What Is Step 2? "Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity."
What Is the Purpose of the Second Step?
This step gives you hope. You are not alone, and something greater than you can help you conquer your addiction and despair.
How Do You Complete This Step?
The second step is about having an open mind. As the previous step was about letting go of pride, this step is about letting go of preconceived notions about what AA is and how it works, and making room for change.
No matter what you believe in, this is the step in which you become open to the idea that faith in a higher power will help you achieve soundness of mind. The Alcoholics Anonymous "Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions" book states:
Step 2 is the rallying point for us all. Whether agnostic, atheist, or former believer, we stand together on this Step.1
What Are Some Tips for Completing Step 2?
- Keep an open mind. Set yourself up for success. Be open to the idea of looking outside yourself for help and support, and you'll be able to better conceive of the idea of recovery.
- Maintain humility. Accept that you can't conquer your addiction alone.
What Are Some Myths About This Step?
- Your higher power has to be God. This is a big misconception about Alcoholics Anonymous. Your higher power can be anything that you believe in: the universe, nature, Buddha, music, love, Allah, humanity or even AA itself. AA doesn't require you to believe in anything that you don't want to; each step is a suggestion along the road to a sober life.
1. Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. (1981). New York: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services. Available at: www.aa.org/assets/en_US/en_step2.pdf
Perspectives on Step 2
By Dominica A.
Once I came to terms with Step 1 and reaching out for help, I naturally progressed to Step 2.
Some of my thought patterns and behaviors were certainly insane, and I welcomed the opportunity for SOMEONE OR SOMETHING to help restore my sanity!
For me, insanity in terms of addiction means doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. That is exactly what I kept doing when it came to my addictions, so yes, I was acting in an insane manner.
What Does Higher Power Mean?
Now this step tripped me up a little because when I entered recovery, I wasn't so sure about the "God" thing, and I thought that's what "Higher Power" meant.
I learned that a power greater than myself can be many things, such as my recovery program, meditation, nature, recovering alcoholics, etc.
At that time, I needed help, as my emotional state was a hot mess. In fact, early on in my recovery, my sponsor was a power greater than myself and really helped me restore my sanity.
In addition, people may refer to this Higher Power as things such as Creative Intelligence, Universal Power, Infinite Mind, Source, Spirit, and so on. AA literature uses the term "God" more so out of convenience rather than religious reasons, so if you're raising your eyebrows at AA due to a distaste for religion, you may let go of that.
This step is applicable to people of all faiths and beliefs, as it offers hope that you really can be restored to sanity by whatever your Higher Power is.
The Hope Step
I think of Step 2 as the "hope" step, because it gave me hope that I wouldn't continue to feel so alone, miserable and in pain. Once I drew a line in the sand on drinking and addictive behaviors, I had hope that I could face life on life's terms and all would be well.
I didn't have to drink to escape. I didn't have to stay stuck in the same insane cycle, and my old patterns could be turned into new, positive ones.
Step 2 helps me see that I'm not left to "recover" on my own; that there is a power greater than myself. My own conception of that power was all I needed to get positive momentum going.
When I find myself thinking of acting out on addiction, I remind myself that help is available. I remind myself of times when a power greater than myself helped me get through something—whether it was a friend who loved me unconditionally or the times I didn't drink when I really wanted to.
Step 2 can give us hope of living a life full of freedom, peace, and joy. We can be restored in so many ways and grow and experience life in ways we thought we never could—and that's pretty exciting.
Dominica A. has a love for the 12 steps, as working through them several times has helped her steer clear of addictions and grow personally and spiritually.
She is committed to living out the 12-step philosophy and sharing the message of hope to those still suffering in addiction—and to those in recovery as well.
Dominica has attended both Alcoholics Anonymous and Codependents Anonymous meetings over the years and appreciates the support she's received. She's got a deep-rooted passion for helping others heal emotional pain and trauma, as her own journey through love addiction has served as a catalyst for her own healing and transformation.