RA offers hope, sanity, and recovery, especially to those who, despite their best efforts, have yet to find full recoveries, no matter what their problems or behaviors may be and their family and friends.
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 Part 1: Absorbing the program and philosophy
 
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H) Reading and Discussing Step Three
This introduces the Twelve Steps and discusses the "clear-cut directions" for
working Step Three.
 
 

Chapter Five

HOW IT WORKS

Introducing the Twelve Steps


1. The fifth chapter in R.A.'s Multilith Big Book, "How It Works," contains three parts. The first part is an introduction designed to encourage newcomers to work the Twelve Steps.

2. The second part is a discussion of the Third Step that is also used to explain the need for the Fourth Step.

3. The third part of this chapter contains the "clear-cut directions" for us to follow so we can actually duplicate the pioneers' Fourth Step inventory.

4. In this section of R.A.'s Step Presentation, we are going to read and discuss the first two parts of this chapter. This is part of the process of absorbing the pioneers' program and philosophy.

5. We are then going to thoroughly follow each of the "clear-cut directions" the pioneers give us for doing their Fourth Step inventory.

6. Later, in Part 2 of R.A.'s Step Presentation, we will formally go through Steps Three and Four.

7. If you have been in other Twelve Step programs, we suspect that you have read the following paragraph many, many times.

8. We hope that as we read and discuss them now, you will see some things you were not previously aware of.

9. In R.A.'s Multilith Big Book, on page 26, the first paragraph says:

"Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our directions. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a way of life which demands rigorous honesty. Their chances are less than average. There are those, too, who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest."

10. Please notice that the wording of the first sentence is different in R.A.'s Multilith Big Book. It says, "Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our directions," instead of "path."

11. They felt that compulsive people would have a problem with being given "directions," so they change the wording to "path."

12. However, since they left the reference to their "clear-cut directions" that is on page 13, changing this, and some other references to "directions," in the current Big Book, just makes things confusing for newcomers.

13. The next sentence says, "Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program."

14. The pioneers are saying that those who do recover are people who, "completely give themselves to this simple program."

15. They are saying that some people choose not to completely work the Twelve Steps.

16. Then they become more specific in describing these people. They say that these people are "...usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a way of life which demands rigorous honesty."

17. Some people try to use this passage to validate their belief that the program is not for them. They believe that this excludes them. They think that because they are sometime not honest, they were born without the ability to be honest. Therefore, they think the program won't work for them.

18. However, the pioneers go on to say, "Their chances are less than average."

19. So, even if someone was born without the ability to be honest, they can still recover. Their chances would only be less than average.

20. The fact is that very few people are born without the ability to be honest. Therefore, if you have ever, in your life, been honest, you were not born without the ability to be honest. Therefore, this passage was designed to include you. It was designed to assure you that you could recover.

21. The pioneers continue by saying, "There are those, too, who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders."

22. There are those who use this passage to exclude themselves from the possibility of finding recovery. They may believe that they have "grave emotional and mental disorders" that will stop them from working the program.

23. However, the pioneers go on to say that many of the people with grave emotional and mental disorders, "do recover if they have the capacity to be honest."

24. Think about it for a few moments. Does it make any sense for the pioneers to start off the chapter "How it Works" with a paragraph designed to exclude people from the program? We don't think so!

25. This first paragraph is designed to entice people, include people, and encourage people to work the program.

26. Remember, the pioneers start this chapter, this paragraph, off by saying, "Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our directions."

27. In R.A., we believe that changing "directions" to "path" is one reason why people no longer understand that the Big Book contains the pioneers' "clear-cut directions."

28. This change contributes to the mistaken impression that someone can work the Twelve Steps anyway they want, and yet somehow still get the same results the pioneers found.

29. Instead of thoroughly following the pioneers' "clear-cut directions," they think they can follow a more general "path."

30. Someone simply needs to ask him or herself if they have ever been honest with themselves.

31. If they answer "yes," then they are not constitutionally incapable, of being honest with themselves. Very few people are.

32. There are a few people who are born pathological liars, who are born without the ability to be honest, but that doesn't apply to most people.

33. The pioneers are telling us, "There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a way of life which demands rigorous honesty."

34. So, the only people that the pioneers are talking about are those few people who were born without the ability to be honest. That is a handful of people. However, the pioneers are not even excluding those few people who are born without the ability to be honest. All they are saying is that their chances are less than average.

35. In other words, even those few people who are born without the ability to be honest can still work the program successfully.

36. The pioneers are not excluding anyone.

37. They go on to say, "There are those, too, who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders..." That's true, but is this paragraph excluding them? Of course not.

38. The pioneers specifically say that "...many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest."

39. Therefore, this paragraph was not designed to exclude anyone. It was designed to include everyone.

40. In R.A.'s Multilith Big Book, on page 26, the second paragraph says:

"Our stories disclose in a general way what we used to be like, what happened, and what we are like now. If you have decided you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it — then you are ready to follow directions."

41. This is an important statement. It points out that we have already done a lot of reading. We have read the forewords, the "Doctor's Opinion," and the preceding twenty-five pages of the first four chapters in R.A.'s Multilith Big Book.

42. Now they are talking about their stories. These stories are the "personal narratives" we have already read. These are not the stories at the back of the book. They didn't expect people stop reading here, read the stories at the end of the book, and then come back here.

43. They are referring to "Bill's Story," and all of the little stories that were on the pages we have already read.

44. These stories let someone know what the pioneers used to be like, what happened to lead them to work the program, and what they are like after working the program.

45. Now, based on this information, they are asking people to make a decision. They want to know if someone wants what the pioneers found, if they want the recovery the pioneers found, and if they are willing to go to any length to get the recovery the pioneers found, for him or herself.

46. Notice that they have made this decision a kind of prerequisite for working the Twelve Steps. The pioneers say that if someone has decided that they want what the pioneers have, and are willing to go to any length to get it, then they "are ready to follow directions."

47. If someone does not know what the pioneers found, or if they are not willing to go to any length to get it, then they are NOT ready to follow the pioneers' "clear-cut directions."

48. Notice that this paragraph also originally said, "follow directions." This was later changed to, "…take certain steps."

49. The change from the original wording helps make the Big Book's purpose as an instruction manual harder for people to see.

50. The original wording makes it clear that this next paragraph is talking about the pioneers' "clear-cut directions."

51. In R.A.'s Multilith Big Book, on page 26, the third paragraph says:

"At some of these you may balk. You may think you can find an easier, softer way. We doubt if you can. With all the earnestness at our command, we beg of you to be fearless and thorough from the very start. Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely."

52. For those who may not know, to "balk" simply means to hesitate.

53. So, the pioneers are saying that someone may hesitate to follow some of their "directions." They may just not want to follow them. Other people may think they can find an easier, softer way.

54. However, the pioneers go on to say that, based on their experience, they "doubt if you can."

55. They then go on to beg someone to be "fearless and thorough from the very start."

56. The pioneers then relate their experience. They say, "Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely."

57. It is common for someone to try to hold on to his or her old ideas. However, the pioneers are sharing their experience. They tell us that they did not get a result until they "let go absolutely."

