Step 2: A Higher Power

Welcome to February and with it, Step 2! We’ve made it through the first step in self-reflection and achievement, now it’s time to move on:

“Step 2: A power greater than ourselves can restore our sanity”

Truth be told, when I first started visiting AA meetings with my father, this was the one step I always hoped the meeting would never focus on. It was the hardest for me to grasp, and one I still have trouble with from time to time. It can take on SO many different meanings in so many ways; I’m hoping to explore many of them this coming month.

But first: why is this step so hard to wrap our brains around? I’m going to focus for just right now on the “power greater” part in the relatively assumed format…more will come later of other ways to interpret Step 2.

There are a few different types of people. Like me, there are those that are general skeptics of the concept of “faith” and a “higher being”: the non-faithful. I was raised by a Catholic father and a Methodist mother in a completely agnostic household, primarily due to a minister demanding my mother donate to a church in accordance with her paycheck instead of out of the goodness of her heart: terrible mistake. I went to a public school surrounded by Lutheran and Episcopal friends who sometimes cared more about the boys in their youth groups than actual learning. I grew up to be a scientist and was always analytical at heart. These ideas made it very hard for me to even believe in the existence of a higher being, let alone one that was powerful enough, or controlling enough, to dictate any facet of my life. I had known very little to suggest that there was an “unknown” out there controlling the universe: I found most things to be explainable by science, logic, or well thought out debate.

Then there are the people who have a great deal of faith, but have somehow lost it. The addicts who have slid so far into their addiction they can’t see a way out, and cannot believe their higher power has allowed them to fall so hard. The skeptic who has seen so much destruction and pain they can’t fathom how a higher power can allow humanity to struggle and lose and hurt so deeply. The devout who has seen their higher power abandon them: either through a loved one or themselves, and has somehow lost the trust. True believers in the concept of a higher power, who have somehow, someway, been taken off the path. Faith that a great power can restore you is hard to have when you’ve moved so off course.

Step 2 is all about finding that connection with some kind of power greater than ourselves: and allowing yourself to accept that it is the only thing that can save you from yourself. I see it in a way as blind faith: a concept I had some real trouble with. So we will work through it together. Remember, the steps build. First, we acknowledged that we were powerless to something in our lives, something potentially unmanageable. Now we are recognizing that we alone can not make ourselves whole again, but that a power greater than ourselves can restore us.

If you have some thoughts on this step, please share them. Who (or what…we’ll get into that) is your power greater than YOU? How do you believe in that power? How do you let yourself submit to restoration? How do you grow in your faith in that power to help define your existence? As always, this month will be filled with some reflection as we move through the steps and my own personal stories of surviving being the child of an alcoholic and how the steps helped me become a more self-aware, realized person.

-Joanie

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