Self-will vs. God’s will

Self-will vs. God's will

September 15, 2023

The difference between self-will and God's will in the Twelve Steps lies in the shift from relying solely on our ego-driven decisions and actions to acknowledging the need for external guidance, support, and surrendering to a higher power as part of the process of recovery from addiction.

The Concept

The concepts of self-will and God's will play a significant role in understanding and addressing addiction and achieving sobriety. Here's an overview of the difference between self-will and God's will in relation to the Twelve Steps:


Self-will refers to our personal desires, decisions, and actions driven by our own ego and desires.

In the context of addiction and recovery, self-will often represents the destructive patterns and behaviors that led to addiction. It can include stubbornness, denial, and the belief that one can control our addiction on their own.

The First Step of the Twelve Steps acknowledges powerlessness over addiction and the unmanageability of our life due to it, highlighting the need to surrender self-will in favor of a different approach to recovery.

God's Will:

God's will, in the Twelve Steps, refers to a higher power or a spiritual force that is often described as greater than us. It doesn't necessarily have to be a traditional religious concept but can be a personal understanding of a higher power.

It represents a surrender to a force outside of our ego and self-centeredness. Many of us in recovery interpret God's will as a source of guidance, strength, and serenity that can help us overcome addiction.

The Third Step involves making a decision to turn our will and life over to the care of God as we understand God. This step is a crucial turning point in acknowledging the limitations of self-will and seeking guidance and support from a higher power.

It's essential to note that the Twelve Steps are not explicitly tied to any specific religious belief, and we in recovery are encouraged to define our own higher power in a way that is personally meaningful to us. Some of us may use the term "Higher Power" instead of "God" to make it more inclusive.

A few examples:

Characteristics of Self-Will - Characteristics of God's Will

Afraid/Fear                                   - Faith & Trust in God

Anger (Rage)                                - Calm, Self-Control

Arrogant                                        - Humble

Criticizing                                     - Look for the Good

Denial/Justification                 - Agreeable/Acceptance

False Pride                                  - Modest/Humility

Hate                                               - Love & Concern for Others

Impatience                                 - Patience

Inconsiderate                            - Considerate

Intolerance                                 - Tolerance, Patience

Jealousy                                      - Secure/Trusting

Judgmental                               - Fair Minded/Understanding

Lustful Thoughts                     - Respectful Thoughts

People Pleasing/Fake           - Real/True

Procrastination                        - Promptness/Timely/Taking Right Action

Resentment                               - Forgiveness

Sarcastic                                     - Complimentary

Self-Seeking                              - Charity/Helpful to Others

Subscribe to Stay Updated on New Posts & Content!


  1. Saint on April 1, 2024 at 1:56 pm


Leave a Comment