This is a letter about faith.
Last week I spoke about the second step in recovery. So I thought, well why not carry on with the steps? I believe that they should be accessible to everyone. You don't have to be an addict or an alcoholic to benefit from them, because they are a mode for living.
So I am going to keep sharing them and how they are relevant for everyone.
One step at a time.
The third step reads like this: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
I will reiterate what I said last week, you really don't need to be religious to have faith that this process will work for you. If you have tried to heal in the past and it hasn't worked, do you have faith in another way? Can you put your will and your ego aside and surrender to a new way? With the help of others? Has your way, on your own, been working out for you so far?
Step 3 is mainly a willingness. You must be willing to trust that things can change. To have faith that you can allow change. Just as you trust that your body will maintain itself to the best of its ability, that your autonomic nervous system will keep doing it's job of keeping your heart beating, and your lungs breathing etc., so too can your mind heal if you have faith and trust the process.
Step 3 is also a decision: ‘we made a decision’. It is a decision to accept another way forward. It means we surrender to the fact that so far, self will hasn't worked for you. If willpower alone worked, we would all have perfect bodies, perfect health, no addictions, no self-sabotage. This step teaches us that if we have faith that there is another way, then surely we can make the changes that we want to make.
It is in Step 3 that we start to accept the serenity prayer. (God) Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. Thy will not mine be done.
Whenever I see 11:11 on the clock I stop and say to myself a prayer from a Course in Miracles:
What would you have me do
Where would you have me go
What would you have me say
And to whom.
Thy will not mine by done.
I connect to my higher power, and remember that there is a guiding light that is the way, not my fallible human will. I am agnostic, I don't know what is true, but I do know that the only thing I can control is me and how I show up in the world. I can't control other people, places or things, but I can control how I face them.
And I can decide to connect with my constructive higher power, the better parts of me, rather than handing that power to the destructive poison that was alcohol. Or indeed any other destructive dysfunctional thinking and behaviour. I know which power I would rather tap into.
And if we try to blame other people, or places, or things for our behaviour we literally give our power away to them.
Anyone who has ever been told, ‘you made me feel like x or y’, anyone who has had an apology framed with ‘I’m sorry you feel that way' or anyone who has been told they are ‘too sensitive’ knows what this gaslighting feels like. So please don't gaslight yourself either.
You can make a decision to change at any time in any given moment, with each new breath.
Step 3 asks us to keep an open mind and an open heart. It asks us to not close ourselves off from what we don't know, from all the magical possibilities of the universe, from its beautiful mystery and endless possibility. As humans we have amazing abilities to think, to feel and to experience wonder. If we allow it, it will set us on a path to freedom. So don't close yourself off to wonder and awe. Open yourself up with joy and gratitude.
If you're feeling like you're ready to take the next step in your life, but you're feeling a little bit lost, and you're going around in the same circles, then you know where I am - just click reply to this letter, I am here for you.
I promise you there is hope. And if I have to hold that vision and that hope for you, until you can see it for yourself, then that is exactly what I will do.
Get in touch today, you're only one decision from a whole new life.
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