This month Ashley will focus on Step Two of the Twelve-Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. When tackling Step Two it is helpful to sync it up with Step One, as the two are intrinsically linked:
Step One: We admitted we were powerless over alcohol and that our lives had become unmanageable.
Step Two: Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
In the prior blog about Step One, we discussed how critical it is to arrive at the juncture when you can no longer deny the disease has taken hold of your life. As a result of that, life had become unmanageable. The disease was wreaking havoc in all areas of life.
In Step Two there is amazing depth integrated into that short 14-word sentence. Step Two is basically a spiritual step. That is not to say it has anything to do with religion, though. By “spiritual,” Alcoholics Anonymous is addressing the inherent need we all have to be inspired by something or someone larger than ourselves. It’s about something to believe in; something that can work wonders in our lives to help right the ship.
To work this step means asking some hard questions. A Step Two worksheet provides these sample questions, among several others:
- What does the phrase came to believe mean to me? What do I believe in?
- What are my negative thoughts, feelings, attitudes or beliefs that block my spirituality?
- What are my grievances against a higher power?
- How have I sought help from a higher power today
Step Two involves many important elements. How does one “come to believe” that they really can change, that they can be restored to wellness? Are we willing to believe we can get better? And what exactly is meant by the word “sanity”? How have our past actions kept our life out of balance or impeded our ability to think straight?
By parsing this 14-word Step, one chunk at a time, you will hopefully have a similar experience to Ashley Alumni Coordinator, Louis M. He leaned on the guidance of a sponsor to work his way through:
“The second step seemed, in my mind, way out of my league. I did not grow up in a religious or spiritual family and did not adopt any of it along the way either. A concept of a Higher Power seemed vague and hard to understand, so having a sponsor here was paramount.
I was honest with my sponsor on my feelings about this step, and we talked through it. He helped me understand that I did not have to be all-in on this concept overnight. Believing that I was not God, and using my sponsor’s Higher Power as my own, really helped me grow spiritually.” ~Louis M.
Alcoholics Anonymous’ Take on Step Two
Alcoholics Anonymous is not affiliated with any particular religious organization. In fact, A.A. makes it clear that your god can be whoever you want it to be. In the Big Book on page 29 it states, “We think it no concern of ours what religious bodies our members identify themselves with as individuals. This should be an entirely personal affair, which each one decides for himself in the light of past associations, or his present choice. Not all of us join religious bodies, but most of us favor such membership.”
The Value of the Twelve-Step Program
The beauty of the Twelve-Step Program is that each person can adapt it to his or herself, personalizing the program to suit their unique needs and beliefs. Also, the steps can be completed at your own speed. There is no pressure to complete a step in a particular time frame, which allows the time needed to absorb each step, reflect, and make the incremental changes in attitudes and behaviors.
In summary, working the Twelve Steps can lead to fundamental shifts in how you live your life and relate to others. These changes are what reinforce sobriety over the long-term, ultimately leading to a sustained and successful recovery.
Ashley Addiction Treatment, formerly Father Martin’s Ashley, is a nationally recognized nonprofit leader in integrated, evidence-based treatment for substance use disorders and is accredited by The Joint Commission. We offer both inpatient and outpatient programs, holistic addiction treatment, drug detox, relapse prevention plans, family wellness programs and a variety of other services tailored to each patient’s needs. Our driving principle — “everything for recovery” — reinforces our mission to heal each individual with respect and dignity, and reflects on our ongoing commitment to meet new challenges. For information about our comprehensive programs, please call (866) 313-6307.