Step Two - Keep an Open Mind

Now that you and your sponsor have agreed you have thoroughly worked your first step and fully conceded to your innermost self you are an alcoholic whose life is unmanageable, it is time to move on to step two. Step two, “Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity”, is our first entry into the spiritual aspect of the twelve steps of recovery. There are those who recoil from any sort of reference to a God or Higher Power, but often this reticence is predicated on a misconception concerning spirituality versus religion. Let’s look at what is really being asked of you in the second step, and how you can best approach this foray into spirituality.

If you look carefully at the language of the second step, it becomes clear that the founders of AA left enough room for everyone to complete this phase of the process without getting hung up on the spiritual piece of the program. Step two instructs us that we “came to believe” rather than that we “believe”, and this is an important distinction. You are not being asked to immediately and completely accept the existence of a higher power, only that you are willing to accept the possibility that there exists a power greater than yourself. There is also no predetermined definition or assigned character traits to a higher power - everyone in the rooms of twelve step recovery has their own concept of a power greater than themselves. You are free to define your own higher power concept, and are only being asked to leave room for yourself to come to believe in this God concept.

How, then, should you approach step two with your sponsor? Many sponsors will have their sponsees write out a list of characteristics and values their higher power possesses in order to better conceptualize a God of their understanding. Just as important as establishing some specifics regarding your higher power is your remaining open to the idea that this higher power exists and is working in your life. You need not believe fully right away, but neither should your mind be closed to spirituality. Talk to your sponsor about any struggles you are having when it comes to your ability to accept the existence of a power greater than yourself, and be sure not to move on to step three until you have successfully accepted the possibility of the existence of a higher power specific to you.

Step two is the beginning of your transformation into a spiritual being as part of your recovery from substance abuse. Spirituality is a crucial part of anyone’s recovery program, as we are unable to relieve ourselves of our obsession with our drug of choice. Only a higher power can restore us to sanity, so it is important you keep an open mind and remain willing to accept the existence of a God specific to you, working in your life. If you are struggling with the spiritual component of the twelve steps of recovery, talk to some of your peers in the rooms and draw strength and hope from their faith in a higher power. Where there is a will there's a way, so as long as you remain willing you can succeed in working the second step and achieving lasting sobriety!