The 3rd Step: Prayer & AA

The Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) has been described by the American Society of Addiction Medicine as a “tried and true approach.” Those in recovery are encouraged to attend meetings and actively work each step. After two steps of reflection, the 3rd step is one of action. 

We believe that twelve step programming, as used by Alcoholics Anonymous, is a powerful process to help you or a loved one live a sober life. Contact us to learn more about the support and care offered by The Sanctuary Foundation.

The Sanctuary Recovery Foundation provides sober living homes that are safe, supportive, and encouraging. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you or a loved one.

The Elements of Step Three

The first two steps of The Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous prepare the one in recovery for the essential third step and its prayer. The first step requires the alcoholic to admit there is a problem with alcohol. It is also acknowledged this problem renders one powerless, resulting in an unmanageable life. In the second step, a belief is confessed that one more powerful than the alcoholic can restore sanity to their life.

The third step comprises several elements that combine to make a powerful statement that can propel the alcoholic forward to a life of sobriety, fulfillment, and joy. These elements are:

  • “Made a decision…”

Unfortunately, decision-making is impaired for alcoholics, and they are known for making bad ones. However, AA believes in the alcoholic’s ability to make the crucial decision to turn their life around.

  • “…to turn our will and our lives over…”

Humility is a critical part of recovery. The alcoholic must face the fact they were unable to control a part of their life that now controls them. This surrender of one’s will and life puts one in the best position to successfully recover.

  • “to the care of God as we understood him.”

The alcoholic understands their own responsibility in recovery while believing that God provides the ultimate care and success of the journey.

The Prayer of Step Three

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.

May I do Thy will always!


A Time/CNN poll found that 82% of Americans believe prayer can cure serious illness. Also, more than half of respondents want their physicians to pray with them. While scientists might disagree with the effect and use of prayer in medicine, there is significant anecdotal evidence of its positive effects on people’s lives.

Many people choose to recite the third step prayer throughout recovery. It is a reminder that they are being set free of bondage and moving toward a better life. The prayer acknowledges a coming victory over their alcohol addiction. The prayer contains an important statement of the alcoholic’s willingness to help others in recovery. It then closes with the request to always do the will of God.

Understanding Step Three and Its Prayer

It is essential that newcomers not misunderstand the third step. Alcoholics Anonymous does not believe that all one must do is attend meetings and say a prayer to give mental assent to God’s control over their life. Instead, the road to sobriety requires significant effort to be free of the symptoms of alcohol abuse.

Sanctuary Recovery Foundation

We provide safe, clean homes to support our residents’ recovery and increased confidence. Contact us today for more information on enjoying ongoing sobriety at the Sanctuary Recovery foundation located in Charleston, SC.