Post by Susannah on Dec 29, 2019 14:13:19 GMT -8
STEP THREE: Turned our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God.
Love addiction causes pain and despair and an emotional hunger that eats at the core of our being. It is a longing for unconditional love, respect, nurturing, acceptance and joy. Many of us turn to other people, fantasies, drugs, alcohol, sex or to avoiding connections with others to fill this inner void and to gain some sense of safety, self-worth and well-being.
As our Love addiction progresses, our compulsive and obsessive behaviour of being either other directed or love avoidant and externally focused lead us to be powerless over our choices and our lives becoming unmanageable.
Working the 12 Step Program of Love Addicts Anonymous, we learn that self-worth and our well-being come from a power greater than ourselves. We worked Step One and Two with our sponsor, group or trusted guide. We surrendered and we demonstrated our willingness to try something new. This has charged us with a strong sense of Hope. But if we don’t translate our hope into action right now, it will fade away, and we’ll end up right back where we started. The action we need to take is working
Q. What is your understanding of a Higher Power / God?
Q. What was your understanding of a Higher Power growing up and has it changed since then?
As we begin to become ready and pray / meditate for the courage to work Step Three, we have accepted that when we act on self-will to control, manipulate or avoid others, we turn ourselves over to a higher power. We excessively place our hope and faith in ourselves, our partners, love objects, family, friends and even career and lifestyle (status). We leave little room for a caring God of our understanding, our Higher Power, to work in our lives and restore us to sanity. This is a spiritual dilemma.
Step Three is an opportunity to let a Higher Power greater than ourselves take charge of the rest of our lives. Fundamentally, this also means we must stop feeling responsible for everything and everybody. The path to experiencing peace and serenity is to surrender.
Q. Am I ready to let go and let God have a hand in managing my life?
Q. What reluctance do I feel with regard to working Step Three?
If our love addiction was such a fundamental part of our identity—if it had developed long ago and had shaped or deformed many of our other personality traits, our relationships, and our value system—then we had to ask whether all our prior ideas about who and what we were might be incorrect or ill-founded. This is not to say that on a practical level everything we thought we knew about ourselves was wrong. But if we really wanted to change ourselves and lead new and sane lives, we had to admit to the possibility that anything, if not everything, we believed could be faulty or destructive.
Denial and delusions come from addictive and co-addictive impaired thinking (self-will) and acting (life choices). Insanity means losing touch with reality. As we prepare to make a decision to turn our will and life over to the care of our Higher Power, we need to gain perspective on what is real and what is not.
Q. Review your life choices and present situation and make a ‘loss of reality’ inventory list
‘No sense of reality’: means losing touch with reality because of obsession and compulsively repeating the same behaviour without self-fulfilling results, over-extension, caretaking, fantasy, exhaustion such as burn-out, anxiety based on chronic low self-esteem and substance or process addiction.
‘Distortion of reality’: means reality is blurred by the power of our love addiction; ‘my thoughts are true because my addiction wants it so’; and faulty beliefs, ‘I am only loveable if I do for others’.
‘Ignoring reality’: not assessing risks accurately; repeating compulsive behaviour; financial over-extension etc.
Making a Decision:
We wondered, what would our lives be like if we were ready to empty ourselves of our love addiction and instead let ourselves be filled through God’s Grace? With no guarantees, and with much apprehension, but with at least the rudiments of faith, we came to understand that if we were unable to prescribe our own treatment for recovery from love addiction, we would be better off turning “our will and our lives over” to the God of our understanding, even if we did not know what might happen as a result. We made the decision to do this, however abstract the idea seemed. The central action in Step Three is making a decision
Q. What does ‘made a decision’ at this point mean to you?
Q. What fears and reservations do you have making this decision?
Q. What action have you taken to follow through on your decision? Prayer, practicing surrender, Letting Go and letting God; Serenity Prayer and meditation
The idea of surrendering our will and lives to a power greater than ourselves may be terrifying. For so long, we deferred the responsibility of caring for ourselves to others. By working the Third Step we are allowing a Higher Power to care for us, not control or conduct our lives for us. We stop wearing ourselves out trying to make everything happen as if we were in charge of the world. We are accepting that a power greater than ourselves will do a better job of caring for our will (thoughts) and lives (actions, behaviour) than we have.
