Eating Disorder Recovery And The 12 Steps: Step Three, Made a Decision To Turn Our Will And Lives Over To The Care Of God As We Understood Him

Step Two asks the food addict, compulsive overeater, or eating disorder sufferer to believe that God can restore them to sanity. In order to embark on this journey of action, the addict must get a few preliminary beliefs in order. Steps One through Three help to put the disordered eater in the right frame of mind and spirit so that he or she may begin to work the action steps.

In Step One, there is the admission of powerlessness and Step Two follows with the affirmation of belief. Step Three then asks the addict to not only believe that they can’t help themself and that God can, but also to then surrender their life into His care. For those whose relationship with God has been fraught or non-existent, this is a tall request.

Here again it helps to take an honest look at your life. How is it going? Do you feel that you have a sense of control, hope, or a positive expectation for the future? Are you able to be open and honest with friends and family about your life and your actions, or do you find yourself needing to hide and conceal the way you live and the things you do? Can you keep your commitments to yourself and others? When you say you are going to stop starving, overeating, or purging, do you follow through, or do you return to your old ways?

If after honestly considering your life as it is at this moment, you find that dependence on self isn’t paying off for you, it may be time to consider a new set-up. And what have you got to lose? If you put your life and your will in God’s hands and it’s no better off than when you were running the show, you can always revert to the old program. But countless addicts have found that turning their will and lives over to the care of God was the beginning of a freedom and peace greater than they had ever known. Wouldn’t that at least be worth a try?

Many addicts wonder what it actually means to actually “turn one’s will and life over to God.” How do you do it? How do you know when it’s been done? How does one stop from taking all the control back again? Every addict asks these questions at some point.

Pay close attention to the language of this step. Step Three is not actually asking you to do anything. It is asking you to make a decision. The doing will come in the later steps but you cannot perform the action until you have made the decision. In Step Three, the compulsive overeater, anorexic, or bulimic considers her own life and where her self-will has gotten her. She believes she needs help and that she cannot help herself. Then she makes a decision: God will be in charge and she will put her will and her life in His hands. She doesn’t yet know how she will accomplish this or what it will look like, but she is making the decision to surrender.

For the food addict, the biggest symbolic act of trusting God and turning your will over to his care is willingness to release control of your food. This ongoing act of taking the advice and direction of others and following your food plan is the first evidence of your willingness to surrender. As you proceed through the remaining steps, your commitment and determination to keep going through the steps will show that indeed you are trusting God and you are following his will for your life. Very few people, on their own strength, would be able to meet the rigorous requirements of the Twelve Step program. Most would not even desire to do so. But the fact that an addict has put down the food and has begun to take up the steps, however tenuously, is evidence that surrender is happening and God is working.

Step Three is a turning point. While the addict may not yet be able to fully practice right action, he or she is beginning to lay the foundation of right belief. Right belief will later fuel right action, but there is very little hope of right action without right belief.

It’s that simple. It may not feel easy, but it is simple. With the help of a sponsor or trusted group member, the addict will affirm the first three steps that he or she has just taken and will prepare for the action steps that are now to come.

Continue to the next step >>

Go back to the previous step >>