You are not alone.

Third Step

The "Third Step Tree"


I wasn’t reassured when I first heard those words, “You are not alone,” uttered as a reassurance.

To be honest, it kind of creeped me out. It sounded like something The Smoking Man would tell Molder on “The X Files.” As if aliens or (even scarier) the government were constantly watching me, tracking my every move, examining my every thought. Chalk it up to an overactive imagination and too many pre-teen afternoons spent with old issues of “Fantasy & Science Fiction” on my grandmother’s sunporch.

The phrase was meant, however, to let me know that as a newcomer to sobriety and the Alcoholics Anonymous program, I was going to be okay. That my case wasn’t unusual. That there were many others like me out there struggling with alcoholism. And that I didn’t have to go it alone — there were plenty of resources at my disposal, if I just knew where to look and whom to ask.

I posted earlier this week about my difficulties seeking and asking for help. And on Friday, I did something very alien to my control freak nature: I let go of everything and asked for all the help in the cosmos. I took the Third Step and surrendered to my Higher Power.

It was quite a lovely experience – my AA sponsor and I had a picnic and took a hike in a nearby state park. The afternoon was bright and hot, and the park very serene and empty — except for an amazing array of flora and fauna that seemed to be greeting and guiding us. (There goes my overactive imagination again…) A Texas spiny lizard scurrying along the rocks paused to watch us as we first embarked on the trail. Then I spied a magnificent red-tailed hawk watching from its perch in a nearby tree. A. and I both stopped and stood looking up quietly. It flew off when I moved closer to get a better look (with thoughts of snapping a picture, because of course I had my camera with me). But it wasn’t the last we saw of it.

As we continued on our journey, we saw shy turtles, a brilliant cardinal, a pair of woodpeckers, and a bevy of butterflies fluttering from blossom to blossom among flowering trees. We reached a bend in the path, which led us up a hill. At the top was a clearing with a smooth-barked tree — I think a crepe myrtle — just beyond. At this spot, by what A. & I shall hereafter refer to as “The Third Step Tree,” we stopped and sat to say the Third Step Prayer.

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.

And then, we just got quiet.

I listened. I looked around. I lived in the moment.

A. & I saw that hawk again — or at least we figured it was the same one, circling overhead, making lazy loops in the big Texas sky. Standing there in the sun, I didn’t feel alone at all. I felt connected, part of the universe, happy and loved and reassured.

I was not alone.

8 Responses to “You are not alone.”

  1. All in one = Alone.

  2. Ahhhh
    Lovely 🙂

    Thanks for sharing your nice story 🙂

  3. 3 eve

    yes. it is all about being in the moment. One day. then one day. then one day. It is amazingly liberating. I heard something cool at a meeting tonight: wear reality like loose fitting clothes. just got me thinking….

  4. 4 Chaz

    An amazing experience!

    I can relate to the creepy factor about being told “you are not alone”. I am a pretty private and self-reliant person (to my own detriment) and my tendancy is to want to be with or without others on my terms.

    Yet, we humans are herd animals from the get-go. We seem to naturally form communities whether with a spouse/mate, family, clan, tribe, whatever.

    So does it not make sense that many of our needs are met in conjunction with others? I think alcoholic isolation is contrary to predominant human nature. Very few people function well in isolation.

    My point… when I really thought about it, I came to realize that I NEEDED others to help me recover. One of the legs of the AA triangle represents unity…. with others.

    So ya…. once I shook off my distrust and got past my alocholic isolationism, I really embraced the fact that I needed to be “not alone”. And in doing so… have discovered tremendous freedom and recovery.

    Glad you are finding the same.



  5. Hey, once someone wrote YNWA to me. I said, “What’s that mean?”
    You’ll never walk alone. I love it! It’s a soccer song.

  6. Actually, this one is better and shorter! It gives me chills!

  7. 7 C

    Well, you learn something new every day. I knew that song from the musical “Carousel” (at first I thought it was “Oklahoma!” but then I googled it and found it was a Shirley Jones musical, but not that one!), and had never heard of it as a soccer song. But then again, I’m a yankee. It was interesting to see all the clips of the song as a soccer anthem. Pretty cool discovery.

    YNWA. Right on.

  8. 8 Scott UK

    Just want to say thanks for sharing, I love your blog.

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