Many of us rediscovered life in the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous. Others found related programs (like for families or for narcotics). We had turned to chemicals to help run from the pain. We had to turn to God to save us from our addiction.

Everyone knows the Serenity Prayer. It’s the cornerstone of recovery. For me the Third Step prayer was important. It helped me be open to God. It saved me from being lost. It even helped me gain courage to face memories of abuse. Not a lot of people know about this prayer.

In Alcoholics Anonymous, the Third Step says we “made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.” There is a prayer that helps that happen.

The Third Step opens me up to God every time I pray it. The God of my understanding is free of all the pain and shame I associate with my childhood and my abuser. It teaches me see that God is bigger and more loving than the abuser. I learned the difference between God and my abuser. That helped a lot.

The Third Step prayer also opens me up to my side of the problem. That’s why Step Three is so hard. I end up learning the “bondage of self,” like my fears, my need to control… even memories of abuse. I see what is not true about me. Finally, I know what I am on earth to do.

The Third Step Prayer

God, I offer myself to Thee
To build with me
and to do with me as Thou wilt.
Relieve me of the bondage of self,
that I may better do Thy will.
Take away my difficulties,
that victory over them may bear witness
to those I would help of Thy Power,
Thy Love, and Thy Way of life.
May I do Thy will always!


The Third Step Prayer is excerpted from page 63 of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. Copyright © Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. In practicing our Traditions, Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. has neither endorsed nor are they affiliated with Healing Voices Magazine. Alcoholics Anonymous®, AA®, and the Big Book® are registered trademarks of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.

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