58. One of the oldest ideas someone may have is that they can somehow control their problems and behaviors. They hold on to the old idea that they are responsible for controlling their problems or behaviors.

59. The new idea is that someone needs to stop trying to control his or her problems and behaviors. The new idea is that they need to let go absolutely, totally, completely, in order to recover.

60. It is insane for someone to keep trying to control something they have repeatedly proven they are powerless to control. It is insane for someone to keep beating him or herself up because they have a spiritual illness, a spiritual malady that causes them to hurt others or themselves.

61. Someone is not responsible for being sick. They are not responsible for being powerless. They are not responsible for being unable to control the symptoms of their spiritual malady.

62. Certainly, someone is responsible for correcting any damage his or her spiritual malady may have caused him or her to do. They do this by making amends. This means that they try to restore things to the way things would have been if he or she had not done whatever they did..

63. One of R.A.'s members shares how having a cold helped him to understand this. He says:

"Having a cold helped me to understand that I was powerless. I realized that I could not stop myself from having it. I also realized that I could not stop myself from having the symptoms that go along with having a cold.

"I had a runny nose. I was coughing and sneezing. Sometimes I would cough or sneeze at inappropriate times. This taught me that I was powerless over these symptoms.

"For example, one time I was having a conversation with someone. I felt a sneeze coming on. I tried, with all my might, to stifle it. I was not able to. In spite of my best intentions, I sneezed all over the person I was talking to.

"That was when I realized that even though I was powerless and could not could not stop myself from sneezing, that sneezing was not my fault, I still needed to apologize.

"I learned that I still needed to take responsibility for my actions. I still needed to offer the person I was talking to a tissue and try to help them clean up.

"In other words, I have learned that even though I am powerless, I still need to make amends for any harm I have done. I need to try to correct any damage my behavior may have caused."

64. In place of the old idea of self-control, the program gives a new idea. It is for someone to admit that they are powerless, that his or her life is unmanageable by them. It is that his or her past behavior has been insane. Most importantly this new idea is that God can, and will, restore them to sanity in every area of their lives.

65. Some other programs only focus one problem or behavior. That is all they are interested in. They don't seem to realize that this is placing a limitation on which part of someone's life they are asking God to demonstrate in.

66. However, in R.A. we take the label off of our problems and behaviors. This makes it easier for someone to surrender, to admit they are powerless, in every area of his or her life. In R.A., we work the program so God can restore us to sanity in every part of our lives.

67. The old idea is that someone is responsible for controlling all of his or her problems and behaviors. The new idea is that God will do for us what we cannot do for ourselves.

68. In R.A.'s Multilith Big Book, on page 26, the fourth paragraph says:

"Remember that you are dealing with alcohol — cunning, baffling, powerful! Without help it is too much for you. But there is One who has all power — that One is God. You must find Him now!"

69. In this paragraph the pioneers are again making it clear that the Higher Power they are talking about is God. They say that, "there is One who has all power." Please note the capital letter on the word, "One."

70. Then just so there can't be any misunderstanding, the pioneers go on to say, "that One is God." Again notice the capital letter on the word, "One."

71. Here in R.A.'s Multilith Big Book, in the original wording of this sentence, the pioneers don't equivocate. They say someone MUST find God now.

72. This next paragraph makes the pioneers' point even clearer.

73. In R.A.'s Multilith Big Book, on page 26, the fifth paragraph says:

"Half measures will avail you nothing. You stand at the turning point. Throw yourself under His protection and care with complete abandon."

74. The pioneers are saying that half measures will not work. Someone cannot expect to get any result from only turning over part of their life, part of their problems or behaviors, to God.

75. The pioneers are saying that only working half of the steps will produce no results. Someone cannot expect to work half the steps and get half the results.

76. They are saying that admitting powerlessness in part of someone's life, while they still try to exercise control in other parts of their life, will not work.

77. The pioneers are saying that, "half measures will avail [someone] nothing."

78. The pioneers then go on to say, "You stand at the turning point. Throw yourself under His protection and care with complete abandon."

79. Now they tell us that this is "the turning point." This is the point where someone needs to let go of the old idea that they can control their problems or behaviors. This is the point where someone needs to place themselves under God's protection and care.

80. This is the point where someone needs to stop thinking they are responsible for their problems and behaviors. They need to completely abandon their old idea of self-control, and let God do for them, all those things they can't do for themselves. They need to throw themselves under His protection and care with "complete abandon."

81. Now, if someone is still trying to use the concept of a bus as their higher power, throwing themselves under it, might not be the best idea.

82. In R.A., we think that this wording makes it clear that the pioneers did not consider a bus to be a valid, long-term replacement, for God.

83. The pioneers are very specific. They say someone is supposed to throw him or herself under God's protection and care with "complete abandon."

84. This means to totally give up, to totally surrender. This means, as we read on page 14, that the, "delusion that we are like other people, or presently may be, had to be smashed." It goes on to say that, "We alcoholics are men and women who had lost the ability to control our drinking. We know that no real alcoholic ever recovered this control."

85. Remember, the pioneers tell us that someone needs to ask God's protection and care with "complete abandon."

86. Someone cannot surrender some parts of their life to God, while holding on to other parts. This isn't like a menu where someone can pick one problem from column A to surrender to God, while taking two behaviors from column B to deal with him or herself.

87. It doesn't work that way. Someone needs to place every part of their lives, every problem, every behavior, under God's protection and care.

88. R.A.'s experience is that working the program in this way makes things a lot simpler.

89. One of R.A.'s members shares why this is true for him:

"When I was in another program, I used to spend a lot of time and energy trying to figure out how I was supposed to talk to non-program people, the people I met outside the program.

"I also needed to be aware of when I was talking to other program people.

"I would spend a lot of time mentally debating which parts of my life I was powerless over, and which parts I was still responsible for controlling.

"In R.A., I finally learned that it was much simpler to surrender it all, my entire life, all my problems and behaviors, every aspect of my life, to God.

"I can now be consistent in how I talk to people. It no longer matters if they are in the program, or not.

"I no longer have to waste energy debating which parts of my life are in God's hands, and which are in mine.

"I have thrown myself, my life, my will, my problems, my behaviors, every part of my life, under God's protection and care. I have let go absolutely.

"How much clearer could the pioneers be?"

90. When the pioneers say someone must "let go absolutely," "with complete abandon," we believe there is no room for equivocation, or interpretation, or "half measures."

91. In R.A.'s Multilith Big Book, on page 26, the sixth paragraph says:

"Now we think you can take it! Here are the steps we took, which are suggested as your Program of Recovery."

92. Once again the pioneers are sharing their experience. They are saying, "Here are the steps we took, which are suggested as your Program of Recovery."

93. In R.A., we believe that we have now clarified something that is often misunderstood in other programs.

94. The Twelve Steps that are written on this page are not the pioneers' "clear-cut directions" for working the Twelve Steps. The chapters in the Big Book contain the pioneers' "clear-cut directions" for working the Twelve Steps.

