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  • Writer's pictureOutside Lit

Two: The Third Step Prayer Reboot

Ok, addict - you have concluded that you cannot stop your addiction on your own because obviously, you’re not a quitter (Step 1). You have also come to the realization that someone or something more powerful than you must help you to stop. Don’t worry, though, because in the beginning it can be anyone or anything so long as it isn’t you (Step 2).

Good. So here we are upon the precipice of Step 3, which asks that you turn your will and your life over to your Higher Power. There are a couple of things that may dissuade you from taking this leap, so a quick appraisal is recommended before moving forward:

Are you still angry with your Higher Power/God? If so, go back to Step 2, because it is almost impossible to turn your life over to a power with whom you are angry.

Do you distrust your Higher Power/God, or think they aren’t up to the

challenge? Again, if so, go back to Step 2. No one in their right mind is going to

relinquish control to anyone or thing that is untrustworthy.

We may be addicts, but we’re certainly not stupid, so when either of the above conditions apply, anxious as you are to progress, you must keep searching. To help, imagine the following scenario: What if there were no restrictions on the attributes your higher power could possess? What if your Higher Power could bestow upon you that which even you cannot imagine you deserve? Things like benevolence, mercy, reliability, otherworldly strength, and wisdom to name just a few. Whatever you want, imagine a higher power with the genuine ability to make those qualities a reality. Write them down and study them, because dear reader, it is that force that you describe that is the essence of who you will be turning your life over to.

If your recovery practice already involves communicating with whatever your Higher Power is, congratulations; you are ahead of the game in tackling this often elusive but life-changing (and necessary) step. Whether you had “HP” in place from the start or you’re just now getting truly acquainted, a good way to embrace and maintain connection with your Higher Power is to recite and even memorize, if you dare, the 3rd Step Prayer. Be warned, however, the language of the prayer is a little archaic, making it notoriously unrelatable to many as written. Don’t take our word for it, though… See for yourselves:

”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.”

Challenging though it might be, the third step prayer is important, and it is strongly recommended as a daily meditation for addicts in recovery. Not only does it prompt individuals to surrender their will (to a Higher Power), but it fosters self-reflection, self-acceptance, and promotes usefulness to others. We suggest the following exercise:

Re-read the prayer as necessary and translate it into your own, modern, 21st Century language. Then, consider memorizing that version instead. Good luck and please consider sharing your renditions with us using the contact form here (link here). We will post submissions as we receive them (anonymously, of course). Beneath, please find two preliminary examples of how the prayer came to life for your clandestine creators at

Alternative Version Example #1: God, I’m turning my life over to you so that I can become the person you created me to be. Let me stop obsessing over my self-centered actions so that I can better do your will. Let my faith in you guide me through any difficulties I may encounter and be an example to others so that they may witness your power and your benevolence in my life and in turn, seek you in theirs. May I do your will always.

Alt Version Example #2: Higher Power (God), I give myself to you to work in and through me in accordance with your will. Free me from the bondage of my selfish desires so I may better follow the path you have devised. Remove the obstacles ahead so that my victory over them can serve as an example to others as a demonstration of your power, love, and way of life.

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