Step 2: Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity
AA is one of hundreds of Agnostic addiction recovery fellowships. It does not require anyone to believe in “God” or a religious ideal. The words: God, Higher Power and a Power greater than ourselves are used continuously but have no fixed or expected concept on what the “magic” is that ultimately relieves the Addict from their “ism”. Remember our concept on gravity? Defining the magic that makes gravity work has no effect on its actual result. It simply is. Therefor, after 6,000,000 + success stories, there is strong evidence that the process of turning our “will” over to something outside of ourselves makes all the difference between success and failure at the goal of sobriety.
Imagine that the individual has a deluded mind. Now imagine them using that broken thinker to make ALL of their own life decisions. Logic stands that the results will be lack luster. It stands to reason that if they were to turn their decision and assessment process over to something outside of themselves that the result would simply be more effective. The "something" that they turn their will over too should have a history of success, and is completely up to them. Here are a sample of “Higher Powers” that would/could make sense:
1. God - The religious or spiritual concept of a loving Universal Father (if they agree with this belief)
2. Good Orderly Direction (GOD) - The concept of allowing the 12 steps and the process of recovery be their guide and eyes
3. Group of Drunks (GOD) - The concept of allowing millions of sober fellow members be the guiding force
4. The Universe - The metaphysical concept of the power of the eternal class room of life in the entire universe and its makers
Makes no difference. There are so many concepts of an outside influence amongst millions of sober Addicts and the result seems to be the same. Sobriety and Joy. It is really about a concept that makes sense the person. Allow them the freedom to figure this out for themselves. The only real boundary is that they must have something outside of themselves that they use to govern and account for their actions that isn’t a PERSON (none of us have the power to run someone else’s life) a spouse (This is more harmful than helpful) or themselves (they have already failed at running the show-they are fired from the job). As time goes on they may or may not change their concept of GOD, but that is their journey. Just let them know that there are only 3 things that matter:
1. They shouldn’t be in charge of their own direction
2. Something bigger than themselves should
3. Whatever concept they choose, they should feel comfortable with it for now (makes no difference what the definition is - it works regardless)
Step 2 Book Work
1. Read “We Agnostics” - Chapter 4)
2. High light any words that speak to you or that you agree with
3. On a pad of paper, write out your concept of “Higher Power” that you can start with
4. On a pad of paper write a list of things that you think you have power over (you will review these with them and note that they have NONE. It is actually quite frank and logical that we have no power to control life. We can’t predict traffic, weather, or stop cancer with will)
5. Call two AA members per day for one week and ask them them to describe a time when their “Higher Power” did something miraculous in their lives. Write the stories down. (Review these with your client and they will start to get a feeling that something is out there making things happen)
Step 2 can be a stumbling block for individuals that feel threatened or offended by the GOD concept. Help the individual become clear that this is NOT necessary for them to agree with. They do NOT have to believe in a GOD of the heavens. We simply allow each member of recovery to make this personal decision on their own. We do not discuss who/what we believe GOD is or isn't in meetings of recovery. We keep that to ourselves. We don’t debate others on what is right or wrong with regards to who/what GOD is or isn’t. We have no central belief system on this ideal. We simply agree that we are NOT it. We also agree that we need it to change us. Addiction is too big for any one person to stop. Hundreds of millions of Addicts over time have lost this battle. We are here to win the fight. Therefor we win the war by surrendering our old ideas and let go of belligerence.
Another way of looking at Step 2. Notice the word “believe”. It is a derivative of belief. Belief is synonymous with HOPE as faith is synonymous with KNOWING. Here is a story that you may know.
Back in 1492 a sailor named Christopher asked the Queen of Spain for some financing. The people of the day, absolutely without question, KNEW that the world was flat at that time, however Christopher had a belief that it was round and that if he had the means he could sale around the world to the West Indies much more swiftly and therefor have access to the riches of the Orient without the troubles of the current passage.
His passion and HOPE inspired Isabella and she gave him a few ships and money for men and supplies.
As the men sailed they became quite frightened. They were convinced that it was a fool’s mission and eventually Christopher would turn around and return home before they fell off the edge of the earth. He wasn’t turning. They almost mutinied and took the ships to save their own lives but Christopher maintained order and pressed on. He had NO idea if he was absolutely correct, he just had HOPE that he was on the right path. He believed so much that he risked his life and that of his men.
When they arrived at the Americas they kissed the ground and gave blessings to God for their lives and cheered at the good fortune of discovering new territory and the fact that the world was round! They highly respected their captain and returned with goods and natives as proof of their discovery.
The second time the crew traveled to the new world they sang songs of battle and wealth, slapped each other on the back and looked forward to great adventure. This time they traveled NOT in HOPE or belief but rather in FAITH (KNOWING). They knew that they were bound for the new world and this changed their entire perspective.
When an Addict embarks on the adventure of recovery they are in HOPE (came to believe) and as they progress through the process they develop a faith or knowing that this process works and that something is supporting them through the process. The instigation for attempting to HOPE is the desperate desire for something new to happen in their lives. This is why a low bottom moment or disastrous experience can act as a motivation to end their addiction. Terrible moments will many times open their minds to the idea of daring to believe that THEY could be sober if they surrender to the concepts that millions before them have successfully consummated. Great tragic ends are many times the most powerful gifts for change for closed minded human beings.
So to quote a very important member of the fellowship:
“I hope you have no more friends, enemies all around, your wife has left you, your dog won't come to you, you have no more money, work or love of children. I hope you have great despair, fear, panic and a sense of impending doom. I hope you can’t imagine your life with a drink or without one and that you feel utterly and completely full of shame, guilt and hopelessness...because if you have run out of bright ideas you now have a real chance to get sober. Find God and become the best version of the person you have ever been.”