this is one person’s view. Attend meetings, read, talk intensively to your sponsor and get other views. My view will draw heavily from Jewish philosophy. I think we are here to make this world a better place. Don’t snicker! I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “Why should I be the one to make it a better place when my abuser(s) sure didn’t?” You have an argument there, I’ll give you. But imagine if everyone had that argument. Then the world would have no redeeming values and we would have been swallowed up in a dark pit a long time ago. There would have been no Mother Teresa or Malala Yousafzai. As messed up as the world seems to be, clearly, there are some good people in it. So my question to you is: Do you want to be one of them?

In your heart, you already are. Most people, as Anne Frank said, are good at heart. The challenge is to translate thought and feeling into action. To be a good person, you have to do good things. And, it just so happens, that is also how you make the world a better place. This begins to answer the first question: Why are we here? It’s not too clear exactly what you’re supposed to do, but the gist is that we’re here on Earth to make it a better place and you do that by doing good things. Now, at every step of the way, you have free will.

Free Will

You choose what to do and how to do it. You can choose to be bad, too, if that’s what you want. However, here’s the cute process that happens: Let’s say you go into the ice cream store and you always look at all the flavors and you always choose chocolate. Everyone who knows you wonders why you even bother to look because they all know chocolate is your favorite. But in your heart, you might have thought: “I wonder if there is something else this time that I’d like to try.” You do have that right, and you are exercising free will. But the truth is, you love chocolate and it’s really a no-brainer. So did you have free will or not? Were your actions predictable? Yes, and yes. You did have free will and everyone including you knew what you’d do with that free will. I think that’s what this Step really means. Choose to do what is good for you and what is good for the world. Once you make that choice, enjoy it. Get into it. Feel good about yourself. Get used to it. Like chocolate. You see? — Decide to do what God created us for; do it with joy; get used to it; and then it’s always free will, but in essence, you wouldn’t want to choose something else.

The Key To Happiness

Happiness is an important piece here. Who is the most important person in your world? You are. That’s not selfish; that’s not narcissistic; that’s just reality. It seems that the more we give of ourselves, the happier we feel. That’s just the way we were put together. When we are kind to others, we feel good about ourselves. When we make and keep our committments, we respect ourselves. When we follow the talents we were given at birth and nurture them, we are happy. All of this is part of giving our lives over to God. Our will is about making that first choice. Our lives are about following through with the behavior that that choice represents. When we do that, we feel happy and at peace with ourselves because we are living in harmony with our natures. When we buck our true self–as in addictions–we are not happy at all.

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