95. In R.A.'s Multilith Big Book, on page 26, the First Step says:

"Admitted we were powerless over alcohol — that our lives had become unmanageable"

96. In other programs, it is common for someone to read the text of this step and think they have worked the First Step. This is not the case.

97. In R.A.'s Multilith Big Book, on page 26, the Second Step says:

"Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity."

98. Many people read this sentence and think they have taken the Second Step. This is true even if they misunderstand this step and think it says, "Came to believe in a Power greater than myself."

99. They don't understand that this step is talking about coming to believe in a specific understanding of a Power greater than ourselves. This is talking about coming to believe in a God who can and will restore us to sanity.

100. There is the same problem with the Third Step.

101. In R.A.'s Multilith Big Book, on page 26, the Third Step says:

"Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care and direction of God as we understood Him."

102. This is not the pioneers' "clear-cut" direction for taking the Third Step.

103. Each of the Twelve Steps that are written on this page is only a summary. They describe what we end up doing after we follow the pioneers' "clear-cut directions" for taking each of these steps. These steps summarize the results we get when we follow the pioneers' "clear-cut directions."

104. For example, when someone goes through R.A.'s Multilith Big Book, and follows the pioneers' "clear-cut directions" for working the First Step, they wind up at a point where they will have admitted that they are powerless—that their lives have become unmanageable.

105. When someone follows the pioneers' "clear-cut directions" for working the Second Step, they will reach a point where they will have come to believe that a Power greater than themselves could restore them to sanity.

106. When someone follows the pioneers' "clear-cut directions" for working the Third Step, they will reach a point where they will make a decision to turn their will and their life over to the care and direction of God as the pioneers understood Him.

107. Please notice something very interesting here on page 26 in the Third Step. The pioneers did not say, "God as you understand Him."

108. The concept of "God as you understand Him" was very important to the growth of the program. It opened the program's door to many people, who might otherwise have been deterred. However, in the Multilith Big Book, in the Third Step, the pioneers originally said, "God as we understood Him.".

109. Elsewhere in R.A.'s Multilith Big Book, the pioneers repeatedly say, "you" in their "clear-cut directions." So, it probably would have made sense for them to also say "you" in the Third Step. Yet, they did not.

110. It was only when the pioneers moved the Multilith text into the current Big Book that they changed to using "we" in many of the places they originally said "you" in R.A.'s Multilith Big Book.

111. So, we believe the pioneers decision to say "God as we understood Him" in the Third Step is deliberate and therefore significant. So, let's take a moment to look back at how the pioneers describe God as they understood Him.

112. In R.A.'s Multilith Big Book on page 5, Bill describes how his friend Ebby "talked for hours" about the nature of spirituality and God. At the bottom of this page, Bill writes about, "a God personal to me, who was love, superhuman strength and direction."

113. Later on page 5, Bill's friend Ebby makes, "the point-blank declaration that God had done for him what he could not do for himself."

114. In R.A.'s Multilith Big Book on page 6, Bill says that after his lengthy conversations with Ebby, he could see that his "friend was much more than inwardly reorganized. He was on a different footing. His roots grasped a new soil."

115. In the next paragraph, Bill says that "Thus was [he] convinced that God is concerned with us humans, when we want Him enough."

116. On page 21, the pioneers go on to describe God as, "a Creative Intelligence, A Spirit of the Universe underlying the totality of things." On page 22, they also describe God as, "an All Powerful, Guiding, Creative Intelligence."

117. In R.A.'s Multilith Big Book on page 25, the pioneers then describe God as, "the Presence of Infinite Power and Love." Later, on page 25, the pioneers state that, "God restored us all to our right minds." Finally, on page 25 they end by assuring us that if you, "Draw near to Him…He will disclose Himself to you!

118. Just as Ebby spent hours talking to Bill, the pioneers spend a lot of time and energy using the Big Book to give us very detailed descriptions of God, as they understood Him.

119. So, someone can certainly start the program with any concept of God they wish. However, in R.A., we believe there is a reason the pioneers spend so much time and energy explaining their understanding of God to us. It is because they hope their understanding of God will help us to "make a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care and direction of God," when we take the Third Step.

120. In R.A.'s Multilith Big Book, on page 26, the Fourth Step says:

"Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves."

121. The same misunderstanding happens with the Fourth Step. Some people in other programs think that this is the complete instruction for taking the inventory.

122. Therefore, some people think they can invent any inventory they want, as long as it seems to fit this description. That is why there are dozens, if not hundreds, of different inventories available in other programs.

123. Most of these inventories have nothing to do with the pioneers' "clear-cut directions" that are in R.A.'s Multilith Big Book.

124. Because of the confusion about the inventory, some people spend years working on their version. Other people write hundreds of pages detailing their every fault, every time they think they did something wrong.

125. When we get to that part of this chapter, we are going to do the inventory by following the pioneers' "clear-cut directions."

126. In R.A.'s Multilith Big Book, on page 26, the Fifth Step says:

"Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs."

127. In addition to people thinking that this is the instruction for the Fifth Step, the use of the word "wrongs" adds more confusion to the mix.

128. In some other programs, in some other meetings, people do not understand the connection between the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, and Ninth Steps. They mistakenly believe that each of these steps is totally separate from each other.

129. They do not understand that our character defects connect all of these steps.

130. They do not understand that a "moral" inventory is an inventory of our character defects.

131. Therefore, in the Fifth Step, they look for the exact nature of their "wrongs," which they usually interpret as their bad behavior.

132. For an explanation of the true meaning of "wrongs" we are going to turn to page 33 in R.A.'s Multilith Big Book, read a paragraph, and then come back to page 26.

133. We suggest that you keep your finger on page 26, by Step Five. We will be back here in a few minutes.

134. In R.A.'s Multilith Big Book on page 33, the first paragraph of the chapter "Into Action" says:

"Having made your personal inventory, what shall you do about it? You have been trying to get a new attitude, a new relationship with your Creator, and to discover the obstacles in your path. You have admitted certain defects; you have ascertained in a rough way what the trouble is; you have put your finger on the weak items in your personal inventory. Now these are about to be cast out. This requires action on your part, which, when completed, will mean that you have admitted to God, to yourself, and to another human being, the exact nature of your defects. This brings us to the fifth step in the Program of Recovery mentioned in the preceding chapter."

135. It is obvious that the "personal inventory" they are talking about is the Fourth Step inventory. The pioneers then go on to ask, "What shall you do about it?"

136. Next they describe the purpose of the inventory. They tell us that doing their inventory, following their "clear-cut directions," is designed to give someone a new attitude. It is designed to help someone develop a new relationship with God, and to find the obstacles in their path.

137. The next sentence says that someone doing the inventory will "have admitted certain defects." This confirms that a "moral" inventory is an inventory of character defects.

138. It is clear that the obstacles in someone's path, the trouble, the weak items, are their character defects.

139. The pioneers then go on to tell us that the next part of the process is for these character defects to be cast out. They say that this requires action. They go on to say that when this action is completed, we will have done certain things.

140. Now notice that this next part of the process is a paraphrase of the Fifth Step.

141. The pioneers say that when these actions are completed, it "will mean that you have admitted to God, to yourself, and to another human being, the exact nature of your defects."

