Step 2. states: “Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”
Without the hope that we can recover from our disease, why would we go through this program and the major upheaval it causes in our lives and relationships? This step gives us our reason to go on when the going gets tough and when our disease tries to convince us that our old, comfortable ways aren’t so bad after all.
They say the further we are from our last binge, the closer we are to our next. So, no matter how much our disease tries to minimize our addiction, this step can be a constant, reassuring reminder that our old behavior was nothing short of insane and there is hope for recovery IF we relinquish control.
A Bridge Between Thought and Action
In Step 2, you turn from believing that it’s “my way or the highway” to letting go of the delusion that you can control anything. This is a huge shift in thinking. It is the bridge between Steps 1 and 3 and a thread that must run through working all of the steps to shore us up against the hard times.
Step 1 is a thinking step. When we take that step, we finally realize what everyone around us has known for a long, long time … that our lives are a complete mess because of our addiction. Step 3 requires action by our becoming willing to do the work required in the rest of the steps to recover from our addiction.
But you need a bridge between awareness and action. Step 2 takes our Step 1 realization that our way has failed us miserably and gives us the knowledge that there is a way to recovery. The way is not by self-knowledge or exerting even more control, but by coming to grips with our powerlessness and becoming teachable.
Faith and Belief are Not the Same
When we become open to doing things another way, then there is the possibility of being restored to sanity. The Big Book and the program have a complete plan to help us do just that. If you believe, as I do, that the program and Big Book were Divinely inspired, then whether you believe that power is the group or God doesn’t matter. All this step asks, really, is that you have faith that if others followed these steps and got better, then you can as well.
But before you can come to believe, you have to have faith. Faith is trusting that what has happened for others can happen to you. Belief is seeing it happen. Step 2 is about coming to believe. It is not a once and done step, but a bridge … and a thread running throughout the rest of the steps.
If you have been rigorous about doing the rest of the steps, by the time you get to the promises and the hidden promises on pages 83 and 84 of the Big Book, you will surely have come to believe in a Power greater than yourself because your life will have changed for the better, and at least some of these promises will have already come true for you.
It Works If You Work It
There is a tv commercial about an addiction treatment center, where the young man who is one of the owners says, “This is not a 12 step program. This works.” His blanket statement about 12 Step programs is quite disturbing and makes my heart ache for suffering addicts who might believe him and, therefore, don’t find the help that is freely offered throughout the world, and which has saved so many lives.
I have been in recovery from food addiction for over 15 years and from compulsive debting for over three. It is true that it’s a day at a time, but nothing, I repeat, nothing else worked for me but the 12 Steps and I tried just about everything.
Yes, there may be people who cannot find recovery in this program, and yes, I have seen people recover using other methods. But as the Big Book says on page 58:
Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty. Their chances are less than average. There are those, too, who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest.
If you are new to the program, let me assure you that there are people who recover. These steps work, but you have to be willing to think differently, to let go of control, and to be brutally honest with yourself. And that is where Step 2 comes in.
Step 2 Keeps you Going
It’s easy, when you are desperate and in horrible pain over your last spending binge or debt, to say that you will follow these steps. But it is when the pain eases up and you are “jonesing” for a fix with money or when you don’t like what you hear because it isn’t what you want to do that the rubber meets the road in Step 2.
Step 2 is vital to keep you in the program. Without the faith in this program, and in a Power greater than yourself, you may leave at any juncture when the going gets tough. So when you feel yourself resistant to suggestions that are difficult, go back to Step 2 and remind yourself why you are in DA in the first place.