Q. How have I acted on self-will (self-centeredness) so far? What were my motives? (examples of self-will are controlling, avoiding and isolating; caretaking; using and abusing others; aggression; selfishly acting on impulse)
Q. How has acting on self-will affected my life?
Q. What is the difference between ‘destructive self-will’ and ‘constructive recovery action’?
Trust in a Higher Power does not come easy for many of us. We may be frightened by the thought of surrendering and trusting God to take care of us. What if God doesn’t do what we think is best? What if ‘they’, the objects of our love, fantasy and infatuation don’t change?
Q: How is God working in my life today?
God of our Understanding:
In Step Three each one of us will have to come to some conclusion about what we think “God” means. Our understanding does not have to be complex or complete. We may discover that we are very clear about what God is not for us, but not what God is; and that is okay. Our concept of God will grow as we grow in our recovery.
Q. How can I work on developing a relationship with my Higher Power that brings peace and serenity and fosters trust, hope and faith for my recovery?
Your perception of a Higher Power has evolved over the years. Clarifying your attitude towards a Higher Power will help you to truly reflect on how you want to relate to your Higher Power
Q. On the list below circle 6 words that best describe how you understand God or your Higher Power:
Judgemental strict negative rigid
Cruel arbitrary caring trustable
Loving purposeful compassionate predictable
Distant indifferent uncaring non-attentive
Absent disengaged hoax unreal
Non-existent fanciful imaginary non-judgemental
Q: What do you need to do to overcome negative beliefs or unproductive and critical preconceptions about the qualities of your Higher Power?
Q: How do you communicate with your Higher Power?
Turning my will and life over:
For many recovering Love Addicts, the order in which we surrender our will and our lives to the care of the God of our understanding seems to best flow like this. First, we turn over our will; then, gradually, we turn over our lives. It seems easier to grasp the destructive nature of our self-will and accept that it must be surrendered. Harder to grasp is the need to turn over our lives and the process of that surrender. To be comfortable with allowing our Higher Power to care for our lives, we will have to develop some trust. Many of us have trouble letting go completely. We think we trust our Higher Power with certain areas of our lives, but immediately take back control the first time we get scared or things are not going the way we think they should. It is necessary that we continue to practise and examine our progress in turning it over.
Q. Do you have trouble accepting help from others?
Q. Examine your willingness to being helped by a power greater than yourself. Explain.
Q. Which parts of your life are difficult to turn over?
Q. If I cannot trust myself, how can I trust a Higher Power? How do I practice trusting?
Q. Turning your will and life over requires action; what actions have you taken so far to surrender to the care of a Higher Power? How will you follow through and continue to practise surrender?
Q. Write a paragraph on what you think your life will look like when you surrender and have faith in your Higher Power’s will for you.
Practicing the principle of surrender is easy for us when everything is going well. When things are going smoothly for us, we are lulled into a belief that we are in control. Keeping the principle of surrender alive in our spirits is essential, even when things are not going well.
Q: What does surrender and the willingness to change mean to you?
We usually feel most willing immediately following our surrender. Willingness often comes as a result of despair or a struggle for control. We can practise the principle of willingness, before it becomes necessary and thus possibly save ourselves some pain.
Q: In what ways have you demonstrated willingness in your recovery thus far?
Q. In what ways can I practice shifting from fear to faith?
There is a progression in moving from the spiritual principle of hope to faith and to trust in the third step leading us to adhere to the spiritual principle of commitment. Hope springs from the knowledge that our life is full of possibilities when we learn to take care of ourselves, detach from toxic relationships, love fantasies, love avoidance and seeking self-worth through idolizing others. Lingering doubts fade as hope becomes faith. Faith propels us forward into action and change; we do the work that those we have faith in are telling us is necessary. In the Third Step, faith gives us the capacity to make a decision and carry that decision into action. Trust comes into play after faith has been applied.
Q. How have hope, faith and trust become positive forces in your life?
Q. How will you apply the spiritual principles of commitment, discipline, patience and perseverance to your list of actions in Step Three?
Q. Make a list of actions (see bottom line behaviour in Step One) which you need to take in order to become responsible for yourself.
The central theme of Step Three is best expressed by the slogan “Let Go and Let God”. The idea of letting go can help us greatly because we see that surrendering our will allows us further growth. We begin to realise that God takes good care of us. As long as we do the “footwork” and do not expect God to do everything for us, we will find God’s will for us and the power to carry it out.
As we get ready to go on to Step Four, we’ll want to take a look at what we have gained by working Step Three.
Q. do you have any reservations about your decision to turn your will and your life over the care of God as you understand God?
