Step 3- "we found it very desirable..."

The 12 Steps are the AA program of recovery from alcoholism.

Step 3- "we found it very desirable..."

Postby Sleddog75 » Fri May 06, 2016 9:32 pm

request for insight:

I have been fortunate to have a chance to work sponsees. What I talk about during the step 3 process, most notably, on page 63 at the bottom it says:

" We found it very desirable to take this spiritual step with an understanding person, such as our wife, best friend, or spiritual advisor. But it is better to meet God alone than one who might misunderstand."

I know a lot of sponsors do this step with their sponsees or similar cases. I explain to sponsees that it is better to meet him on your own than with one who might misunderstand. And me being the sponsor, I might misunderstand. Anyone have any thoughts about this passage? It's not that I won't do step 3 with sponsees because I think it's my duty to not only explain how but sometimes to show. But this is a very personal affair. It's a commitment between a god of their understanding and themselves. am I way out to lunch on this?
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Re: Step 3- "we found it very desirable..."

Postby Stepchild » Fri May 06, 2016 11:08 pm

You have to remember this book was written for people to go through with this process where there was no AA available....No sponsors. When they mention "understanding person" they are talking about someone that understands the dire situation we are in....We don't want a drinking buddy or someone that doesn't have a clue what alcoholism is.
They talk about the same thing in choosing someone to hear our fifth step.

Though we have no religious connection, we may still do well to talk with someone ordained by an established religion. We often find such a person quick to see and understand our problem. Of course, we sometimes encounter people who do not understand alcoholics.
If we cannot or would rather not do this, we search our acquaintance for a close-mouthed, understanding friend. Perhaps our doctor or psychologist will be the person. It may be one of our own family....

Page 74

It is important that he be able to keep a confidence; that he fully understand and approve what we are driving at; that he will not try to change our plan.
Pgs 74-75

I did my first three steps out of the book alone and picked up a sponsor right after and started step 4. You understand alcoholics....You're more than qualified....You know Who to ask for help. Give the sponsee a choice.
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Re: Step 3- "we found it very desirable..."

Postby Brock » Sat May 07, 2016 5:42 am

I think this is one of those places we have to make a judgment call, there are parts of the book which I believe apply to AA as it was then, which may not apply today. Examples come in the working with others section, taking strangers into our homes... they may mash up our furniture… we may need to call a doctor to come and see them, we don't expect people to do things like that anymore.

In this 3rd step section we see wording like “We thought well before taking this step making sure we were ready; that we could at last abandon ourselves utterly to Him.” At that time they were talking about the shivering alcoholic, usually still lying on a hospital bed, who had already declared their belief in God. Now we have newcomers saying maybe there is a higher power, and maybe I am an alcoholic, and we actually advise them that this step is just a decision, frogs on a log stories and so on. We expect them to come to believe and turn over the will as they do the rest of the steps, instead of as stated “that we could at last abandon ourselves utterly to Him.” By the same token, in the old days if the sponsor then said OK now hold my hand and we will say this prayer, the last gasper probably would happily comply. Now I think we must judge the prospect a little bit, is this person a believer in God, are they the type who is comfortable with me so we might do this together, or are they more reserved and would prefer to do it alone, as Stepchild suggested, I might just ask the sponsee what they would prefer.

This sort of topic gives us the chance to mention that sponsorship is not a one size fits all, as a couple of us here like to say. I believe there is too much of the 'this is the way my sponsor showed me' approach. If you really didn't like some of the things he made you do, but went along in the spirit of going to any length, then it gives us the opportunity to now learn from our experience, and not make the new man do things that we didn't like, particularly things which we now know from experience were unnecessary. Thanks for the topic Sleddog, you seem to bring things up which make us think of our own approach to new members.
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."
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Re: Step 3- "we found it very desirable..."

Postby Sleddog75 » Sat May 07, 2016 6:02 am

Thanks that's a great lot of insight you guys. I never thought of it that way. this forum rocks. I took it so literally because I sobered up out of the big book. literally laying in a bed and reading it and doing the work. So I figured when it said that it was better to this alone I took it very literal. Thanks for the insight. I love step 3.
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