Step Three of the Twelve Step program states that we must turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand him. That requires us to make a commitment both to our higher power and to the process. Healing and recovery is, in fact, a process. It takes time. It cannot be rushed. In turning our lives over to God or a higher power, we acknowledge our own limitations and inability to help ourselves. We are powerless over our addiction. It has become unmanageable and is controlling our life. We must be committed to the process of recovery, and that requires a commitment to faith as well. We must believe that things will turn out alright in the end. We have to have faith that things will get better.
On this topic, Anne Wilson Schaef writes:
“There was once a woman who said that she experienced the idea of Living in Process as akin to jumping off a cliff. Sometime after making that statement she related a dream in which she had come to the edge of a cliff and was aware of being very fearful of something coming up behind her. In the dream, she felt that she had only one positive choice—to jump off the cliff, which she did with great terror. Suddenly she was aware of a wonderful floating feeling. She opened her eyes and realized that her skirt had become a parachute: she was safe and floating comfortably.
‘Leaving the future open’ may be one of the most important commitments we make with our lives. Believing in something not yet proved may just be believing in ourselves.”
Things do tend to turn out alright in the end, even when we fear they won’t. How many times have our anxieties and fears turned out to be unfounded? How often have things gone well for us, despite our worries? We can never know how things will turn out, but based on our past experiences, we can be pretty sure that no matter what happens, everything will be ok.
Part of having faith is simply having faith in ourselves. We have made it this far in life. Our capabilities and competencies have landed us where we are today. We will be okay, because no matter what, we find a way forward. Nothing has stopped us yet.
As humans, we fear the unknown. Yet, the process of life is inherently unknowable. We just aren’t capable of foretelling what will come to pass, and we can’t see or predict the future. In living, we must reconcile these facts. We have to look at our past experience and trust that, based on this, most of what we fear won’t come to pass. And even if it does, we trust ourselves to handle it if not with grace and poise, than at least with some semblance of common sense.
It also helps to remember that we just don’t know what sort of help we’ll get in life. In leaving the future open, we can take solace in the fact that there will be unforeseen parachutes that come to our rescue.