Step 3 of AA

Step 3 of AA

The third step in recovery through Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) focuses on making a mindset shift away from negative thinking towards positive energy which can build character and confidence. Making better choices starts with setting a frame of mind focused on good things rather than those which drove a person to drink or do drugs. This begins with deciding to turn over control of one’s life to the care of a higher power.

Step 3

In step 3, a person makes a decision to turn over one’s will and life to the care of God as one understands Him. This crucial step takes the onus off a person’s shoulders to take control and shifts it to a higher power. Conforming to the will of a higher power (or God) opens the door to letting go of control and thus moving forward in recovery.

Third Step Prayer

One of the ways people identify with a higher power is to ask for guidance and support through the Serenity Prayer. Some people find it helpful to keep it written down on a piece of paper in a purse or wallet and carry it with as a reminder during recovery.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. Thy will, not mine, be done.


Action is necessary to move forward in Step 3. The first two steps focus on reflection and introspection while this step requires taking faith a step further. A plan can be helpful in guiding a person towards completion of Step 3. Some of the following tips may be helpful when looking for ways to complete the step and move forward in recovery:

  • Embrace complete dependence on a higher power. It may be helpful to view a higher power as giving strength rather than seeing it as a weakness.
  • Memorize and recite the Serenity Prayer during times of difficulty, stress or indecision
  • Commit to giving oneself over to a higher power (God, nature, etc).


One of the most pervasive myths of step 3 focuses on a person’s individuality. When a higher power is in control, a person still has individual will to make choices. Consciousness of a higher power does not negate a person’s sense of self-determination. Making it a part of a person’s daily life and mindset is a shift which takes time but can greatly enhance one’s spiritual independence.

Don’t compromise your health and recovery. Call The Villa to find out why we provide the best services and resources to help you or your loved one get on the right path.