The first step strips us of our illusions related to addiction. It leaves us with a need to believe in something that can help us with our powerlessness and the unmanageability we have recognized in our lives. Step two gives us hope for our recovery and is necessary if we expect to achieve ongoing recovery. Many people may have avoided this step due to the religious connotation associated with “a Power greater than ourselves”. However, to complete this step the founders of AA remind us that all we really need to do is “keep an open mind” (Alcoholics Anonymous World Services Inc., 2001). You will come to find that this “Power” can be almost anything, and doesn’t necessarily have to be related to a religion at all. Like the first step, there are several concepts within the second step that we will address.
For example, “hope” is one of the great concepts to be found within the second step. Specifically, the hope that replaces the desperation we came in with when we admitted our lives were unmanageable. Many of us will have tried a variety of options to overcome this unmanageability in the past (medicine, religion, psychiatry etc.). However, by working the steps of AA we begin to feel a sense of hope in realizing that there are others, just like us, that have managed to stay sober by working these very same steps. In the second step we now believe, or at least start to believe, that our lives can be restored to sanity, even in the most hopeless of times. If our lives need to be restored to sanity in this step, that must mean that, at least aspects of them, are insane right?. Albert Einstein is often credited with the definition of insanity as “doing something over and over again and expecting different results”. For purposes of addiction, we will describe insanity as “indulging in something externally (alcohol, drugs, gambling, sex, food, money, power, etc.) with the belief that it will cure the issues we are facing internally”. Sound familiar?
In the second step we also “come to believe”. Perhaps the biggest issue to face here is that this is typically a process that takes time for most people. As humans, we are prone to want, and even expect, for things to happen instantly. That is typically not the case with the 12 steps. Most of us don’t just wake up one day believing that a power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity. It is a process that often takes time and patience. So, what is this Power? Not everyone will consider their Power to be the same. I call my Higher Power “God”. Other people consider their 12-step group to be their Higher Power. Others believe that nature is their Higher Power. Whatever you choose to be your Higher Power is fine, as long as it is more powerful than your addiction. Afterall, it is our addiction that has led us to this insanity in the first place!
In the second step we realize that a restoration to sanity is possible. We are no longer controlled by our addiction or the choices that we made in active addiction. We begin to slow down and consider the consequences of our decisions before making them. It is during this step that we truly begin to mature and grow as healthy sober individuals. “How?” you might ask. By focusing on the spiritual principles of open-mindedness, willingness, faith, trust, and humility. Each of these spiritual principles are highlighted during this step and will help you in your quest for a return to sanity. You can find hope in the second step. Today you can dare to believe. Today you can live a life that has been restored to sanity!