Step Three: Stop Trying to Run the Show

“Made a decision to turn our will and our live over to the care of God as we understood him.” As addicts and alcoholics, we love nothing more than forcing people and the environment around us to conform to our will. This inability to accept things as they are, always believing we know what is best for everyone and everything in our lives, invariably leads us to a state of discontent and we seek solace in our substance of choice. The third step confronts this tendency of ours head on, requiring us to give up this old behavior and learn to practice acceptance and faith.

We become quite adept at exerting control over the people and things around us in our active addiction. A knack for manipulation is required so that we can protect our substance abuse from attack, as well as to ensure we have everything we need to feed our addiction. Now that we are seeking recovery and working the 12 steps to the best of our abilities, step three asks us to end this reliance on our will, and instead seek to allow our higher power to guide our actions in our lives.

The third step can be particularly difficult for those in early recovery, as our old habit of manipulation is our comfort zone, surfacing almost instinctively when we are faced with a person or situation displeasing to us. Once again, the step is written in a way that merely asks us to put forth an honest effort, rather than successfully turning our will over to a higher power in full from the start. So long as you commit to turning your will and your life over to the care of your higher power, and maintain your willingness to do so to the best of your abilities each day, you will have thoroughly worked your third step and can proceed through the rest of the 12 steps free from the burden of self-will run riot.

The third step is an opportunity for us to put forth a conscious effort to end the practice of forcing our will onto the world around us. Setting aside this hold behavior is a necessary part of recovering from substance abuse, for any continued attempt at running on our own will surely leads to disappointment, frustration, and relapse. As with all aspects of the program of AA, you are simply asked to put forth a concerted effort towards progress, not perfection. As time passes, you will find it becomes second nature to give your will up each day to your higher power, and you will be grateful you did!


Evolutions is a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center located in beautiful South Florida. Our holistic approach to addiction treatment centers around addressing and healing the underlying issues at the root of addiction, rather than merely medicating symptoms away.

Our treatment program includes individual and group-based therapy to help clients understand and manage their symptoms and emotions.

If you or a loved one is suffering from addiction, alcoholism, or any co-occurring disorders please call us at (833) 818-3031 or visit