Step Work – Day 22 – 12.15.14
Step 3 is the decision step. In the first two steps, we awakened to what we could not do for ourselves and what we needed God to do for us. Then in step 3 we were introduced to the only thing we could do for God. We could make a decision to open ourselves to Him and surrender our entire lives—past, present, and future—and our will about our lives to Him. Step 3 was an act of agency. It was the most important choice we ever made.
Describe in detail what you’ve learned about yourself in step 1.
Step 1 has helped me in different ways throughout the recovery process. This time, as I studied and wrote out the answers to step 1, it helped me realize more clearly where I’ve been and where I don’t want to return. I know that step 1 is a step that has to be practiced throughout all the steps because honesty is essential in my recovery. I can’t have any secrets or hide anything from anyone.
Describe in detail what you’ve learned in step 2.
I liked step 2 this time especially because I feel it’s more where I am in the recovery process today. I do have hope, I want to change, and I’m willing to believe that God can and will help me set aside the natural man and become closer to Him.
Step 2 was more uplifting to me than step 1, mostly because I am trying to focus on recovery instead of where I’ve been in the past.
Have you truly awakened to the fact that God will enable you to remain abstinent and receive full recovery from addiction?
Yes. Today is day 311 of my recovery from addiction. I know God’s hand has been in this recovery process, and I know I have to continue to submit to Him in every moment where I feel temptation. I also want to recognize His hand in the good things that happen.
I feel that I’ve been living in recovery and want to stay there, both for myself and for my wife and children.
Do you “believe” in Him sufficiently to remain abstinent as you work the steps?
Yes. I believe in Him and I believe Him. I really do feel He wants me to recover and remain in recovery. He wants to help me. He’s there if I’m willing to humble myself and ask for His help.
I’m grateful for this belief and know that, like Alma 32, as I keep nourishing this belief, it will grow stronger and stronger.
Do you recognize that abstinence and working steps 4-12 is your primary commitment in taking step 3, at this time?
I believe so. I’m not 100% sure what that all means, but I realize that I’m working one day at a time and I’m focusing on working the steps of recovery and submitting my will to Him. I feel working the steps and continuing in recovery are ways I can show God that I’m willing to do His will and stay in recovery.
Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles made the following statement about this most significant decision: “The submission of one’s will is really the only uniquely personal thing we have to place on God’s altar. It is a hard doctrine, but it is true. The many other things we give to God, however nice that may be of us, are actually things He has already given us, and He has loaned them to us. But when we begin to submit ourselves by letting our wills be swallowed up in God’s will, then we are really giving something to Him” (“Insights from My Life,” Ensign, Aug. 2000, 9).
Deciding to submit our will to God means deciding to actually REMAIN abstinent and to actually DO the work of the 12 step program. Where are you in terms of making this decision?
I’m on board 100%. Staying clean and working the steps of recovery are high priorities for me. I don’t even want to get close to addictive behaviors which leads to addictive actions. I want to be open to whatever God wants and needs me to do to stay clean, stay in recovery, and stay happy.
I recognize that the only decision I can make is to submit my will. The other decisions will fall into place as I’m willing to submit my will to Him.
Do you understand that sincerity and real intent are everything, as we approach the formal taking of step 3?
I believe so, yes. I feel sincere. I feel my intent is grounded in doing Heavenly Father’s will. I don’t feel forced. I don’t feel like I’m doing this because someone is watching. I WANT to do this. I WANT recovery. I WANT to gain back the love and trust I’ve lost from my wife and kids. I want to raise kids who are strong in the Gospel and who know the Savior. I want to help them fortify themselves against the powers that have ensnared me.
I’m grateful for these desires. I’m hopeful for change in my life. I don’t ever want to get casual or complacent again.
How do you feel about your sincerity and intent, in terms of relying on the Lord and committing to Him to maintain your abstinence and diligently work the 12 steps?
I feel good about this. Honestly, I don’t want to think too far ahead – about the upcoming steps, about tomorrow, about anything that’s in the future. Instead I just want to focus on today, right now, and feel good about where I am.
This morning has been good. I woke up early, went and played basketball, and came back to work on the step work first thing. I feel this is my sincere feeling and what I want to do, not what someone is forcing me to do. I want to rely on the Lord and commit my life and my will over to Him. I don’t know if I’m always doing this “right” but I feel that working the steps and keeping my weapons of war buried are good steps in that direction.
President Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve described his decision to yield his will to God and the freedom that decision gave him: “Perhaps the greatest discovery of my life, without question the greatest commitment, came when finally I had the confidence in God that I would loan or yield my agency to him—without compulsion or pressure, without any duress, as a single individual alone, by myself, no counterfeiting, nothing expected other than the privilege. In a sense, speaking figuratively, to take one’s agency, that precious gift which the scriptures make plain is essential to life itself, and say, ‘I will do as you direct,’ is afterward to learn that in so doing you possess it all the more” (Obedience, Brigham Young University Speeches of the Year [Dec. 7, 1971], 4).
Again, yielding our will to God means remaining abstinent and working the 12 steps. Do you have enough faith in the Lord to do what He asks in order to receive the promised freedom?
I do. I’m willing to abstain and have been for 311 days. I’m willing to work the steps consistently and have been for 22 days now. I’m excited about the promised freedom and have already felt that in my life as I don’t feel I’m hiding things any more.
I’m grateful for this willingness and eagerness to keep my life in harmony with His will.
Is there a time limit to your faith and willingness to act along these lines?
I don’t think so, no. The only time limit that comes to mind for me is that I am focused on today, right now, and that’s all I can focus on. Looking ahead can be scary and overwhelming. I will focus on one day at a time, keep track of my recovery, and live to submit my will to Him, have faith that He will direct me for good, and not look back on the past too much.
What do you fear most about taking this step? Remaining abstinent? Taking the step(s) that follow? Which specifically? Why? Something else?
I don’t know that I fear too much right now, other than possibly looking ahead too much. I don’t really want to think about the steps that follow, especially because I’ve done them at least two times before, at least up to step 9. So if I think too far ahead, the thoughts come to my head like, “Am I’m going to have to do that again?” Or “Well, I’ve already done those so I won’t need to do that again…” I don’t know the right answer but today I’m not going to worry about it.
My only fear is that I could get complacent, but this is why I’m working with a sponsor; this is why I want to be accountable. This is why I look forward to helping others too – to continue working on my recovery one day at a time. I really feel that fear is the opposite of faith and fear doesn’t come from God.
Do you see that step 3 is a decision to exercise faith in the Lord and to trust Him and see the process through on HIS terms?
Yes, I do see this. It’s a complex doctrine I think – submitting one’s life and will over to God. But I’m willing to do whatever I can to make this happen. I feel working the steps of recovery is one thing I can do, saying personal prayers – especially in the moment of temptation, reading my scriptures, keeping my weapons of war buried, these are all things I can and am willing to do to submit my will over to Him.
How does this feel as you consider actually taking step 3? Be honest and specific.
I feel happy. I feel willing. I feel hopeful. I feel grateful for the opportunity. I feel happy that I’ve been practicing already. I feel excited to feel the difference submitting my will to God will have in my life and in the life of my family.
I’m happy to do whatever I can to remain free from my addictions one day at a time.