142. This makes it clear that Bill used the word "wrongs" to be synonymous with "defects."

143. In other words, the Fifth Step is where someone admits to God, to themselves, and to another human being, the exact nature of the defects they found when they did their inventory.

144. Now, let's go back to page 26.

145. In R.A.'s Multilith Big Book, on page 26, the Sixth Step says:

"Were entirely willing that God remove all these defects of character."

146. This was later changed to "entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character."

147. Notice that this step is still talking about the defects of character we searched for in the inventory, and admitted having, in the Fifth Step.

148. Now, this is where someone has an attitude change. Instead of thinking they have to remove their own defects of character, they become entirely willing or ready to have God remove them.

149. In R.A.'s Multilith Big Book, on page 26, the Seventh Step says:

"Humbly, on our knees, asked Him to remove our shortcomings — holding nothing back."

150. Once again, some people think that this sentence is the instruction for the Seventh Step. Once again, the use of the word "shortcomings" as a synonym for defects of character confuses the matter.

151. To confirm that the word "shortcomings" is a synonym for defects of character, we are going to turn to page 34 in R.A.'s Multilith Big Book, read the Seventh Step prayer, and then come back here to page 26.

152. We suggest that you keep your finger on page 26, by Step Seven. We will be back here in a few minutes.

153. In R.A.'s Multilith Big Book on page 34, in the seventh paragraph, the Seventh Step prayer says:

"When you are ready, say something like this: 'My Creator, I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad. I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows. Grant me strength, as I go out from here, to do your bidding. Amen.' You have then completed step seven."

154. In this prayer, someone asks God to remove, "every single defect of character."

155. This makes it clear that "shortcomings" is synonymous with defects of character.

156. So, we search for our defects, we admit our defects, we become willing to have God remove our defects, and then we actually ask God to remove our defects.

157. In other words, following the pioneers' "clear-cut directions" is much simpler than any other way of working these steps.

158. In R.A.'s Multilith Big Book, on page 26, the Eighth Step says:

"Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make complete amends to them all."

159. When someone follows the pioneers' "clear-cut directions" for doing their inventory, they are going to make a list of all the persons they have harmed because of their character defects. They will also, if they follow the pioneers' "clear-cut directions," go a long way toward becoming willing to make complete amends to them all.

160. Then, of course, we need to move on with the next step of the program.

161. In R.A.'s Multilith Big Book, on page 26, the Ninth Step says:

"Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others."

162. At this point it should be clear that this sentence is not the instruction for working this step.

163. The pioneers' "clear-cut directions" for taking the Ninth Step are written on the pages of the Big Book.

164. In R.A.'s Multilith Big Book, on page 27, the Tenth Step says:

"Continue to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it."

165. The first nine steps of the program don't need to be worked perfectly. This is good because most people are fallible human beings who can't do most things perfectly.

166. Therefore the program was designed so it didn't have to be worked perfectly. For example, the pioneers did not expect people to do a perfect personal inventory. If they did, they would not, in the Tenth Step, tell people to, "Continue to take personal inventory…"

167. The Tenth Step is where someone can continue the process they started in their Fourth Step inventory.

168. If someone remembers something that should have been in their Fourth Step inventory, they do not have to go back and redo their inventory. They simply put it in their daily Tenth Step inventory.

169. The same thing happens if someone becomes willing to look at something that should have been in the Fourth Step inventory. The day they become willing, they can put it in their daily Tenth Step inventory.

170. So, the Tenth Step is not just for new things that come up today, it is also for things from the past that someone has become aware of, or willing to look at, today.

171. Then, as part of the Tenth Step, we continue to follow the same course of action we started in the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, and Ninth Steps.

172. In R.A.'s Multilith Big Book, on page 27, the Eleventh Step says:

"Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our contact with God, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out."

173. The Eleventh Step is where someone perfects the course of action they started as they took the first three steps of the program.

174. This means that the pioneers also did not expect anyone to do the first three steps perfectly.

175. They knew we would deepen our understanding of powerlessness, grow in our belief that God could restore us to sanity, and strengthen our decision to surrender our will and our lives to God. They knew we would do all of this as we improved our conscious contact with God "through prayer and meditation."

176. In R.A.'s Multilith Big Book, on page 27, the Twelfth Step says:

"Having had a spiritual experience as the result of this course of action, we tried to carry this message to others, especially alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs."

177. In this step, "spiritual experience" was later changed to "spiritual awakening."

178. They made this change because, in the early days of the program, Bill and many of the other pioneers had dramatic wind on the mountaintop, blinding light, spiritual experiences.

179. However, as more people came into the program, they took longer to go through the steps. Therefore, many of them had, what are now called the "educational variety of spiritual experience." So, the wording in this step was changed to "spiritual awakening" because this better described the slower, more gradual, experience that people were having.

180. They also changed the wording so that people, who didn't have the blinding light, wind on the mountaintop type of experience, wouldn't feel that they had been left out, or that they had done something wrong.

181. In fact, the pioneers wrote a whole appendix at the back of the Big Book to describe why they changed "spiritual experience" to "spiritual awakening."

182. The original wording of the Twelfth Step makes it very clear how someone has a "spiritual experience," or a "spiritual awakening."

183. The pioneers say it is as the result of following their "course of action." In other words, when someone follows the pioneers' "clear-cut directions" to completely work all Twelve Steps, they will have a "spiritual experience," or a "spiritual awakening."

184. Someone who follows the pioneers' course of action will develop a conscious contact with a loving Creator who will restore them to sanity. As it says in "The Doctor's Opinion," on page 3a, they will have a psychic change.

185. This is also described on page 9, as a "vital spiritual experience." This is where the ideas, concepts and motives of an individual are cast to one side and replaced by a completely different set of concepts, ideas, and motives.

186. In the second part of the Twelfth Step, the pioneers say, "we tried to carry this message to others, especially alcoholics…"

187. Please notice that they originally didn't intend to limit themselves to only working with alcoholics. However, as we read in the Foreword, they were so afraid they would be overwhelmed by the number of alcoholics appealing for help, that they later limited their program to just alcoholics.

188. The pioneers end this step by saying that they need, "to practice these principles in all our affairs."

189. In other words, they are saying that we need to demonstrate the spiritual principles of the program in every part of our lives.

190. In R.A.'s Multilith Big Book, on page 27, in the first paragraph after the Twelve Steps, it says:

"You may exclaim, 'What an order! I can't go through with it.' Do not be discouraged. No one among us has been able to maintain anything like perfect adherence to these principles. We are not saints. The point is, that we are willing to grow along spiritual lines. The principles we have set down are guides to progress. We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection."

191. This is a very important paragraph.

192. There are some people who believe that if they can't do something perfectly, they should not bother to do it at all.

193. Yet in this paragraph, the same pioneers who repeatedly tell us that they recovered, tell us that, "No one among us has been able to maintain anything like perfect adherence to these principles. We are not saints."

194. Now if the pioneers did not work the program perfectly, and they could still be recovered, then anyone could work the program imperfectly, and still recover.

