Step 3 Turning it over

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

Step 3 Turning it over

Postby VickiC » Thu Feb 08, 2018 2:16 am

Need suggestions on some “work” to suggest to help a Sponsee continue to turn over his will and life to his Higher Power. He made the decision three years ago, but continually beats himself up over his life (past actions til now)... I think he made the decision to turn over every area but the one he has the most shame around, and he is holding on to that shame which is keeping him stuck. Because of that he can’t forgive himself, even though he did a step 4 and 5. Any suggestions to give to him in ways to help him make that decision...?
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Re: Step 3 Turning it over

Postby avaneesh912 » Thu Feb 08, 2018 4:32 am

For some people it takes a long time to understand the whole process. Some surrender in certain areas but in others they still control it. All we can do is, go through the material just after "How it works" where the book talks about the director role. How we want others to act or some event to end in certain way so we could be fulfilled. It doesnt work that way in real life. Eventually the more pain will either get them drunk or make them take action. Hope its the later.
Show him, from your own experience, how the peculiar mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power (Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)
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Re: Step 3 Turning it over

Postby VickiC » Thu Feb 08, 2018 8:48 am

Thank you so much, me too...
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Re: Step 3 Turning it over

Postby Roberth » Thu Feb 08, 2018 9:57 am

Hello Vicki. my name is Robert and I am a Los Angeles area alcoholic. My sponsor didn't waste any time getting me into the 4th step. he wasn't messing around with me, he sat down and we did the 4 and 5th step together in one night. he must of known what he was doing because I am still sober and that was almost 26 years ago.

Though our decision was a vital and crucial step, it could have little permanent effect unless at once followed by a strenuous effort to face, and to be rid of, the things in ourselves which had been blocking us.
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Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in pretty, well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out and loudly proclaiming WOW What a ride!!!!
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Re: Step 3 Turning it over

Postby Brock » Thu Feb 08, 2018 11:10 am

Welcome to e-AA Vicki.

Unfortunately you don’t know how good a fourth and fifth he did, I know many who benefit from a mini do over of certain troubling things, but I expect he would already have told you what he still blames himself for.

This sort of thing I believe has it’s roots in not doing step eleven, it’s an ongoing step, we are encouraged to continually seek more knowledge, perhaps reading spiritual material and/or watching spiritual teachers live or on you tube or TV. We are far luckier than the early members, so much stuff available for free, we can pick and choose what suits us, when we outgrow that we look further. If we look at a list of books people like Dr. Bob and others recommended we read, it’s quite long.

Some seem to think that the more they continue to ‘beat themselves up’ over past mistakes, the more likely they are to be forgiven. I am not a fan of even having a sponsor after the steps are completed, because some will go from sponsor to sponsor just for a new shoulder to cry on. I admire you for wanting to help another, but please consider the many times the literature speaks of standing on our own two feet, if he keeps depending on humans for answers he will not look to God for them, and you may feel you have let him down if you can’t help.

To my mind the best you can do is assure him that God is not something like our childhood notion, of someone who punishes us when we do wrong, and punishing ourselves by not forgiving ourselves is more of a ‘sin’ than anything we could have done. My own readings have unearthed modern biblical study, and research into the translation of the words of the prophet Jesus and others, there is little doubt that the word ‘sin’ actually means missing the mark on happiness, it’s not about the bad things we do. Blaming ourselves and reliving old deeds which leads to unhappiness, that is sin, and he will see that if he takes the trouble to do as step eleven asks.

Best of luck in trying to help him.
"Good morning, this is your Higher Power speaking. I will not be needing your help today."
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Re: Step 3 Turning it over

Postby PaigeB » Thu Feb 08, 2018 2:05 pm

Shame is an issue for me too. I DID NOT salve it, I did not begin to touch it, in Step 3, 4 or 5... but in Step 7.

Maybe your sponsee has hurt long enough that they are ready...
The Big Book suggests that "when ready, we say something like this":

"My Creator, I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad. I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows. Grant me strength, as I go out from here, to do your bidding. Amen."

-- Alcoholics Anonymous, p.76

I need to make specific note to myself that this is removal of defects that stand in the way of my usefulness, NOT so that I feel better. Perhaps it is that my shame is meant to help another person. For instance, I could not be writing about my experience now if my shame had been instantly removed and I was was struck lily white & pure!

However, HOPE comes from what I thought a strange place in the Big Book, page 124:
This painful past may be of infinite value to other families still struggling with their problem. We think each family which has been relieved owes something to those who have not, and when the occasion requires, each member of it should be only too willing to bring former mistakes, no matter how grievous, out of their hiding places. Showing others who suffer how we were given help is the very thing which makes life seem so worth while to us now.
Cling to the thought that, in God's hands, the dark past is the greatest possession you have - the key to life and happiness for others. With it you can avert death and misery for them.

I pray for an opportunity to "avert death and misery for another alcoholic" and maybe, just maybe, a small measure of relief from my crippling self-pity.

