Cirque Lodge > Blog > Alcohol Addiction > What Is Step 3 of AA?

The third step of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is all about accepting a higher power into your life. This higher power can be anything that you believe in. For example, it could be God, the universe, or simply your own intuition. The key is to find something that helps you feel calm and at peace, especially when you're struggling.

What Is Alcoholics Anonymous?

Alcoholics Anonymous is a self-help group that offers a 12-step program to people struggling with alcohol addiction. The third step of the AA program encourages those in recovery to turn their will and lives over to the care of a higher power.

This higher power can be anything the individual chooses, such as God, the universe, or a higher power of their own understanding. However, this God does not have to be a Christian God. AA considers itself a spiritual, non-religious program that anyone can join regardless of whether or not they have a religion.

The 12-steps of AA are a set of guiding principles that offer a framework for living a sober life. The steps include admitting that you have a problem, surrendering to a higher power, making amends to those you have harmed, and working towards spiritual growth.

The 12-steps of AA have helped millions of people recover from addiction. If you are considering completing the 12-steps, it is essential to do your own research and talk to someone who has experience with the program. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to recovery, so find what works best for you.

What Is the Third Step?

The third step of AA is: "made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him."

This means that you will no longer run on self-will. Instead, you listen to the will of your higher power and understand their plan for you.

This step can make some newcomers balk, as it can seem spiritual. However, you don't need to accept the third step straight away. To really grasp the third step and the idea of a higher power, it is recommended that you go to plenty of Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and support groups. As the higher power is a concept that people often talk about in meetings, you'll find yourself armed with a much deeper understanding by doing so.

By hearing people share their experience of a higher power, you may also gradually come to accept this idea, alongside the other spiritual principles of the 12 steps.

What Could My Higher Power Be?

Your higher power can be anything you want it to be. People often recommend that your higher power be something more powerful than you. For example, it could be:

  • Jesus
  • God
  • Allah
  • The ocean
  • Energy
  • The Universe
  • The rooms of AA
  • A higher being

Why Do I Need To Complete the Third Step?

During addiction recovery, the third step is crucial. By turning your will and life over to a higher power and accepting guidance, you can stop trying to manipulate things within your life. The result of this is feeling free and being guided by what your higher power wants for you.

As your higher power has a clearer understanding of your potential in life, this will give you a far better life than you would previously have had. Below are a few tips for how you might manifest your decision to navigate recovery.

  • Select your higher power. The concept of a higher power is one that sometimes throws people off when they first start attending AA meetings. People often take most of the other teachings in meetings onboard but struggle with accepting a higher power. Remember, a higher power does not necessarily have to be God. People sometimes see their higher power as AA rooms, while others choose water as their higher power. The best thing you can do is select something that feels right for you.
  • Recite the Serenity Prayer. The Serenity Prayer is recited at the start of all AA meetings, and it is also said in many other 12-step programs. It is a powerful prayer that helps you hand over things to your higher power, enabling you to be more aware of the things you can change. The Serenity Prayer does not have to be limited to meetings, though. You can say it at any point during your day, such as when you feel overwhelmed and want to feel closer to your higher power.
  • Clarify what is in your control and what is not. Those recovering from alcohol addictions often spend time trying to control what is not possible, such as people, places, and things. Unfortunately, many elements are outside of our control. Once we accept this, we can "let go and let God." When we can do this, our lives become more serene, and we regain a little more sanity.

Going through the steps only takes a short amount of time, but the real joy of the steps comes in living them. If you are able to take the lessons of step three and apply them to your everyday life, you will feel far more content. You might even include the prayer in your daily spiritual practice in the morning. Give it a try!

Addiction Treatment for Alcoholism - Professional Treatment Advice

While Alcoholics Anonymous is an essential part of the recovery process for alcohol use disorder and is all some people use to recover from alcoholism, most people who have a severe alcohol addiction will need to explore additional treatment options to help them achieve sobriety from alcohol abuse.

Most people who suffer from severe alcohol addiction attend a specific rehab center to complete a recovery program and achieve sobriety. Here, substance abuse treatment often includes detox and relapse prevention. If you attend an addiction treatment center, you will also look into the reasons why you began drinking in the first place with an addiction recovery professional.

Treatment facilities also benefit from having medically peer-reviewed studies that show their efficacy. They also offer medication-assisted treatment (MAT), which can be vital during the detox period. Alcohol withdrawal can be fatal, but these medications can help keep you as safe and comfortable as possible.


Going through the 12-steps of Alcoholics Anonymous is an integral part of recovery from alcoholism for many people, and the third step is a crucial part of this process. The self-reflection and spiritual principles involved in the 12-steps can not only help you stay sober, but they can also help you live a happy and successful life.

If you have a severe alcohol addiction, you may need to seek additional treatment besides that found in AA. If this resonates with you, attending a treatment center where you can complete detox and be given the skills needed to live life without alcohol can prove absolutely crucial.

At Cirque Lodge, we help many people living with an alcohol use disorder turn their life around. If you are ready to take the first step in your recovery, seeking addiction treatment is advised. Contact us now to find out more about our addiction treatment and treatment options - we are on hand to answer any questions you may have about our substance abuse treatment and facilities.

About Cirque Lodge
Cirque Lodge is a recovery retreat providing cognitive and experiential therapies, in the pristine natural beauty of Utah’s Rocky Mountains.

Cirque Lodge is considered among our colleagues, as one of, if not the premium drug and alcohol rehab facility in the country.
Support area: Salt Lake CityProvoCaliforniaLos AngelesFloridaOrange CountyNew YorkGeorgiaColoradoTexasSan FranciscoArizonaWest Palm Beach
The Lodge
3114 E Ida's Rd, Sundance, UT 84604
The Studio
777 N Palisade Dr, Orem, UT 84097
All Rights Reserved © 2016 - 2024 - Cirque Lodge