In early sobriety I believed that praying the Third Step Prayer several times every day, plus daily AA meetings, would bring an end my terrifying obsession for booze. Months passed waiting for results, but no soap.
Discussing my emotions and living problems brought about much appreciated emotional relief, plus short periods of an “AA honeymoon.” However, this relief did not provide the permanent spiritual awakening, needed for relief of that bondage of self mentioned in the Third Step Prayer. I was living in a fearful dread of drinking. What to do?
A new sponsor provided the Big Book answer. He pointed out that Step Three was only a beginning (p. 63); that I needed to launch out at once into the rest of the Twelve Steps. Further study revealed that I was to begin Step Four at once (p. 64), Step Five at first opportunity, Step Six then (not later—p. 76), Step Seven when ready (p. 76), the Eight Step information was already available (p. 76), and Step Nine was to begin now (p.76). This read-and-do from the Big Book process was complete in a week—launch out, indeed! Steps Ten, Eleven and Twelve loomed directly ahead.
I hoped the obsession would magically disappear, but alas, still no soap! However, I had made a beginning and could now apply what I had learned into my daily living. It was explained that the last three steps were simply a redoing of the first nine steps. Although, it only took a week to learn, this process is a recipe for the rest of my life. It was not simply to add to my knowledge, it was something that must be done for a lifetime if I wanted to live to be happy, joyous and free.
I will forever be thankful that my sponsor didn’t let me dwell on whether it was time to launch out on the rest of the steps after praying the Third Step Prayer. How easily a delay would have allowed me to change my mind, or perhaps decide what to expose or keep in. Of course, what I have learned to do in the first nine steps are use in Steps Ten, Eleven and Twelve, but there again they are to be used at once, immediately and quickly as stated in Step Ten directions (p. 84). Well, making amends might take a little timely consideration.
By Bob S.