M(3), 3/17: Let Go and Let God
Top o’ the mornin’ to ya! On this fine St. Paddy’s Day, we tackled Step 3 at our Monday morning meeting. Step 3 reads:
Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him
Of all the 12 steps, this is my personal favorite, and the one that I need to revisit every day, many times a day, to have the best possible chance of peace and serenity. I think it is also a personal favorite because it is one I struggled with understanding for a long time. Sure, “turning it over” to a higher power sounds like a great, lofty ideal, but it made zero sense to me in any practical manner. What does it mean to turn my life over? Do I lay in bed each morning and wait for God to lift me out and carry me down the stairs? Where does my role begin in my own life if I am turning everything over to Him?
My breakthrough moment for this step came when someone explained it to me this way: imagine my life as a bus, I am the driver, God is the copilot. As I “drive” throughout the day, I should check in with the co-pilot to make sure I am heading in the right direction. For whatever reason, this analogy made sense to me, and I could make my start with Step 3.
The more I check in with my co-pilot, the smoother my ride tends to be. Of course, when I decide that I know where I am going and need no direction other than my own… well, you can guess what crazy directions I head towards on those days! The beautiful thing: He is a patient co-pilot, and He will get me back on track the instant I remember to check back in.
Another meeting attendee described his practice of Step 3 in this way: make the decision that you will begin to align your life with God’s intention for you. Then get up and do what’s in front of you. Inherent in this thought process is the belief, the faith, that God will show you what He wants you to do next.
This practice of attempting to live life as God intends for you to live is a process, and more is revealed the more you attempt to integrate it. In the earliest stages of recovery, all I knew of God’s will for me was what NOT to do… do not ingest a mind-altering substance. As the days went by, as I attempted to incorporate the 12 steps of recovery into every day life, I could see that God has much bigger ideas for me than just refrain from chemically altering myself. The more I let those intentions in, and the more I acted upon those intentions, the easier it became to stay sober. And the circle spiralled upwards.
Of course, there are days when I ignore that gut feeling: I should take a deep breath and pause before reacting in anger, I should show empathy to another rather than judgment, I should get up out of my chair and do something productive, but my human nature wins the battle and I lose my patience, I condemn loved ones, and I revel in a bag of chips and reality television. I am, after all, human. But those actions stop that upward spiral, and the subsequent negative feelings that result disrupt all towards which I am working: peace and serenity.
The beauty of this step is that all I need to do is stop the current direction, and make the decision to turn my life back over to Him. That’s it! Simple and practical, but with results that are nothing short of miraculous!
Sorry, but I have to say it… another potential snowstorm was predicted for last night, so the miracle is that we did not have a two-hour delay in our school district. The next miracle will be the week that goes by that I don’t have to speak of snow!