Steps 1, 2, and 3: I Can’t, He Can, I’ll Let Him

Image of first three steps: 1. I can't. 2. He can. 3. I'll let Him. There is a short-hand way of describing the first three Steps of the 12-Step Recovery process: “I can’t, He can, I’ll let Him.” The “He,” for me, is the Lord.

Step 1: I Can’t

Step 1 is about admitting my powerlessness. I did everything I knew how to do to improve my situation, and it got me to where I am right now. Goodness knows I tried. I tried various diets and exercise programs hoping to lose weight. I tried dozens of self-help books to overcome my shortcomings. I tried three different therapists. None of those things brought a long term solution. By the time I started working the 12 Steps I was pretty much at the end of the line. If the 12 Steps didn’t work, I had nowhere else to turn.

Step 2: He Can

Step 2 is about acknowledging that the Lord can do for me what I cannot do for myself. He can fix problems that I cannot imagine the solution for. He is omnipotent. It is arrogant and prideful to think that I am so broken that I am beyond the help of the Lord. No one is too broken for Christ to fix. He cares about each and every one of us individually and wants to be our personal Savior.

Step 3: I’ll Let Him

Step 3 is about making a decision to trust the Lord and turn my life over to Him. He has promised that he would be right by my side and would help me do anything that is in harmony with His will, and I know that overcoming my addiction and letting go of my shortcomings and character defects fits that description.

He will not do for me what I can do for myself. And He will only do what I am willing to let Him do. He will not violate my agency. I do not have to understand what the solution is, nor do I have to tell Him what to do or when to do it. He is smarter than I am. I need to trust that His solution will be what is best for me. I need to turn the matter over to Him, pray for guidance on what footwork He wants me to do, and do the footwork He gives me to do. I also need to wait on His timing; patiently, if possible.


The 12 Steps did and do work for me. I have experienced His love personally. I have received a new heart. I now walk in faith and not fear. I trust that His solution will be best for me. I have long term recovery, both from compulsive eating and from many of the shortcomings and character defects that kept my life in turmoil. Someday, in the Lord’s time, I hope to be delivered from all of them. I have comfortable relationships with my loved ones. When I mess up, I follow the steps and personal revelation to make amends quickly. I love living in a state of recovery. It is a good state to live in.

  • What are your addictions, shortcomings and character defects? Are you willing to admit that you are powerless over all of them?
  • Do you believe that the Lord is capable of removing your shortcomings and restoring you to complete spiritual health? Why or why not?
  • How do you feel about turning your will and your life over to Him? Are you willing to ask and allow Him to be in charge of your life?
  • Are you willing to seek inspiration on the footwork you need to do and act upon the revelation you receive?

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2 thoughts on “Steps 1, 2, and 3: I Can’t, He Can, I’ll Let Him

  1. I have been in a 12 step recovery program for alcohol and drug addiction! I have been sober and clean for over 33 years! I have not taken a drink! Nor, have I used an illegal, unlawful, mind or mood changing substance since March 7, 1986! To make a very long story short, I asked “YAHSHUA HaMASHIAC” (Jesus Christ) to help me stop drinking and drugging! I really believed I was hopeless! The irony is that I had a spiritual experience in 1990 that led to my attempting suicide in 1990! I had been working my program faithfully and was sober and clean! I was diagnosed as major severe depressive, with psychotic features, and suicidal ideations! My doctor told me that had I come within a millimeter or so closer to the vein I attempted to slit, I would have bled to death because there would have been nothing he could have done to stop the bleeding! I would have bled to death! The miracle is that “THE GRACE” of “YAHSHUA” (Jesus) did for me what I could not do for myself! My sobriety date is March 7, 1990! I have not had a drink or drug since that day! It is as if the alcohol and drug problem have been lifted right out of me! Due to my mental disability I do not get to meetings anymore! But, I pray, study The Bible, have regular little talks with “YAHSHUA” (Jesus), write daily devotions to friends! I must admit that my sobriety is not “quality sobriety” because of my severe mental disability! But, as I see it, some sobriety is better than no sobriety! I am wresting with besetting sins that I have been praying and asking for deliverance from for years! They have been strong holds of captivity! Now, that I have read “I CAN’T! HE CAN!” I THINK I’LL LET HIM,” is my Divine Revelation! The last thing I’ll say is that “THE 12 STEP PROGRAM WORKS “IF” WE WORK IT!” Trust in “YAH” (The Creator) with “ALL” your heart! And, lean not to your own understanding! Acknowledge Him in “ALL” your ways; and, He shall direct your paths!” (Proverbs 3:5-7) “YAHSHUA HaMASHIAC” (Jesus Christ) LOVES US!” John

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