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Published May 2012.

On Awakening

When he let go of self-will and began practicing Step Three he finally felt free

The first time I did the Third Step I just wanted to get my sponsor off my back. I was still under the impression that I was in control of my thoughts, actions, and the outcome of both. It took many more failures of my self-will, and my stinking thinking, to approach this Step in earnest. I had spoken with many men whom I didn't fully trust, even though they had been willing to share their experience with me, and had asked nothing in return. Each one of them expressed that this Step was crucial if I wanted to be on a spiritual path, which I still wasn't sure I wanted to. I harbored a deep resentment toward God for taking from me family members too soon and for keeping me alive after my suicide attempt. And it was very difficult for me to accept that I would have to turn control of my life, my actions, my thoughts, my relationships, and my future over to a power greater than myself.

It took a long time for me to come to terms with the idea that now I had to undergo all the changes I had resisted for the duration of my young sobriety. My sponsor suggested that if I wanted to get rid of the spiritual malady that afflicted me I would need to "change everything." So, instead of putting up another fight when it came time to pray at the end of a meeting, I prayed; instead of going to meetings when I felt like it, I started going to the same meetings on a regular basis; instead of getting there 10 minutes before the meeting, I started to arrive 20 minutes earlier; instead of sitting near the back of the room, I sat closer to the front; instead of keeping quiet when I assumed I had nothing to add to the topic being discussed, I spoke up. I had begun to turn some of my life and some of my will and to take baby steps. I am proud to admit that by putting one foot in front of the other, I started making progress. I still could not see myself living like the other AAs lived: it was difficult to envision a life I could not control. But I did not want to feel anymore the way I felt when I was drinking. I also did not want to continue to feel empty inside. On some level, I was becoming willing to go any lengths to achieve sobriety, but my willingness was constantly met with resistance.

-- Hector G.

San Bruno, California

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