195. As long as someone is willing to grow spiritually, seek spiritual progress instead of spiritual perfection, the program will work for him or her.

196. We think that it is now easy to see why many people who think they have worked the Twelve Steps are not successful. They worked what they thought were the Twelve Steps, but they did not follow the pioneers' "clear-cut directions." Therefore, they did not get the same results the pioneers received.

197. There is another reason some people may not be successful. This has to do with their concept of God, or a Higher Power. Some people might be agnostic or an atheist when they start working the program. Other people may have an unusual concept of a Higher Power such as a tree, a light bulb, or a bus.

198. Still other people may start off thinking of an indifferent, punishing, unforgiving, or vengeful Higher Power. Many people start working the program with one of these understandings. However, R.A.'s experience is that, unless their understanding of God changes, they will have difficulty taking the Third Step as the pioneers intended.

199. In R.A.'s Multilith Big Book, on page 28, at the end of the fifth paragraph, after the Third Step Prayer, the pioneers say to, "Think well before taking this step. Be sure you are ready; that you can at last abandon yourself utterly to Him."

200. In R.A., we believe it is unreasonable to expect someone to be able to "abandon [themselves] utterly" to a tree, a light bulb, or a bus. We think it equally unreasonable to expect someone to be able to "abandon [themselves] utterly" to an indifferent, punishing, unforgiving, or vengeful Higher Power.

201. R.A.'s experience is that, for someone to successfully work the program, they must at least be willing to experiment with the concept of a God personal to him or her. They must at least be willing to experiment with a God who is willing to do for them all those things they can't do for themselves. This is the simple religious idea Ebby described to Bill, the simple religious idea the program is based on.

202. Therefore, the pioneers go to great lengths to describe this understanding of God in the Big Book. For example, in R.A.'s Multilith Big Book, on page 5, starting in the second paragraph, Bill describes the first of many conversations about the program he had with his friend Ebby. Bill says that Ebby "talked for hours."

203. In the fourth paragraph, Bill describes himself as an agnostic. He shares, "I simply had to believe in a Spirit of the Universe, who knew neither time nor limitation. But that was as far as I had gone."

204. In the eighth paragraph, Bill shares that at the end of their first conversation, his friend Ebby, "made the point-blank declaration that God had done for him what he could not do for himself."

205. In R.A.'s Multilith Big Book, on page 6, in the second paragraph, Bill shares the result of his conversation with Ebby. Bill says, "Thus was I convinced that God is concerned with us humans, when we want Him enough. At long last I saw, I felt, I believed. Scales of pride and prejudice fell from my eyes. A new world came into view."

206. Bill then went into the hospital. That is where Ebby took Bill through the spiritual process we now call the Twelve Steps. In R.A.'s Multilith Big Book, on page 6, Bill shares, "There I humbly offered myself to God, as I then understood Him, to do with me as He would. I placed myself unreservedly under His care and direction."

207. In other words, as the result of talking to and working with Ebby, Bill's understanding of God had changed. Bill was able to offer himself to God, as he THEN understood Him. This was a "God personal to [him] who was love, superhuman strength and direction."

208. The pioneers felt that coming to understand God, as they understood God, was essential for someone to be able to successfully take the Third Step.

209. Therefore, in R.A.'s Multilith Big Book, on page 27, in the second paragraph, the pioneers share:

"Our description of the alcoholic, the chapter to the agnostic, and our personal adventures before and after, have been designed to sell you three pertinent ideas:

a. That you are alcoholic and cannot manage your own life.
b. That probably no human power can relieve your alcoholism.
c. That God can and will."

210. Remember that many pioneers were salesmen. Therefore, it should not surprise us that they would say that sharing their experiences were, "designed to sell you three pertinent ideas."

211. They did later change this to say their experiences were, "designed to make clear three pertinent ideas."

212. In other words, the pioneers are saying that everything we have read so far was intended to convince someone of the following three relevant, important ideas.

213. The first idea is that, if someone is the "real alcoholic" the Big Book describes, they cannot manage their own life; they are powerless.

214. The second idea is that no human power can solve someone's problems or behaviors.

215. The third idea is that God, as the pioneers understood Him, can and will restore someone to sanity. The pioneers are saying that God, as the pioneers understood Him, cares about someone enough to solve their problems.

216. The pioneers later changed, "God can and will," to "God could and would if He were sought."

217. So, the pioneers are now summing up all the points they have spent so much time presenting to us in the Big Book up to this point. They are hoping that someone who has read the Big Book to this point has now been convinced that he or she is a "real" alcoholic, and therefore beyond human aid. They now understand that they are powerless.

218. They are hoping that someone can now believe that a loving God can and will care enough about them to restore them to sanity. They now believe that God can and will solve their problems and behaviors.

219. The pioneers thought that what they had had written was so straightforward and so clear that they make an outrageous statement in the next paragraph.

220. In R.A.'s Multilith Big Book, on page 27, in the third paragraph, the pioneers say:

"If you are not convinced on these vital issues, you ought to re-read the book to this point or else throw it away!"

221. The pioneers considered their three vital issues so important that, if someone was not convinced of them by now, they should "re-read the book to this point, or else throw it away!"

222. This emphasizes how important these three vital issues are. We believe that someone must understand and come to accept their utter powerlessness.

223. In R.A., we believe someone must at least be willing to experiment with God as the pioneers came to understand Him; the God that they describe in the Big Book. This is a God who cares about someone enough to restore them to sanity and solve their problems and behaviors.

224. The next paragraph starts the discussion of Step Three.

225. In R.A.'s Multilith Big Book, on page 27, the fourth paragraph says:

"If you are convinced, you are now at step three, which is that you make a decision to turn your will and your life over to God as you understand Him. Just what do we mean by that, and just what do we do?"

226. The pioneers are saying that, if someone is now convinced on their three vital issues, and has not decided to re-read the Big Book, or throw it away, they are now at Step Three.

227. We are now going to read and discuss the Third Step. This is part of the process of absorbing the pioneers' program and philosophy.

228. Later, in Part 2 of R.A.'s Step Presentation, we will formally go through Step Three.

229. As we are reading, please notice that the discussion of the Third Step is also used to explain the need for the Fourth Step.

230. Also notice that this paragraph contains a very clear statement. The pioneers are saying that if, after reading "the book to this point," you are convinced of these "three pertinent ideas," you are then ready to "make a decision to turn your will and your life over to God as you understand Him."

231. Notice that in this passage the pioneers are saying, "God as you understand Him." However, the pioneers have just spent a lot of time, and gone to great lengths, to define God as they understood Him. This includes the pertinent idea that "God can and will" relieve someone's problems and behaviors.

232. Therefore, in R.A., we believe that this passage might have been clearer if the pioneers had said, "Now that you have read this book to this point, and you are now convinced of these three pertinent ideas, you are now at step three, which is that you make a decision to turn your will and your life over to God as you NOW understand Him."

233. In fact, you can see that in the current Big Book they did change this passage to make it clear that they were still talking about God as they understood Him. They changed the wording to say, "...we decided to turn our will and our life over to God as we understood Him."

