How to Work Step 3 of the Twelve Steps

Step 3 of the Twelve Steps is a pivotal point in the recovery journey. It reads: “Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.” This step is about surrendering control, a concept that can be both daunting and liberating. It’s about acknowledging that one’s own efforts to control life, especially addiction, have been futile, and it’s time to trust a higher power for guidance.

The Challenge of Letting Go

Letting go of control is not an easy task. For many, the desire to manage every aspect of life, including addiction, is deeply ingrained. The realization that this control is illusory is both a challenge and a relief. Step 3 is about accepting that relief, understanding that surrendering to a higher power doesn’t mean giving up, but rather acknowledging that some things are beyond our control.

Finding Your Higher Power

The higher power in Step 3 doesn’t have to be a religious deity. It can be anything that represents a power greater than oneself and embodies love, support, and guidance. This step involves exploring personal beliefs and finding a concept of a higher power that resonates personally. It’s a deeply individual process and can vary greatly from one person to another.

Making the Decision

The decision to turn over one’s will requires a conscious choice. It’s not a one-time event but an ongoing process. It involves daily reaffirming the commitment to let the higher power guide your life. This decision is often accompanied by a feeling of surrender, a release of tension and the burden of control.

Living Step 3

Living Step 3 means incorporating this newfound trust into daily life. It’s about facing decisions and challenges with the belief that the higher power will provide the strength and guidance needed. It’s a practice of mindfulness and acceptance, learning to recognize when control is being sought and gently reminding oneself to trust the process.

A Step Towards Freedom

Step 3 is often described as a step towards freedom. It’s about breaking free from the chains of the need to control and trusting in something greater. This step paves the way for more profound changes in the steps that follow, building a foundation of trust and faith.


Working Step 3 is a journey of surrender, trust, and faith. It’s about letting go of the illusion of control and opening up to the guidance of a higher power. This step is challenging but essential, as it lays the groundwork for a transformative recovery process. It’s a step of liberation, offering a path to a life of serenity and peace.

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