The First Three Steps of AA - Laying the Groundwork for Your Recovery



When we first begin our journey in recovery, we are faced with the first three steps of recovery. It is said in the rooms of AA that the first step is the only one which we much work perfectly in our program of recovery, so clearly these first steps are significant if we are to succeed and achieve lasting sobriety. Let’s take an overview of the first three steps of Alcoholics Anonymous so we may have a better understanding of their significance in our program of recovery.


“We admitted we were powerless over alcohol and that our lives had become unmanageable.” This is the first step of AA, and the one which is said we must work perfectly in order to succeed in sobriety. It is critical we fully surrender to the fact we have no control over the frequency and quantity of drinks we take, and our inability to moderate our alcohol consumption always leads to catastrophe in our lives. If you do not fully embrace this reality, your addiciton will maintain a foothold in your mind and you are far more likely to fall prey to relapse.


“Came to believe a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” The second step of AA indicates there is hope for us yet, if only we come to believe in a power greater than ourselves. This phrasing is significant, as it does not demand we immediately believe in a higher power but rather work on our belief in a God of our understanding. So long as you seek to build a belief in a higher power of your own conception, you will be successful in your attempts at recovery.


“Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him.” The third step of Alcoholics Anonymous is similarly carefully phrased to allow all those who desire recovery to succeed. Rather than demand you completely turn your will over to the care of your higher power, instead you are only asked to make the decision to do so. In practice, the act of turning your will over to your God is difficult at best, as we are flawed human beings who constantly seek to exercise our own will rather than that of our higher power. Therefore, you need not be discouraged if you fall short of success in the third step, so long as you hold on to your commitment to attempt this letting go of your own will and instead seeking God’s will in your life.


The first three steps of Alcoholics Anonymous can be summarized as: “I can’t, he can, I’ll let him.” Grasping this concept is essential to our recovery from substance abuse, as we cannot hope to succeed in sobriety without the aid of a power greater than ourselves. If you are struggling to accept the existence of God, take comfort in the fact that this is a higher power of your own conception, and need not be some white-haired head in the clouds watching over all the activities of everyone on earth at all times. Come up with a God you can accept as existing in your life and work to replace your will with His and you will be well on your way to success in recovery!



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