3-24-2016 Decision, Acceptance, Action

MARCH 24 2016

Opening Words

If it is language that makes us human, one half of language is to listen.
Silence can exist without speech, but speech cannot live without silence.
Listen to the speech of others. Listen even more to their silence.
To pray is to listen to the revelation of nature, to the meaning of events.
To listen to music is to listen also to silence, and to find the stillness deepened and enriched. 
                                                                                                       Jacob Trapp 482


Welcome to the UCE Addictions Ministry Group. We are a group of people who
have struggled with our own addictions and the addictions of others. We hope to
struggle well together as we work towards finding sanity, peace, love, and
healthy relationships in our lives. We will strive to spend our time together in a
spirit of love embracing the inherent worth and dignity of all. We accept and
respect the varied paths that our members will take to find sanity, peace, love,
and healthy relationships. We covenant to to be together in a safe and
confidential environment where we can explore our paths and our stories.

Our Relational Covenant

▪ Embrace and practice deep listening
▪ We will strive to be respectful of our limited time and try to keep our comments focused on the issues that have brought us here.
▪ Experience the group in a non-judgmental frame of mind.
▪ Build trust within the group.
▪ Confidentiality about specifics shared or discussed is imperative for our success.
▪ We each take full responsibility for what we share or say, recognizing retractions are acceptable as well.
▪ Meetings will always start and end on time

Check-in and Processing of Check-In

Topic: Step 3 Decision, Acceptance, Action

This is a chapter from the pioneering book: The Alternative Twelve Steps: A Secular Guide to Recovery. It was originally written by two women, Martha Cleveland and Arlys G., and published in 1991. As valuable today as it was then, a second edition of this exceptional work was recently published by AA Agnostica.


Make a decision to be open to spiritual energy as we take deliberate action for change in our lives.

Principles: Decision, Acceptance, Action

Steps 1 and 2 call for reflection. They are the mental Steps of the program, calling for insight, honesty, faith and hope. Step 1 gives us in-sight into our faulty thinking and shows us the reality of our powerlessness. Step 2 provides a vision of hope for great positive change in our lives. And then there is Step 3, the Step that takes our recovery into the outside world. Step 3 calls for decision. Our decision is the bridge between the mental part of the program and the action part. The decision of the Third Step connects the possibility of change with the reality of doing it.

Activating Change

Having insight about ourselves and having hope that our lives can improve does not automatically produce change. Only change makes change. Change rarely happens by accident and good intentions don’t do the job either. We must decide that things will be different and then follow through with action.

In Step 3 we activate our own winds of change. We decide, we open ourselves to spiritual energy and we commit ourselves to deliberate action. The interplay among these forces sets up a dynamic that soon begins to fuel itself and healing change becomes a true force in our lives.

What It Means To “Decide”

All living is a process of decision. Every waking moment of every single day we decide. We decide whether to get out of bed, what to wear, what to eat, who to talk to and what to say. Right at this instant you will decide whether to read another word of this book.

But we can’t “decide” about everything. We couldn’t get through the day if we had to “decide” to pick up a pencil or pull up a sock. These are habitual decisions that are grooved into our brain. They are only the background for the real decisions we have to make. Real decisions can be active and examined or passive and unexamined. Most of us guide our lives with unexamined decisions driven by our pain, our denial, our rage – in other words, driven by the roots of our compulsions.

The Third Step teaches us another way. We learn to make active, examined decisions. We push ahead in a time of crisis rather than fall back into our old ways. We learn to step back from ourselves, to take time and to apply new knowledge. With the help of the Third Step, we take full responsibility and begin to guide our own destiny.

Influencing Our Own Destiny Means Letting Go

In Step 3 we take charge of letting go. In order to physically let go, we have to consciously relax our muscles and allow the chattering in our minds to stop. We let go and the spiritual forces of peace, quiet and serenity bring about positive change in our bodies. We do the same sort of thing when we psychologically let go. We deliberately relax our mental grip on our belief in self-power. We let go of this delusion and are free to reach for new, positive energy that replenishes our spirit.

We Decide To Open

Some of us reject the very idea of spiritual energy. We fuss about whether it is good or bad or better or worse or whether it can be proved at all. It is only when we stop trying to evaluate it that we can reach for what helps us. We reach out, and if what we find opens a happier, more serene way, it is power we can use.

When we are open to spiritual energy, we have a serene relationship to life. We are receptive to what’s around us – we notice things. We feel eager to learn from life and willing to live fully and happily. We begin to understand where we belong in the natural scheme of things. We adopt an attitude of appreciative openness, the attitude that some people call “living consciously.”

We can open to spiritual energy with our emotions, our minds, the action of our bodies or with our whole being. We can draw inspiration from the natural world, from the power of ideas, from the courage of another person, from wisdom, from everyday events in our lives or from a larger purpose. There are many ways to make profound spiritual connections. Drawing from varied and changing sources of strength can give us a rich and fullbodied experience of feeling alive. We open to life, and life opens to us.

The energy for our healing comes from our letting go, from our openness, our reaching and our acceptance. In Step 2, Ann, Tom, Sarah and Jim each made a conscious decision to reach for their own spiritual energy as they faced change. What inspires us and how we experience it is personal. No matter what or how, the energy we gain is real.

We Commit Ourselves To Action

Step 3 is also a commitment to action, deliberate action springing from active decisions. Without action, the dynamic of change is inert theory. Without action, our decision is incomplete and is unconnected to the energy of healing. If we want to change, we must be willing to do change. Committing ourselves to action means we are willing to do hard things and feel hard feelings.

Change is very difficult. It’s the very thing we have been steadfastly avoiding. Change takes patient, persistent practice in thinking, feeling and acting in new ways. But eventually, after we’ve worked at it long enough, we become what we practice – we learn to live well.

We learn To Dance By Dancing

We each have our own life, our own truth, our own power, our own way of experiencing spiritual energy and moving through life. We will each arrange and activate the dynamics of change in our own way.

In The Dancing Healers Carl Hammerschlag says if we are to live in peace, we must connect with others and with something outside of ourselves. We can learn the universal, generic pattern of life’s dance from the 12 Steps. But in our individual dance of life, we must choose our own music and dance our own dance. Our music must fit our needs and our own particular movements.

We have to consider many things when we choose our music: tempo, rhythm, volume, instruments, melodies and harmony. We must decide carefully. Our choice of music guides our dance and our dance creates our life.

We heal when we dance our own unique dance to our own unique music. All by ourselves we discover and practice our own personal movements. We can change our music and enlarge our form. We experiment and make mistakes. We experiment and succeed. Our dancing muscles get stronger. Our music and our movements become finely synchronized. It all works together and we love how it feels. We practice until we are dancing in a way that is exactly right for us.

Make a decision to be open to spiritual energy as we take deliberate action for change in our lives.

Today, at least once, I will reach out to a spiritual resource as I meet the challenges and opportunities in my life.


Closing Words

And now, may we have faith in life to do wise planting that
the generations to come may reap even more abundantly than we.
May we be bold in bring to fruition the golden dreams of human kinship and justice.
This we ask that the fields of promise become fields of reality.
                                                                V. Emil Gudmundson 693

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