Chapter 8: Cleaning the Dirty Brain

addiction-articles-58-healthyplaceSTEP 3: We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him. To turn my will and our life over?? This sounded like some kind of brainwashing to me. Was AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) some kind of cult? It turned out that AA is not a cult. I have the right to take my will back any time I want. If I decide that my life was better before I came to AA, then I can forget everything they said, walk right out the door and never come back. However, If I made it this far, I should be willing to give it a fair chance. A few months long of a chance most likely. Nobody ends up walking through the doors of AA and sitting through a meeting by accident.

The third step is the one step that turns off a newcomer more than any other because of the mention of God. We must read on though. "As we understood him" means our own personal conception of God. They told me that GOD could even stand for the AA group itself (Group Of Drunks) or simply Good Orderly Direction. Even an atheist can get sober through this program they said.

Keep in mind that I was not a very religious guy. I was a drunk driving skateboarder who lived out of cars in the past. I was not (and to many, still am not) an upstanding, church-going, citizen. I saw churches as money grubbing organizations. I experienced rejection from my peers in my church as a young teenager. Basically, I thought that if even if there was a God, he surely wouldn't want to have anything to do with the likes of me. However, they told me that I only had to be willing to believe in a power greater than myself. NOT EVEN that I had to actually believe in a power greater than myself---to just be willing to believe. This is much different than having faith. We do not have faith until we have seen changes in our life because of our willingness to believe. I was so sick of drinking, and it's effects, that I was willing to do just about anything. I was willing to go to any length and if that meant swallowing my pride and turning over my Self-Will-Run-Riot, then so be it.

But what does it really mean to "turn our will and our life over?" I struggled with understanding this concept for some time. This is where AA sponsors or other friends in AA come in handy. For me, this means to become "God conscious." It means to constantly ask ourselves when making any decision--"What would God want me to do?" or "What would God do if He were me?" (Remember, we mean God as you understand Him not necessarily the God you learned about in church or school.) Notice that step 3 says, "turn our will and our life over." Not "turn our alcohol over to God." God doesn't want our alcohol and drugs---God probably doesn't even drink! We have to let the will of the higher power into our whole life. So, when it comes down to a decision to cheat or steal we are just as God conscious about it as if it was a decision to drink or stay sober. We have to let God's will in on every decision.

next: Chapter 9: An AA Sponsor
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APA Reference
Staff, H. (2008, December 14). Chapter 8: Cleaning the Dirty Brain, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 22 from

Last Updated: June 25, 2016

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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