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Alcoholism and the Third Step in Alanon

Updated on April 23, 2017
Deborah-Diane profile image

Deborah has several alcoholic relatives. She became active in Al-anon, for families of alcoholics, over 37 years ago, often helping others.

Learn to Trust That Your Life is in the Hands of a Higher Power - And So is the Life of Your Alcoholic

Anyone can be an alcoholic.  You might be shocked to know how many alcoholics are in your circle of friends.
Anyone can be an alcoholic. You might be shocked to know how many alcoholics are in your circle of friends. | Source

Relax! Stop Trying to Fix the Alcoholic!

The 3rd Step of Alanon suggests that we stop worrying so much about others, including the alcoholics and addicts in our life, and ask a Higher Power (however you interpret those words) to take over our lives, and theirs, instead!

The exact words of the Third Step are: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand him.

Alanon is an organization designed to help the friends and families of people who are suffering from alcoholism and/or drug abuse. In the Alanon 3rd step, members are asked to make a decision to turn their will and their lives over to the care of a God of their own understanding. Many of us have been struggling just to survive when we first come into Alanon. We have been trying as hard as we can to “save” the alcoholic. We have been trying to get someone else to live according to our “will.” We are certain that we know what is best for them.

The idea of simply "letting go and letting God", or "turning our will and lives over to God" seems overwhelming. This is frightening. How can other people survive without our help?

Terrified as we are of letting go, we realize that nothing we have done has worked. Your loved one is in God’s hands ... no matter what your religion. If you do not belong to a religion, your version of a Higher Power could be Fate, the Universe or some other vision. Accepting that we are not in control of another person and turning them over to a Higher Power gives us a powerful sense of relief!

What has this step meant to the scores of Alanon members I have heard share their stories during the past 36 years?

Learn More About How Alanon Works

How Al-Anon Works for Families & Friends of Alcoholics by Al-Anon Family Groups (2008) Paperback
How Al-Anon Works for Families & Friends of Alcoholics by Al-Anon Family Groups (2008) Paperback

As a member of Alanon for over 36 years, I have found this book to be very useful in understanding how the 12 Steps can make a huge difference in your life, as well as the lives of the alcoholics and addicts you love.

 

Turning Our Lives Over to God

The 3rd Step of Alanon suggests that we stop worrying so much about others, including the alcoholic or addict, and ask God to take over our lives, and their lives, instead!

Alanon is an organization designed to help the friends and families of people who are suffering from alcoholism and/or drug abuse. In the Alanon 3rd step, members are asked to make a decision to turn their will and their lives over to the care of a God of their own understanding. Many of us had been struggling to survive when we first come into Alanon. We had been trying as hard as we could to “save” the alcoholic or addict. We were trying to get someone else to live according to our “will.” We were certain we knew what was best for them.

The idea of simply "letting go and letting God", or "turning our will and lives over to God" seems overwhelming. This is frightening. How can other people survive without our help?

Terrified as we are of letting go, we realize that nothing we have done has worked. Your loved one is in God’s hand. Accepting this gives us a powerful sense of relief!

Many Couples Believe Alanon Has Saved Their Relationship - It Has Been an Al-Anon Book for Over 30 Years

Hope for Today
Hope for Today

This book of daily Alanon meditations is something I read regularly. I read it virtually every day as the way to start my day and get my focus on improving my own behavior rather than the behavior of someone else. Reading it has made me a better person.

 

Trusting the God of Your Understanding

Remember, this is the concept of God which makes you comfortable, not someone else's version of God. You do not need to change religions, or believe something which makes you uncomfortable. Turning your will and your life over to the care of a God of your understanding, as suggested in the 3rd Step of Alanon, does not mean you stop trying to live your own life. You will continue to work, pay your bills, raise your children and lead your life. The difference is that, as long as you are doing your part, you will trust that the God of your understanding is doing His part. The consequences are up to Him. You will learn to accept that even when things seem to be going terribly wrong, the ultimate result may be good.

When you take the 3rd Step of Alanon, and trust the God of your understanding with the people you love, you no longer have to worry so much about them. Of course, you will still be concerned about some of the decisions they make. You may wonder how things will work out for them.

However, you will trust they are ultimately in God's hands. It will give you an entirely new perspective on what happens. Perhaps they get arrested for drunk driving or drug possession. If they are in God's hands, you can rest in the assurance that at least they will not be drinking and driving, or using drugs, while they are in jail. They also will not be driving you crazy. There's even the possibility that this will be the wake-up call they need in order to become sober. Whatever the result, you can trust that their lives are ultimately in God's hands. This is what it means to work the 3rd Step of Alanon.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2011 Deborah-Diane

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    • Deborah-Diane profile imageAUTHOR

      Deborah-Diane 

      4 years ago from Orange County, California

      Members of Alanon have learned how to improve the quality of their own lives, as well as the lives of other members of their family, even when the alcoholics do not stop drinking. It is life changing!

    • ezzly profile image

      ezzly 

      4 years ago

      letting go is very hard, I love the saying let go and let God. Thanks for this wonderful hub, voted up and sharing!

    • Deborah-Diane profile imageAUTHOR

      Deborah-Diane 

      5 years ago from Orange County, California

      Millions of people who care about an alcoholic have found help in reading Alanon literature and articles, or going to meetings.

    • sujaya venkatesh profile image

      sujaya venkatesh 

      5 years ago

      God is our ultimate saviour deb

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 

      5 years ago from North Texas

      Very sage advice since we really can't control other people. We can only control ourselves. Putting someone in God's hands and trusting Him to do what's best is always a good decision. Excellent hub for people to think about . . . shared.

    • Deborah-Diane profile imageAUTHOR

      Deborah-Diane 

      5 years ago from Orange County, California

      God's time is often different than our time ... but we're still better off when we trust Him!

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 

      5 years ago from North Texas

      It's usually best to let God do the driving (directing our lives, etc.), but sometimes it can be so hard to keep from grabbing the wheel when He decides to take the scenic route instead of the shortcut and we're in a hurry!

    • Deborah-Diane profile imageAUTHOR

      Deborah-Diane 

      6 years ago from Orange County, California

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I have found that turning my life and will over to the care of God, as I understand him, is the key to having serenity. It's a great way to live, whether you are in a 12 Step program or not.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 

      6 years ago from North Texas

      Calling on a higher power to help find solutions to problems can be very worthwhile to resolving issues. Sometimes too, restraining oneself from pointing a finger and putting all the blame on the other person is also helpful. Going at a problem from a point of view that it is 'our' problem rather than 'your' problem can sometimes be beneficial. Instead of being adversaries you then become a team working with that higher power to find solutions.

      This is another important step to helping a person feel like they have control of their own lives, which is the first step to their actually having that control. Voted up and will share.

    • stars439 profile image

      stars439 

      7 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

      A wonderful hub that is very helpful. It is sad what alcohol can do to people. God Bless You dear heart.

    • profile image

      Kathleen Kerswig 

      7 years ago

      The third step is a big deal. Trusting in a Higher Power is not always easy for some people. I have been taught that God doesn't have grandchildren. If He is taking care of me He is also taking care of the alcoholics in my life. I have a dear friend who is suffering right now - she can't seem to detach from the alcoholic in her life. We talked about Step 2 and Step 3 yesterday and she started to see what must be done. The steps work - we just need to be willing to work them. Thank you for your insight into step 3.

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