“Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”
I love all of the 12 steps of AA, but step two is the one that gives us hope. With step two we learn that we are not alone, and that something greater than ourselves can help to conquer addiction and despair.
Becoming a sober person, free of your addictions means a restoration to sanity. In AA we learn that by working the 12 steps the restoration is happening in part because addiction and it’s accompanying insanity are not controlling our lives anymore.
Step Two of AA: A Power Greater Than Ourselves
All of the words of the 12 steps are very specifically chosen, which is another thing I really love about working with them. The second step doesn’t say “We came to believe in a power greater than ourselves” it says “We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” That’s the beauty–we are invited to begin to think about what our higher power can be.
The emphasis is not on who or what the power is, but on what the power can do for us. The group of AA itself certainly qualifies as a power greater than ourselves (our fellowship is in the millions and always growing) as do the spiritual principles contained in the 12 steps.
The awareness and understanding that we can’t recover alone and that we need some kind of help is really the lesson at this point in recovery. The spiritual principles that are the foundation of this step are open mindedness, willingness, faith, trust and humility. It really doesn’t matter whether we have any idea of how this power greater than ourselves is going to help, just that we come to believe it is possible.
Step Two of AA: Questions
As part of a recovery process it’s really helpful to ask and answer important questions pertaining to step two; questions about insanity coming to believe, a power greater than ourselves, restoration to sanity and spiritual principles:
- Did you make insane decisions as a result of your addictions?
- Do you have any fears about coming to believe in something greater than yourself?
- What does “we came to believe” mean to you?
- What experiences have you heard other recovering addicts share about their process of coming to believe and have you tried any of them in your recovery/life?
- Do you have a problem accepting that there is a power/powers greater than yourself?
- What evidence do you have a “higher power” is working in your life?
- What are some of the things you consider good examples of sanity?
- What changes in your thinking and behavior are necessary for your restoration to sanity?
- Why is having a closed mind harmful to your personal recovery?
- How are you demonstrating open-mindedness in your life right now?
- What fears do you have that are getting in the way of your trust?
- What do you need to do to help let go of the fears?
- Are you seeking help from your sponsor, going to meetings and reaching out to other recovering addicts? If so what are the results?
Step Two of AA In Our Lives
Jason Wahler breaks down step two of AA
I have come to believe that by being in the fellowship of AA, with the aid of the 12 steps, that I can walk through the painful times in recovery knowing that an end is near, this too shall pass and there is always light at the end of darkness, as I stay clean and continue to work the steps. But it’s important to remember that step two, like all of them, is a process, not an event.
As a southern California native I’ve come to believe in all kinds of things that are energetically spiritual, where there are parallels in each to sobriety and they complement each other beautifully. Surfing and sobriety as a combination is mind blowing. It just doesn’t get much better than standing on top of a wave in the vast and powerful blue water, looking out over the horizon and enjoying the ride…sober.
Life and sobriety are kind of like surfing; sometimes there are is a lull and gentle waves, other times the crashing ferocity of huge swells! Both require patience, humility, and presence, forgiveness and a faith or trust in something uncontrollable, and much bigger than me.
September 9th, 201312 Steps, Helpful Articles
The 12 Steps are a widely accepted set of guidelines for individuals to use during addiction treatment and throughout recovery. Last week we discovered through Step One that our lives have become unmanageable and that we need help with our addictions.
Step Two introduces us to the long-term solution to recovering from addiction and paves the way for it in Steps Three through Twelve. That solution is accepting help from a source greater than ourselves.
You may ask why you can’t go through this process by yourself without asking for help. Well, has your behavior gotten out of control? Have you tried to quit before and found yourself unable to stop drinking alcohol or using drugs? Have you experienced negative consequences from your alcohol and drug addiction, but continue to use anyway?
If you answered yes to any of those questions you should be able to come to a difficult and important conclusion – you are not capable of helping yourself and need to find something more powerful than you.
Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity
Addiction is a perilous disease that often leads individuals down a path of insanity. It causes individuals to do things they wouldn’t normally do, think thoughts they normally wouldn’t think, or have emotions they normally wouldn’t feel.”
Many times in my addiction, I did things that were markedly insane. I think back to the writing on the wall. We all know that only crazy people write on walls.”
– Eliza P., former addict
While some addicts don’t feel as though they are insane and may resist help because they feel they don’t need to be “restored to sanity,” insanity can be explained through the “addict’s definition”—insanity is doing the same things over and over, but expecting different results; therefore his or her behavior is insane.
Step Two is a step of hope for a return to the happy and healthy lifestyle we once had. It builds faith that a higher power can help restore us to sanity and allow us to continue through the Steps toward addiction recovery. The book of Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions explains, “Step Two is the rallying point for all of us. Whether agnostic, atheist, or former believer, we can stand together on this Step.” Even though this mentions individuals of all beliefs, some addicts struggle with the idea of looking to “a Power great than ourselves” to help restore us to sanity. This is because the “Power” at first glance refers to God, and not everyone is on the same religious path. It is important to remember that 12 Step programs are spiritual, not religious.
Individuals going through the Steps are not required to accept God as the “Power greater than ourselves,“ but can describe or understand their greater Power in any way they wish. Step Two is less about God and religion and more about accepting the help you need. That help can come from a faith in God, 12 Step support groups, family and friends, therapy, or AA/NA meetings and members.
Working Step Two
The only way to be successful in working Step Two is to actually begin accepting the help you need. This process often begins when you find your “higher power.”
Answering the following questions can help do this:
- Did your family claim a certain religion growing up?
- What are the positive and negative aspects of your family religion?
- Do you still practice your family’s religion, or are you seeking help from a different area?
- What people in your life have helped you discover the unmanageability of your life?
- What did you like best about your childhood best friends and what did they like best about you?Are these important qualities that would make for a good “higher power” to help you?
- What do you want from your “higher power?”
- Can you learn to trust the individual or group you choose?
Once you have chosen your “higher power” you can start accepting help from that power and move to Step Three. Accepting help from others in your journey to addiction recovery is very important, and you will soon see its effectiveness as you move through the rest of the Steps.
Next week we will discuss how to work through Step Three. Please don’t hesitate to refer back to our blog as we discuss how to work through the Steps; but more importantly, don’t hesitate to call our addiction specialists to start a treatment program today.