Step 3: “Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him.”
Why “God as we understood Him”? Why not the true God? For me it was because I needed the freedom to find and grow with a personal God as I came to understand Him. When I came into the program five years sober, but in the depths of a chronic depression that I had no power over, I was deeply confused about a God who seemed to have lost interest in me and my problem. And my confidence that this program could make a difference was low, as they say. But a license to trust in the care of a God that I didn’t understand at that time was just the license that I needed to give step 3 and this program a try. And then working the rest of the steps with a sponsor, and joining a fellowship, and attending meetings became my pathway to permanent sobriety and sanity and to a God whom I came to understand as loving and desiring a freedom from addiction for everyone – including me.
As I have continued in this program of recovery, I have come to see, more and more, the value of “God as we understood Him”. I remember one 12 Step meeting where we had a newcomer, a lady that I could tell was desperately seeking help. Some one mentioned God and the lady immediately broke in “Is this some kind of Religious group?” she demanded. Several members patiently tried to explain “It is not religious but spiritual, just give yourself a chance to understand more”. A few minutes later someone else mentioned the word, God. “That’s it!” she exclaimed, got up, and walked out and we never saw her again. As if to say “Damned if I’m going to get help if I have to be open to any understanding of God”.
I also remember meetings where people would come in desperate for help but balking at the fact that that phrase was not worded “Christian God that everyone here understands Him to be”, as if to say “i am only willing to accept help if everyone here believes in the same God that I do” (even though I haven’t found the help that I need from Him so far – but they have). These people soon leave as well unless they become able to trust in a God who is able to reveal Himself to all of us who are desperate enough and willing for recovery.
I have come to see more and more in this program that openness is the key and a conviction in all to “Let go and let God”.