Step Three

I immediately identified the first time I read Step Three in our book. The well-meaning actor driven by a hundred forms of fear who felt compelled to control every aspect of his life and the lives of everyone close to him. I was that guy! I felt like a juggler with a dozen balls in the air, scared to death to take my eye off the balls for one second. It was a miserable way to live, but I didn’t know any other way. It was the way my father lived. Alcohol made the high anxiety bearable for both of us.

I held it together for thirty years. Then one by one each of the balls began to hit the ground. First it was my first marriage, then my job, then my finances, then my friends, finally my interest in life itself. At the end I was a dead man walking — living in the delusion that a new job would fix everything, but I had no real energy to even send out a resume. I didn’t realize until many years in recovery alcohol and drugs were not the problem. My fearful need to control was the problem. I learned control in any form is spiritually deadening. Even the need to control my drinking!

I signed up for treatment because I didn’t know what else to do. A day later — before my first meeting, before I got a sponsor, before I worked any steps — the obsession to drink was removed. I had no idea how this happened. Apparently I was ready. I was lifted up on a pink cloud. My first taste of freedom was delicious. Like any good alcoholic I wanted more so I began a vigorous program of action that continues today.

Turning my will and life over to my HP seems to happen naturally as self-centered fear continues to dissolve in the light of the twelve steps. Sure I still want to get my way, but I rarely get upset when I don’t. I’ve learned that if it happens, it’s God’s will. Every time I argue with reality, I lose. I’ve come to believe God has my best interest at heart. God’s will for me is abundance, peace, enjoyment and creativity. I experience none of these things when I’m trying to force my will on life. God is ready, willing and able to continue to lavish me with these gifts. All God asks in return is for me to love more.