28 Feb STEP TWO… Broken Down
Step 2 states “Came to believe that a Power Greater than ourselves could restore us to Sanity.” The main issues newcomers have with this step are the terms, “Power Greater than ourselves” and “sanity.” Those who have issues with the concept of a Higher Power think “If I have to believe in God for this 12 step program to work then this is not for me.” Those who take offense to the word “sanity” feel “My life is totally sane, I just need to get a handle on this fill in the blank addiction.”
Let’s explore each of these concerns. Let me assure you it is not necessary to believe in God to work a solid program, it is only necessary to believe in a power greater than yourself. I heard once, “Can you make someone be born or die? If your answer is no, you already believe there is a power greater than yourself.” You can choose any Power. Some people make it the group of people at a meeting, others think of it as the ocean, you could use nature… As long as you are willing to admit there is something more powerful than you, you are on your way. Also, take comfort in the word “came.” Most people’s concept of a Higher Power evolves over time, strengthening as they see the recovery this new reliance has given them.
Now let’s look at the word sanity. Sanity is defined as soundness, rationality and healthiness of the human mind. Most alcoholics are not homeless indigents. Many have families, good jobs, hobbies and friends. There lives appear sane. However, upon closer look when it comes to their addiction, they are insane. They may set out to have one glass of wine, but get wasted, do embarrassing things and pass out. They may be distracted at work due to hangovers, lash out in temper when they are really craving a drink, and feel guilty or depressed over past drinking behavior. Active alcoholics struggle with self centeredness, self pity, wreckage in their past and damaged relationships. They are incapable of real integrity, intimacy and compassion for others. All of these contribute to the insanity and chaos that is at the center of an alcoholic’s emotional life.
If step 2 is only asking for you to believe there some force out there that is greater than yourself to be on the road out of this insanity, what a deal! A friend in program once posed this challenge… “Try living a day with a belief in a higher power. Then try living a day as if there isn’t one. Now, review which day worked better.