234. However, it is also easy to see how this change in wording, in the current Big Book, obscures the original clear-cut direction.

235. The pioneers' new wording might cause someone to misunderstand this point. Someone might not be able to see how what the pioneers did could apply to him or her. Someone may not understand that the fact that pioneers made a decision is supposed to be an example of what they are now supposed to do.

236. The wording in R.A.'s Multilith Big Book makes it very clear that the pioneers, in the following paragraphs, are going to describe what someone needs to do to take the Third Step. They say, "Just what do we mean by that, and just what do we do?"

237. As we read, please note how the pioneers detail the effect our character defects have had on our lives. This introduces the need for the Fourth Step inventory.

238. In R.A.'s Multilith Big Book, on page 27, the fifth paragraph says:

"The first requirement is that you see that any life run on self-will can hardly be a success. On that basis we are almost always in collision with something or somebody, even though our motives may be good. Most people try to live by self-propulsion. Each person is like an actor who wants to run the whole show; is forever trying to arrange the lights, the ballet, the scenery, and the rest of the players in his own way. If his arrangements would only stay put, if only people would do as he wishes, the show would be great. Everybody, including himself, would be pleased. Life would be wonderful. In trying to make these arrangements our actor may sometimes be quite virtuous. He may be kind, considerate, patient, generous; even modest and self-sacrificing. On the other hand, he may be mean, egotistical, selfish and dishonest. But, as with most humans, he is more likely to have varied traits."

239. It is important for us to look at this paragraph in the context of the Third Step.

240. In the first sentence, the pioneers say, "The first requirement is that you see that any life run on self will can hardly be a success."

241. This raises a question. What is this, "The first requirement" for?

242. It is the first requirement in the process of someone making a decision to turn their life and their will over to God. How can someone successfully turn their life and will over to God if they are still trying to run their life on self-will.

243. The pioneers say that someone trying to run their life on the basis of self-will is, "almost always in collision with something or somebody, even though [their] motives may be good."

244. Some other programs make this difficult for people to understand. In those programs, they are told that they must first stop their behavior, or control their problems, before they can work the Twelve Steps.

245. Most "real" alcoholics simply can't do this. They wind up frustrated and angry. However, some people can do this, at least for a short time. This just makes it difficult for them to believe that they won't always be able to successfully run their life on self-will.

246. In the next part of this paragraph, the pioneers tell us specifically what not to do. They say, "Most people try to live by self propulsion. Each person is like an actor who wants to run the whole show; is forever trying to arrange the lights, the ballet, the scenery, and the rest of the players in his own way. If his arrangements would only stay put, if only people would do as he wishes, the show would be great. Everybody, including himself, would be pleased. Life would be wonderful."

247. Isn't someone who tries to arrange their life by avoiding places where they serve liquor, or by eating in a certain way, or by not taking chances in their life, trying to do exactly what the pioneers are saying not to do?

248. The pioneers then go on to say that someone's motives in trying to control their life do not matter. They say, "He may be kind, considerate, patient, generous; even modest and self sacrificing. On the other hand, he may be mean, egotistical, selfish and dishonest. But, as with most humans, he is more likely to have varied traits."

249. The pioneers tell us that, "any life run on self-will can hardly be a success." Being able to see this is the first requirement for being able to take the Third Step.

250. Therefore, when someone tries to control the lives of others, or their own life, they can't possibly see, much less admit that they are totally completely, absolutely, powerless. They can't see that they are trying to run their life on self-will.

251. Let's look at the character traits the pioneers describe. There are seemingly positive traits. For example, someone can be kind, considerate, patient, generous, even modest and self-sacrificing.

252. Someone can also have negative character traits. For example, they may be mean, egotistical, selfish and dishonest.

253. From what we've read so far, we've learned that the inventory is going to be a search for, and an inventory of, our character defects.

254. Here, at the very beginning of the discussion of the Third Step, the pioneers are talking about character traits. This lets someone know that the discussion of the Third Step also explains the part their character defects play in their lives. This is done to introduce and explain the need for the inventory.

255. In R.A.'s Multilith Big Book, on page 27, the sixth paragraph says:

"What usually happens? The show doesn't come off very well. He begins to think life doesn't treat him right. He decides to exert himself some more. He becomes, on the next occasion, still more demanding or gracious, as the case may be. Still the play does not suit him. Admitting he may be somewhat at fault, he is sure that other people are more to blame. He becomes angry, indignant, self-pitying. What is his basic trouble? Is he not really a self-seeker even when trying to be kind? Is he not a victim of the delusion that he can wrest satisfaction and happiness out of this world if he only manages well? Is it not evident to all the rest of the players that these are the things he wants? And do not his actions make each of them wish to retaliate, snatching all they can get out of the show? Is he not, even in his best moments, a producer of confusion rather than harmony?"

256. Here the pioneers describe what happens when someone cannot control others, or even themselves. When the "show doesn't come off very well," they become "demanding or gracious." When they still can't control things, they may become "angry, indignant, and self-pitying."

257. Notice how character defects are tied to someone's attempts at control.

258. The pioneers then go on to tell us that someone's character defects can cause other people to retaliate. Someone's character defects, their attempts to control, produce "confusion rather than harmony."

259. In R.A.'s Multilith Big Book, on page 27, starting in the bottom paragraph it says:

"Our actor is self-centered — ego-centric, as people like to call it nowadays. He is like the retired business man who lolls in the Florida sunshine in the winter complaining of the sad state of the nation; the preacher who sighs over the sins of the twentieth century; politicians and reformers who are sure all would be Utopia if the rest of the world would only behave; the outlaw safe cracker who thinks society has wronged him; and the alcoholic who has lost all and is locked up. Whatever their protestations, are not these people mostly concerned with themselves, their resentments, or their self-pity?"

260. In this paragraph, the pioneers give examples of the way some self-centered people try to rationalize their attempts to control the behavior of the people around them as well as their own behavior. The pioneers go on to say that when someone tries to control things, they become even more "concerned with themselves, their resentments, or their self-pity."

261. In R.A.'s Multilith Big Book, on page 28, the first full paragraph says:

"Selfishness — self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles. Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity, we step on the toes of our fellows and they retaliate. Sometimes they hurt us, seemingly, without provocation, but we invariably find that at some time in the past we have made decisions based on self which later placed us in a position to be hurt."

262. The pioneers say, here in the discussion of Step Three, that the root of someone's troubles is "selfishness—self-centeredness!" They say that this is the most basic character defect.

263. Note that the dash means that the pioneers are equating selfishness with self-centeredness. They are saying that they are the same thing.

264. Then the pioneers share a list of character defects. They say that "a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity," cause people to hurt others, who in turn retaliate.

265. The pioneers go on to say that someone's decisions, based on their "selfishness—self-centeredness," caused them to hurt others, and placed them in the position where they were also hurt.

266. Notice that the pioneers are using this discussion to make two points.

267. Their first point is that character defects are what cause someone's problems. This sets up the need for someone to search for character defects by doing an inventory to look for their "selfishness—self-centeredness," which is the root of their troubles.