Thanks for letting me share.
If I'm not able to say how I'm working my program today, then I'm not working my program.
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Re: Step 3 Turning it over

Postby tomsteve » Fri Feb 09, 2018 12:29 pm

VickiC wrote:. Because of that he can’t forgive himself, even though he did a step 4 and 5. Any suggestions to give to him in ways to help him make that decision...?

did he do the rest of the steps?
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Re: Step 3 Turning it over

Postby Blue Moon » Sat Feb 10, 2018 4:27 am

VickiC wrote:Need suggestions on some “work” to suggest to help a Sponsee continue to turn over his will and life to his Higher Power. He made the decision three years ago, but continually beats himself up over his life (past actions til now)... I think he made the decision to turn over every area but the one he has the most shame around,

This is a bit vague. Did he murder someone?

For me, it depends on a number of factors. Why is he feeling shame? Is it because of something he did, or because of his perception of how society dictates he should be?

For example, a lot of homosexuals feel shame, but IMO the ones who are truly shameful are religious assholes standing on pious soap-boxes.

So it depends what his shame is about. Perhaps his solution lies in accepting himself, or in living in the here and now. Go watch some dogs, and decide how many are living with shame, guilt, or regret. They can teach us much about how to live.

Maybe this is not a problem for AA, but one he should take up with a trained professional. We must be careful to recognise our limitations in dealing with alcoholic recovery.
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Re: Step 3 Turning it over

Postby Roberth » Thu Mar 08, 2018 9:17 am

TURNING IT OVER

Every man and woman who has joined A.A. and intends to stick has, without realizing it, made a beginning on Step Three. Isn’t it true that in all matters touching upon alcohol, each of them has decided to turn his or her life over to the care, protection, and guidance of Alcoholics Anonymous? . . . Any willing newcomer feels sure A.A. is the only safe harbor for the foundering vessel he has become. Now if this is not turning one’s will and life over to a newfound Providence, then what is it?

— TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 35

Was just doing my daily check of the daily reflections for March 8
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Re: Step 3 Turning it over

Postby JungianRecovery » Thu Apr 12, 2018 10:00 am

Talk to your sponsee about what's at the root of his regret. Perhaps the anxiety about his paced is a displacement from anxiety in his life right now, or anxiety about not discussing what's causing his inability to let go.

Or maybe he simply needs more time in the program; more emotional fluidity that can only come from going to more meetings and being okay with not getting it all correct on demand.
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Re: Step 3 Turning it over

Postby Greywolf » Sun Apr 22, 2018 12:07 pm

Roberth wrote:Hello Vicki. my name is Robert and I am a Los Angeles area alcoholic. My sponsor didn't waste any time getting me into the 4th step. he wasn't messing around with me, he sat down and we did the 4 and 5th step together in one night. he must of known what he was doing because I am still sober and that was almost 26 years ago.

Though our decision was a vital and crucial step, it could have little permanent effect unless at once followed by a strenuous effort to face, and to be rid of, the things in ourselves which had been blocking us.


Good sponsor. Probably had you take the steps like they are written in chapter 5. What a concept. The early AAers, those who came before the BB was written and mass distributed, said many of them TOOK the first 9 steps and used 10, 11 and 12 as maintenance steps.

You got more help from your sponsor than I got from mine. My sponsor was a "teach a man to fish" kind of guy and he didn't go with you and hold your hand while you fished. Too bad we don't listen to Dr. Bob when he said, "Bill, for God's sake, keep it simple."
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Re: Step 3 Turning it over

Postby Greywolf » Sun Apr 22, 2018 12:15 pm

VickiC wrote:Need suggestions on some “work” to suggest to help a Sponsee continue to turn over his will and life to his Higher Power. He made the decision three years ago, but continually beats himself up over his life (past actions til now)... I think he made the decision to turn over every area but the one he has the most shame around, and he is holding on to that shame which is keeping him stuck. Because of that he can’t forgive himself, even though he did a step 4 and 5. Any suggestions to give to him in ways to help him make that decision...?

Sounds like there is a pay off to holding on to the shame. You might consider asking him what's the pay off for him holding on to the shame.
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Re: Step 3 Turning it over

Postby JerseyMike » Tue Aug 21, 2018 7:19 pm

VickiC wrote:Need suggestions on some “work” to suggest to help a Sponsee continue to turn over his will and life to his Higher Power. He made the decision three years ago, but continually beats himself up over his life (past actions til now)... I think he made the decision to turn over every area but the one he has the most shame around, and he is holding on to that shame which is keeping him stuck. Because of that he can’t forgive himself, even though he did a step 4 and 5. Any suggestions to give to him in ways to help him make that decision...?


Hello Vicki, my name's Mike and I'm definitely an alcoholic. It's nice to e-meet you. I'm not a big God person, so I thought the steps were going to be too hard for me. My sponsor initially simplified the first three steps in a way that worked for me, so I guess I'll just write it out, and hopefully, it helps with your sponsee:

Step 1: The problem is bigger than me.
Step 2: The solution is bigger than me.
Step 3: I need help with the solution.

That's it. My sponsor said the is that will power is not a cure for addiction, and that I needed help with the solution. It worked for me. Shame is a powerful thing. My sponsor told me that what happened in the past happened. There's nothing I can do to change it, that all I could do was concentrate on the here and now.
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