Christian Living


Overcoming Addictions 07/22/16

Make the Decision - The Third Step in Addiction Recovery


“We made a decision to turn our lives and our wills over to the care of God.” 

This third step of Alcoholics Anonymous addresses a major obstacle - trying to break free counting on our own willpower. If we could will ourselves to be done with our addiction or behavior, we would not need God and would have been free from our addiction the first time we decided to quit. We tried. We made a New Year’s Resolution or picked a “quit day,” and told ourselves we would never partake again - we willed ourselves to quit. Then we did OK on our own for a length of time until some circumstance or chaos drove us back to our usual behavior. My will to change is not enough. Change comes when my heart says, “Thy will be done!" 

This third step is a natural next step, but so often neglected. In step one we admit we don't have power over our addiction and in step two we believe that God, who is greater than us, does. Now, at the precipice of change, we have to decide to turn our lives and our will over to God. This is action based on our trust in God. It’s more than admission and belief. God's the pilot. We're deciding to let him fly this plane. Up till now, we admitted we couldn't fly the plane and believed that the pilot could, but had not given up the control. We have to physically, mentally and spiritually decide to turn our lives and will over to God. How does a person do this?

For me, it was through prayer. For example, when I wanted to smoke, I would pray instead. I would say, “Lord Jesus, this is your battle. Your Word says you are strong when I am weak. I’m feeling mighty weak. Please take me through the next few minutes without smoking.” Then I’d thank Him and trust He was fighting for my freedom and was capable of winning. For me, that was demonstrating my choice to turn my life and will over to God and it worked. I would pray through the surge of desire to go back to my old ways of coping and embrace the new way of verbally and mentally handing the struggle over to God. "Thy will be done, not mine."

Other times I would remind myself I belong to Christ; our bodies are His temple. When we carry the Holy Spirit of God in our bodies and acknowledge we are children of Almighty God, our lives have been turned over to Him. Again, this is an action-based step. Saying it out loud helped me. I’d walk to the other end of the house or hide out in the bathroom during times of temptation and tell God I needed Him to help me.

What are some ways that show your decision to turn your life and will over to God? We can all benefit from sharing how we surrendered ourselves to God. I’m no expert. I’m just sharing how I turned my life and will over to the care of God. Undoubtedly, God has shown other people other ways to do this that worked. How have you been able to do God’s will instead of your will? 

This is not an easy step. It’s a battle of the wills. Our enemy, the devil, beckons us to accept defeat and give up. Our flesh sometimes craves the old behavior pattern. It is only when our lives and our wills are safely entrusted to God that we will be victorious.

Copyright 2009 Beth Livingston. Used by permission.

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