268. In this inventory, they will also need to look for the character defects that make up the trunk and branches of the tree that grows from the root of "selfishness—self-centeredness." These branches are the "hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity."

269. The second point the pioneers are making is that someone needs an antidote for their "selfishness—self-centeredness!" This is where the Third Step comes in.

270. In R.A.'s Multilith Big Book, on page 28, the second paragraph says:

"So our troubles, we think, are basically of our own making. They arise out of ourselves, and the alcoholic is almost the most extreme example that could be found of self-will run riot, though he usually doesn't think so. Above everything, we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness. We must, or it kills us! God makes that possible. And there is no way of entirely getting rid of self without Him. You may have moral and philosophical convictions galore, but you can't live up to them even though you would like to. Neither can you reduce your self-centeredness much by wishing or trying on your own power. You must have God's help."

271. Once again the pioneers are sharing their experience. They say that, "our troubles, we think, are basically of our own making. They arise out of ourselves, and the alcoholic is almost the most extreme example that could be found of self-will run riot, though he usually doesn't think so."

272. Again, the pioneers are saying that someone's troubles come from their self-will run riot. In other words, someone's self-will goes to an extreme. They try to do things based on self-will that hurt other people and end up hurting themselves.

273. There is a saying that says, "We have an illness that tells us we don't have an illness."

274. Therefore, no matter how outrageous someone's behavior may be, or how self-evident it is that their willpower is non-existent, they delude themselves into thinking that next time they will get it right.

275. One of the character defects the pioneers mentioned was self-delusion. Someone can't see that trying to control things through their self-will, expending energy to do what they want, when they want, and how they want, is selfish.

276. They do not see that expecting people to cater to their needs, expecting the world to fall into place because they deserve it, expecting things to work out just because they want them to, is being selfish.

277. So, now the pioneers are saying that someone must get rid of their selfishness.

278. Now this passage confuses some people. The pioneers say, "Above everything, we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness. We must, or it kills us! God makes that possible."

279. This passage is not saying God makes it possible for someone's selfishness to kill him or her. It is saying that God makes it possible to get rid of their selfishness.

280. While we can wish that the pioneers had worded this a little bit clearer, in this context, it makes no sense for them to say that God makes it possible for someone's selfishness to kill them.

281. The pioneers go on to say, "there is no way of entirely getting rid of self without Him. You may have moral and philosophical convictions galore, but you can't live up to them even though you would like to. Neither can you reduce your self-centeredness much by wishing or trying on your own power. You must have God's help."

282. Notice that this time they didn't say "selfishness," they said "self," as in self-centered, and self-seeking.

283. Many people think that they're good people, and they may be. Like the pioneers say, they "may have moral and philosophical convictions galore."

284. The problem is that if he or she is a "real" alcoholic, they are powerless. They can't consistently put their moral and philosophical convictions into practice.

285. They are powerless, and don't have the ability to reduce their own selfishness—self-centeredness. They can't wish it away. They can't will it away. They just don't have the power. Therefore, they MUST have God's help.

286. In R.A.'s Multilith Big Book, on page 28, the third paragraph says:

"This is the how and why of it. First of all, quit playing God yourself. It doesn't work. Next, decide that hereafter in this drama of life, God is going to be your Director. He is the Principal; you are to be His agent. He is the Father, and you are His child. Get that simple relationship straight. Most good ideas are simple and this concept is to be the keystone of the new and triumphant arch through which you will pass to freedom."

287. Now the pioneers are getting to the heart of the matter. They are telling us the alternative to "selfishness—self-centeredness!"

288. In R.A.'s Multilith Big Book this is quite clearly one of the pioneers' "clear-cut directions." They say, "First of all, quit playing God yourself. It doesn't work."

289. The pioneers are telling us something most of us already know. Playing God ourselves does not work."

290. The pioneers then give another clear-cut direction. They say, "Next, decide that hereafter in this drama of life, God is going to be your Director. He is the Principal; you are to be His agent."

291. The pioneers are saying that, from this point on, someone has to decide that God is going to be in charge. He is the director of the play that is this life. He is the principal, in charge of everything. Everyone else is simply His agent, doing what He wants him or her to do.

292. In case this is not clear enough, the pioneers go further. They say, "He is the Father, and you are His child."

293. In the normal course of events, children do not usually tell their parents what to do, and get away with it. Most parents do what they want, in spite of what their children want. Sometimes they'll try and please their children, but they're not compelled to.

294. In this same way, God is not compelled to do what someone wants, when they want, or where they want. God is the Father, and we are his children.

295. The pioneers then go on to say, "Get that simple relationship straight."

296. This sentence was deleted when the Multilith text was moved into the Big Book. We are glad we can still read it here in the Multilith. This concept is important because some people try and use prayer, or the program, or their good works as a way of compelling God to do their will. This makes it clear why this is not the way things work.

297. The pioneers continue on by saying that, "Most good ideas are simple and this concept is to be the keystone of the new and triumphant arch through which you will pass to freedom."

298. What good idea? The idea that He is the Father and we are His children. That idea is simple. That idea is the keystone of the Third Step. Or as the pioneers promise, "the keystone of the new and triumphant arch through which you will pass to freedom."

299. In case someone doesn't know what a keystone is, we are going to explain it.

300. When someone builds a stone or brick arch, the stones that make up the arch usually are tapered on one side. They curve to the top of the arch. At the very top of the arch there is a keystone that is tapered on both sides. It exerts pressure on both legs of the arch.

301. The keystone holds the arch together. If the keystone is removed the arch collapses. If the concept that God is the Father and we are His children, is removed from the program, the program collapses.

302. So this is a very important, vital concept. In case the pioneers were not clear enough, they share the next paragraph.

303. In R.A.'s Multilith Big Book, on page 28, the fourth paragraph says:

"When you sincerely take such a position, all sorts of remarkable things follow. You have a new Employer. Being all powerful, He must necessarily provide what you need, if you keep close to Him and perform His work well. Established on such a footing you become less and less interested in yourself, your little plans and designs. More and more you become interested in seeing what you can contribute to life. As you feel new power flow in, as you enjoy peace of mind, as you discover you can face life successfully, as you become conscious of His presence, you begin to lose your fear of today, tomorrow, or the hereafter. You will have been reborn."

304. This paragraph contains the Third Step Promises.

305. The pioneers promise that when we sincerely take the position that God is going to be the Director, that He is the Principal, and we are to be His agent, that He is the Father, and we are His children, "all sorts of remarkable things follow."

306. When someone sincerely takes the position that they are no long running the show, that they no longer try to get everybody and everything, including him or herself, to do what they want, remarkable things will follow.

307. Here the pioneers continue describing God, as they understood Him. They say God is a, "new Employer. Being all powerful, He must necessarily provide what you need, if you keep close to Him and perform His work well."

308. So if someone needs something, and God is their new Employer, God must provide whatever they need. However, there is a condition. Someone must keep close to God; they must stay in fit spiritual condition. As we've read before, they need to do this through work and self-sacrifice for others.

