On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…turning their will and their lives over to the care of God as we understood Him…
We’ve already talked about a Higher Power in Step 2 (and a little in Step 1), but here’s where, according to the 12 Steps in actuality, action truly begins. Within their recovery comes a point of break down and build up. This is no one’s job but their own. As a therapist working with mandated clients, I tried to hurry this point along as quickly as I could before they left my care (hence, no coddling) because, once they were gone, I could do nothing to help them. And, let’s be honest, most of them were in forced recovery because of parole, probation, or Department of Child Services.
The 12 Steps go along with the 12 Traditions and, in the third Tradition it states, “The only requirement for A.A. is a desire to stop drinking”. Seems simple enough, right? It is, but the third Step is a bit confusing so you have to read the literature fully to understand the actual meaning of how to proceed and what qualifies this as a call to action and examples. This is not where you accept that you no longer have power over drinking/drugging and must hand it up to your Higher Power.
This is the part where you figure out who is helping you through this journey, but family, spouse, friends, sponsors, whoever, is likely not going to be there every waking moment for you. Your Higher Power is your ticket to a little bit of sanity when the novelty and pride of sobriety wear off and you begin to realize some of the fucked up things you did/didn’t do when you were using. And you will start to remember them. And you won’t like what you see in the mirror sometimes knowing what you’ve done. When this happens, as I’ve just warned you it will, you NEED something, someone to call on to help you. If you do not have a specific religion, this says, “God, as we understand Him”.
I get it. I didn’t believe in anything but that I would have a much shorter life than I have for a long time. So I figured, what’s the difference? But, one night, I screamed a prayer, and He didn’t fail to answer. It wasn’t the answer I wanted and it tore out my heart, but I Him gave options. It was a true take it or leave it situation: He chose the take it method.
When I look back at the fucked up situations that I’ve been in, on purpose or otherwise, there’s no “faith”, there’s true belief in my heart. We live in Hell so I don’t believe much in the whole vengeful God thing. I guess you could call me a Polytheist. I know angels that roam this earth that don’t have wings. I can recognize evil onsite. I can see a young soul onsite. It’s not some special powers, it’s in my gut. Don’t turn off that inner child and you’ll see it all too. I still think that the Bible is a bunch of stories to teach people how to act right, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t a sacred book. I believe in God now, but I also believe that we get more than one soul. Mine’s pretty old and I’m pretty tired.
If you (or your loved one) isn’t as accepting of God as others, here are some alternative ideas (again, remember not to push away by pushing your loved one into religion):
You need a theme song. You need a theme PLAY list. I mean it. People always say that smell is the strongest sense tied to memory (drugs and alcohol follow this standard), but I’m pretty sure music is a close second. Include: Some new upbeat music with no ties to using, something from childhood that made you happy, no matter how corny, i.e., “No Scrubs” by TLC and at least song from before you were born 1940’s on. I’d start with Ol’ Blue Eyes and some jazz, move into some doo-wop, ’68 Comeback Special Elvis…you get the idea. You’re going to have to be open to trying things that you once thought were stupid or a waste of time.
I dated an actual son of a preacher before and he told me that the song he played when he was getting ready to go on a date was “Son of a Preacher Man”, by Dusty Springfield…I wonder what ever happened to him… If you do not know what this music is, look it up, there will be a friggin’ quiz later. Whenever I’m actually putting effort into getting all pretty, I listen to Cigarettes After Sex. YouTube, Alexa doesn’t matter. It’s very sexy, smoky, Mad Men music (that’s what it makes me think of, but the lyrics are a little…iffy). Even Rocky had “Eye of the Tiger”. You get the point. Step 3 isn’t about you saying “OK, I’ve stopped drinking, I’ve given it up to God, so I’m good now?” Um. No. Sobriety is nor a spectator sport nor a passive life selection like Dr. Pepper v Mountain Dew. You’ve picked your side. Most of us have to deal with our sad, scary, ugly pasts in sobriety and you can too.
Don’t you think I’d rather live somewhere else, like a ship in a bottle?
*Title pic was courtesy of Google designed with Canva and in-article pic is from FreePik.
Please leave questions, comments, compilations, and complaints here: