Can't Let Go... Can't Get Help!
by Ned Wicker
“Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.”
Step 3 is often very hard!
Step 3 of the 12-Step process offers so many people so much difficulty. I call it the “G” word, which in modern American society is a major stumbling block.
The idea of God loving us, or caring for us, might provide a warm and fuzzy, but the idea of actually allowing God to take over and guide us is an entirely different matter.
Having someone else telling us to do something, or how to do something, or the idea of us not being in control over our lives is problematic.
Maria is REALLY trying to work the steps
“Maria” is just such a person. She has been in treatment a couple of times and is earnestly trying to work the program. She questions the third step, because she doesn’t understand what it means to trust.
She questions the step because on the one hand she believes we are born with free will, to make our own decision, to direct our lives. But on the other hand, alcoholism has taken away her ability to make decisions and she is not in control.
She accepts the first two steps.
She accepts her powerlessness over her drinking (Step 1) and she knows that she needs somebody stronger and more powerful than her to help (Step 2), but turning over her free will and her life? She’s not so sure.
If you shatter you leg in 10 pieces and wind up in the Emergency Department seeking help, you’re not likely to argue or question everything the surgeon is going to do to put you back together. They put you out and the surgeon reconstructs your leg. You’re not in control.
Addiction doesn't want to let go of her!
With Maria’s drinking, she might be out of control, but she is deciding whether or not to drink. If she had the broken leg, she can tell the surgeon to fix it. Addiction doesn’t want to be fixed.
Another way of looking at this is in terms of surrender and empowerment. Our free will does not want to surrender. But if Maria “owns” the steps, she can turn her helplessness into empowerment.
Step 1—I admitted I was powerless over alcohol, that MY life had become unmanageable.
Step 2—Came to believe that a power greater than ME could restore ME to sanity.
Step 3—I decided to turn My will and MY life over to the care of God, as I understand Him.
Because I have a problem, and because I have a problem that I cannot solve by myself, I have chosen to allow that power greater than myself to intercede.
From the Christian perspective, Revelation 3:20 states,
“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.”
The words of Jesus of Nazareth are an invitation, not a demand. If you think in terms of allowing that higher power to help you because you have asked for help, that is not weakness as much as it is empowerment.
You are tapping into a power source. If you don’t open the door, nobody comes in. It’s all about establishing a relationship. I let you in, we get to know each other and we walk together.
What is that power greater than yourself?
Are you willing to let the power into your life and not get in the way? Maria wrestles with this question, but she asks good questions and she is open to debate and listening to other worldviews. She is open to fresh possibilities.
She has hope.