309. The pioneers promise that, when you do this, when you are, "Established on such a footing you become less and less interested in yourself, your little plans and designs. More and more you become interested in seeing what you can contribute to life. As you feel new power flow in, as you enjoy peace of mind, as you discover you can face life successfully, as you become conscious of His presence, you begin to lose your fear of today, tomorrow, or the hereafter. You will have been reborn."

310. The pioneers promise that someone will become a sane, recovered person. They will have been reborn.

311. In R.A.'s Multilith Big Book, on page 28, the fifth paragraph says:

"Get down upon your knees and say to your Maker, as you understand Him: 'God, I offer myself to Thee — to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life. May I do Thy will always!' Think well before taking this step. Be sure you are ready; that you can at last abandon yourself utterly to Him."

312. This is the paragraph that contains the Third Step Prayer.

313. They took out the instruction to, "Get down upon your knees," because doing this is not universally accepted by all religions. In addition, they found that it wasn't necessary for someone to do this in order to successfully work the program.

314. Let's take a moment to look at this prayer. Remember, the pioneers started this part of the discussion by saying that "selfishness—self-centeredness" is the root, the prime cause, of someone's problems. Now, in this prayer, we ask God to take us out of ourselves, to have us do God's will, instead or our own.

315. In other words, if someone's "selfishness—self-centeredness" is the cause of his or her troubles, the Third Step Prayer offers an alternative. In this prayer they offer themselves to God. They ask Him to build with them and do with them, as he wants.

316. They pray for God to remove the self-will that has been holding them back, so that they can do His will, instead of insisting on God giving them the power to do what they want.

317. They pray for God to take away their difficulties, not just because they want them gone, but because victory over their difficulties will demonstrate to the people they want to help, the benefits of "God's Power, God's Love, and God's Way of life."

318. This prayer winds up with the statement, "May I do Thy will always!" They are praying that they always do God's will. They are not praying for the strength to do their own will. This is not a selfish prayer. None of this is selfish.

319. Now we come to the last lines in this paragraph. They say, "Think well before taking this step. Be sure you are ready; that you can at last abandon yourself utterly to Him."

320. The pioneers are not holding back. They accent the importance of this by saying that someone has to "abandon" him or herself "utterly" to God.

321. They don't simply say that someone should give their life to God. They could have, but they don't. They don't just say that someone should make a decision to turn their will and their life over to God. It says that someone has to "abandon" him or herself "utterly" to God.

322. The pioneers are asking for someone to completely, absolutely, totally, surrender their life and their will to God. The pioneers are saying that someone needs to fully understand this before they can take this step.

323. This is because in R.A., as we said before, we think it is very unlikely that most people would be able to "abandon [themselves] utterly" to a tree, a light bulb, or a bus. We think it equally unlikely, as we said before, that someone would be able to "abandon [themselves] utterly" to an indifferent, punishing, unforgiving, or vengeful Higher Power.

324. In R.A.'s Multilith Big Book, on page 28, the sixth paragraph says:

"It is very desirable that you make your decision with an understanding person. It may be your wife, your best friend, your spiritual adviser, but remember it is better to meet God alone than with one who might misunderstand. You must decide this for yourself. The wording of your decision is, of course, quite optional so long as you express the idea, voicing it without reservation. This decision is only a beginning, though if honestly and humbly made, an effect, sometimes a very great one, will be felt at once."

325. The pioneers are again sharing their experience. They say that it is desirable for someone to make this decision with a caring person. This may be someone's sponsor, wife, best friend, a member of the clergy, or a spiritual adviser.

326. However, the pioneers' experience is that it is better to do this alone, than with someone who does not understand or support making this decision.

327. The pioneers go on to tell us that the wording someone uses to make their decision is up to them. Someone does not have to use the exact words that are in the prayer.

328. However, the idea has to be the same, the concepts in this prayer must still be there, and the decision must be said without doubts, or conditions.

329. The idea of complete, utter, total surrender has to be there, without reservation.

330. It's important to understand that the decision made in the Third Step Prayer, the Third Step Decision, is only a beginning. It is not an end. It is not the conclusion.

331. Someone has to move on with the rest of the program, or the decision will have absolutely no validity, or effect. In order to demonstrate his or her decision, someone must take action. They must move on and work the rest of the steps.

332. Later, in Part 2 of R.A.'s Step Presentation, we will formally go through Step Three.

333. We also need to remember that while what we have just read and discussed is often considered to be only about Step Three, it clearly has also been a discussion of the character defects that are going to be searched for in the inventory.

334. In R.A.'s Multilith Big Book, on page 28, starting in the bottom paragraph it says:

"Next we launch out on a course of vigorous action, the first step of which is a personal housecleaning, which you have never in all probability attempted. Though your decision is a vital and crucial step, it can have little permanent effect unless at once followed by a strenuous effort to face, and to be rid of, the things in yourself which have been blocking you. Your liquor is but a symptom. Let's now get down to basic causes and conditions."

335. This is another very important paragraph. In it the pioneers continue to share their experience and make a number of important points.

336. The pioneers say that someone now needs to move forward "on a course of vigorous action." They go on to state that the "first step" of this vigorous course of action is a "personal housecleaning," the Fourth Step inventory.

337. The pioneers then say that even though the decision someone makes in the Third Step is an essential part of the program, this decision will not have a "permanent effect" unless someone quickly moves forward with the inventory. Just working the first three steps is not enough.

338. They say that the inventory is where someone needs to make a determined effort to look for and get rid of the things, the character defects, which have been stopping their recovery.

339. Then they make an amazing statement. They say that "liquor" is only a symptom. In other words, someone's problems and behaviors, such as drinking, overeating, doing drugs, etc., are the symptoms of their character defects.

340. In the final sentence, the pioneers say that someone needs to "get down to basic causes and conditions," and find the character defects that have been causing their symptoms, their problems and behaviors.

341. Let's put it another way. If somebody stole comic books as a child, and they do an inventory of the times they behaved badly, they might write down in their inventory that they stole comic books as a child.

342. They might then ask God to stop them from stealing comic books, even though this is probably something they stopped doing years ago. The problem with that kind of inventory is that it doesn't address the cause of this symptom. It's only addressing the symptom.

343. The inventory that is done by following the pioneers' "clear-cut directions" looks at "causes and conditions." It looks at why someone stole comic books. It has them look at the character defects that were behind their stealing comic books.

344. For example, perhaps they were selfish, self-centered, greedy, and thoughtless. It is likely that these character defects are still in their life. They simply show themselves in other ways than stealing comic books.

345. So, if someone simply does an inventory of their bad behavior, without finding and addressing the underlying causes of that behavior, their character defects, they are not going to find a permanent recovery.

346. This is the major difference between the inventory we do in R.A. by following the pioneers' "clear-cut directions," and most of the other inventories that people might have done in other programs.

347. In the next section of R.A.'s Step Presentation we are actually going to follow the pioneers "clear-cut directions" for taking the Fourth Step inventory.

348. Later, in Part 2 of R.A.'s Step Presentation, we will formally go through Step Four.

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