Monday, November 10, 2008

Step Two

"Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity."

The Second Step is the only one that is not clearly detailed in the big book. There is a whole chapter called "We Agnostics" which deals with coming to believe - unfortunately many people either don't read it or don't spend much time studying it because they are not agnostics. 

All of the other steps say something like "This is the first step in recovery." (p. 30), "Being convinced, we were at Step Three." (p. 60), "This brings us to the Fifth Step" (p. 72), "we then look at Step Six." (p. 76), "We have then completed Step Seven." (p.76), "Let's look at Steps Eight and Nine." (p. 76), "This thought brings us to Step Ten." (p. 84), "Step Eleven suggests prayer and meditation." (p. 85), and "The next chapter is entirely devoted to Step Twelve." (p.88).  

I have heard many people say that they had a hard time with the second step because they didn't believe they needed to be restored to sanity because that would suggest they were insane.  Others have had difficulty because they did not believe in God.  For me, the difficulty was in the word "restore."  I couldn't imagine how I could be restored to something I never felt I had.  

My first sponsor had me take three sheets of paper and write my concept of a higher power on each sheet.  The first sheet was for my childhood idea, which was the God in heaven with the long white beard, etc.   The second sheet was for my present concept of God, which was someone I was trying to hide from, I was afraid of God.  The third sheet was to write down my ideal of what my relationship with God should be, at that time it was a close relationship without fear or dread.  We got together and I read these to her.  She then told me to take the first two sheets of paper and tear them up.  She said that those were my old ideas, and now I could get rid of my old ideas and go forward with the new.  

This is not what I do with sponsees as we do the Second Step, but it was my first experience with the Second Step.  

Over the years, my faith and trust in God have grown as I saw the evidence of what happens when you turn it over to Him.  I could start with the belief that God could remove alcohol from my life.  This was huge.  And it happened.  The trust built from there.  

As I look back on almost a quarter century of sobriety and try to judge the sanity of those years, I can see that the first years were not very sane.  But I wasn't drinking and that is very very good.  As time passed, my life started looking sane and so did I.  After a while, I started being employable.  I started being reliable.  I started being trust-worthy.  People could know what to expect from me.  They could ask me to do things and feel sure that they would get done. I know that left to my own devices it would not be this way.  

Thank God I do not have to do this alone.  The fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous is a tremendous blessing, but the individual people of AA can let you down.  The fellowship as a whole will not, but those individual hurts are very deep.  God will NEVER let me down and I never have to stay sober alone because He is always with me.  

How do you show that you have taken Step Two?  By moving on to Step Three... 


PJ said...

Hi, MC. I'm more than OK, actually. Just really busy, and don't take time to post and/or read other people's blogs like I probably should. Thanks for caring, though.

dAAve said...

What's really cool is that my experience with Step 2 is entirely different than yours. But the fact remains that we both got to the same place while using our individual understanding.

Shadow said...

this is good!

Scott W said...

In its most basic form I thank God every day for keeping me sober, because I could not do it.

AlkySeltzer said...

Hi Mary. How can we EVER thank you for taking time to post this daily 12-step conversation? I LOVE it!

For me, the following has been a huge help for me to reach a better understanding of the "Insanity of Step Two", in Chapter Three, "More About Alcoholism.

1. ..."mentally different from his (my) fellows." BB p 30

2. Thinking ..."someday he will control and enjoy his drinking.." BB p 30

3. "The delusion that we are like other people..." BB p30

4. All of us felt at times that we were gaining control..." BB p30

5. " pitiful and incomprehensible demoralization.." BB p 30
...means "OMG, Oh shit. I did it AGAIN. What is the matter with me?"

Again, I always read you, but I'll read you twice each day these two weeks, because these steps ARE our program, as you stated. Fellowship is a gigantic bonus...

Lou said...

In January, I'm starting the steps again, and you are giving me some food for thought.
thank you

♥Shann♥ said...

I had a hard time admiting i was insane, though a simple definition of insanity was said many times in my early recovery, Insanity = doing the same things and expecting differnt results, it was a few years into recovery I was able to see and admit my own insanity prior to getting sober, and in sobriety, and I was grateful to start trusting God, and each expierence brought me closer to Him and my result was my faith in a higher power. Thank you for sharing your ESH with the steps in your blogs
have a good monday

Gabriella Moonlight said...

I still do the steps with my sponsor, I look at my week and see what is going on and how it applies and what step i can use to stay in the solution.

This blog and these posts are a great way for me to see more!!
More will be revealed.

My sponsor also reminds me that humans will always disappoint, it's in our higher power where we find our love and freedom, thank you for the brillaint reminder.


Laura said...

Hi, MC. Thank you for sharing your history of recovery. I am learning from you each time I read you. I love the 3 pages of what God looks like to you because I could echo that picture. What amazes me is that the insanity, which was rampant in my life, was not because of a direct using but by impaired loving of users and alcoholics and thereby living a life seemingly as chaotic and out of sorts as others. I can relate entirely about taking care of business and being what I say I am. This is coming back to me and I just didn't realize how far out I was.

I'm waiting for tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

Quality posts MC.

-Dave from Maryland

Just Another Sober Guy said...

Hmmm, I could totally relate to what you said:

"For me, the difficulty was in the word "restore." I couldn't imagine how I could be restored to something I never felt I had.

That is almost an exact quote of what I said to an old friend when we first came into the rooms. It kinda reminds me of the old joke about the guy with the broken arm.

guy: "Will I be able to play the violin after this heals?"

doc: "Sure!"

guy: "Cool, cuz I couldn't before!"

Makes sense to me anyway, with my good insanity still intact, LOL

Thanks again for sharing your experience with the steps here.


Pam said...

Thanks MC-little frito pie

wendy said...

your sentence about being restored reminds me of my difficulty with the first step. of course my life was unmanageable, it had always been that way and I couldn't imagine any other way. luckily things are a little bit different today.

Syd said...

I came to believe because nothing else and no one else ever did anything to restore me to sanity. And in Al-Anon we hear that insanity is doing the same thing over and over hoping for different results. Also I had a "connection" just prior to my the death of my parents--it came clear to me that there was a power greater than me. I listened to that power and was able to be with both parents just before they died.