Q. How does your surrender in the First Step help you in the third Step?
Q. Having worked Step Three, what is your understanding of a Higher Power working in your life now?
Q. Are you prepared to surrender your will and your life to the God of your understanding?
STEP THREE CEREMONY
To be done with your sponsor or co-sponsor / group
To perform the ceremony you will need five candles, the LAA basic text and the 12 promises of LAA.
(Sponsor reads aloud): Working the program of Love Addicts Anonymous offers each of us the opportunity to develop honesty, open mindedness and willingness. We learn to set and maintain our bottom line behaviors, learn to reach out to our recovery friends, attend meetings and develop a healthy trust in another human being, our sponsors. All of these things in Step One reinforce our growth as we begin our journey into recovery.
A reminder to ourselves that action is a key tool in this program.
(Sponsor) I wish to thank you for asking me to be your sponsor. I would like you to know that your journey in recovery is adding to my own recovery and that it will continue to do so.
(Sponsor) In front of us you can see five candles. Each candle we light will signify a step toward arresting the progression of our Love Addiction.
The first two represent HONESTY AND REALITY. These are pertinent to recovery as a love addict because without these two qualities recovery is not possible.
(Sponsee - lighting the first candle as the Sponsor reads) The candle of honesty is the guiding light of all who strive for progress in recovery of Love Addiction. The sunlight of honesty permits no double standard. We must fearlessly face honesty to avoid self-deception.
(Sponsee - lighting the second candle as the Sponsor reads) This is the candle of reality. It clears a path to a new life set in a new light. This light offers new opportunities and a fresh start in recovery. Without reality we will remain in the darkness of our unhealthy behavior.
Sponsee to read aloud Step One from the LAA Basic Text.
Sponsor to ask the sponsee the following questions so he/she my re-take the first step:
‘Can you recall how you felt on your first day working the LAA program?
‘What does ‘powerlessness mean to you?’
‘Are you able to recognize the warning signs of unmanageability in your life? What do you do when you feel things are getting unmanageable?’
‘How do you feel obsession is part of your life? What have you done to try to manage your obsession? Are you content with your management of obsession?’
‘Do you feel there is a solution for you today?’
(Sponsor) Congratulations! You now completed the First Step.
(Sponsee - lighting the third candle as the Sponsor reads) This is the candle of surrender. In the LAA program surrender to our powerlessness over our unhealthy behavior is the first part of our journey toward recovery. Without surrender we cannot continue.
Sponsee to read aloud Step Two from the LAA Basic Text.
Sponsor to ask the sponsee the following questions so he/she my re-take Step Two:
‘what does this step mean to you?’
‘Do you believe that a Power greater than yourself can restore you to sanity?’
‘The program of Love Addicts Anonymous is not a religious program and requires only an open mind to believe in something greater than ourselves to get us to the next step. How open minded are you?’
‘What hope do you have today?’
(Sponsor) Congratulations! You have just taken the first Two Steps.
(Sponsee - lighting the third candle as the Sponsor reads) This is the candle that signifies acceptance. Without accepting ourselves as Love Addicts we could not have progressed this far. When we learn to accept we are able to see things as they truly are. We accept that we have spent a big part, if not our whole lives living out unhealthy patterns and behaviors. We can now open our minds and have hope that we can be restored to sanity.
(Sponsor) Before we go further 1 would like to read Step Three from the LAA Basic Text.
(Sponsor) You now have the power as a result of experiencing a spiritual awakening.
Your spiritual awakening began at the moment of surrender in Step One, at that moment you received the power.
(Sponsor to share their experience of keeping a connection to a Higher Power)
Having faith does not necessarily mean you have let a Higher Power into your life but your willingness demonstrates that you are putting aside your old ways. We will continue to hand our will over and ask for Gods guidance.
‘Step Three asks for you to make a decision, are you willing to make that decision?’
(Sponsor)The central theme of Step Three is best expressed by the slogan “Let Go and Let God”. The idea of letting go can help us greatly because we see that surrendering our will allows us further growth. We begin to realise that God takes good care of us. As long as we do the “footwork” and do not expect God to do everything for us, we will find God’s will for us and the power to carry it out.
(Sponsor) Congratulations! You have just taken the Third Step.
(Sponsee - lighting the fifth candle as the Sponsor reads)
The fifth candle is the candle that signifies our Higher Power and it opens the door of truth and knowledge. We can see our progress and feel our Higher Power working in our lives. We can accept our Higher Power in our lives and trust the path we are being guided on as long as we hand over our will on a daily basis.
Sources: Basic Texts LAA, NA, SLAA, CoDA, The Gentle Path