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    Just thinking about Step 3 nearly paralyzed me when I first came into Al Anon. Living in the throes of the disease, coupled with the always-present undercurrent of potential violence in my home had me terrified. In my life, making the wrong decision was not a good thing… and my ex’s mood swings etc made it seem as though the rules at our house changed daily – rules for me, for us, for the kids, often with stern and frightening consequences, depending on the day and depending on his mood.

    When I first went to an Al Anon meeting and read the steps, I became very anxious, because I was so very terrified of making a decision. What if I made the wrong one? What if I changed my mind? What if I gave up control of some part of my life and it was a mistake, could I take it back?

    My loving angel sponsor was so kind and patient- she helped me to understand that I needed to work Steps 1 and 2 first before I concerned myself with Step 3. She encouraged me, and she said I would be able to work step 3 when I was ready.

    My very first days I glanced over steps 1 and 2.
    Powerless? check.
    Life is unmanageable? check. I thought that meant I had worked Step 1.

    Power greater than myself? check. I lived with him. Unconsciously, I had made my A the power greater than myself. There was also a faint hint of God, my Higher Power, but I was so sure He did not approve of my life or my choices or where I had ended up, besides…. He had bigger things to worry about than me.
    Could restore me to sanity? that made me chuckle. Sometimes I was convinced that I was the sane one, HE was crazy… other times I was humbled and horrified to think I had never had a really sane day and I didn’t even know what sanity looked like.
    Step 2? check

    It’s no surprise that I wasn’t able to do Step 3. I was much too terrified to give up the control I thought I had, and the idea that I was giving up so much left me afraid of what might be left of me.

    I found some strength and some balance by attending Al Anon, doing a lot of reading, and going to some counseling. My sponsor and Al Anon friends recommended that I go back and really work on Steps 1 and 2. I got the book Paths to Recovery, the one we are working with here. I wrote down all my answers to the step questions, and I discussed them with my sponsor.

    And, after awhile, I was finally ready to do Step 3. Fully, consciously, with a deep understanding of what it meant. I needed to gain some self confidence first – to know that I was capable of making a healthy decision for myself.

    This step has so many pieces we can explore and discuss. It’s one of my favorites.

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