12 Step Help: The Second Step

The 12 step program has helped many with addictions find a way to heal and recover. In this series, we’re providing 12 step help through insight on each statement that makes up the core of the program. In this post, we’re taking a closer look at the second step:

“We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could return us to sanity.”

Transitioning from the First to the Second Step

After we have taken that all-important first step, admitting that we are powerless over alcohol, we are ready for the next phase in our recovery. This involves a spiritual admission of sorts, to “believe that a power greater than ourselves could return us to sanity.” For those that don’t identify as being religious in any way, this statement can pose a bit of a roadblock—but it’s important to note that you’re not alone in this way of thinking. Many who have gone before us have despaired of or even became angry at the mere prospect of a higher power being able to help us through this most difficult and confusing of times. After all, how can God, or whatever name you choose to call it, accomplish what we have not been able to?

The Importance of an Open Mind

This may be the central point. Had we been able to conquer our alcoholism or addiction, there would be no need to seek for a solution outside of ourselves. There are many individuals of all faiths who have found the help they needed through the 12 step program. Atheists, agnostics, Christians, and people of all faiths are well-represented here. What they all have in common was the willingness to participate with an open mind, allow their faith to unfold in its own unique way.

Alcoholics Anonymous as an Alternative Higher Power

The concept of a higher power doesn’t have to be the stereotypical image of God. Instead, it could be viewed as the universe or your own personal higher power—or even the 12 step program itself. The latter, to some, makes a lot of sense when seen contextually. AA is a global group of people who have been able to solve their problems with alcoholism and addiction. If you can find faith in that larger group and their successes, it can serve as a gateway to a deeper understanding and an opening to recovery.

Mind over Matter?

For those who have lost their faith, rejected faith or turned their back on faith for any number of reasons, placing any hope in a higher power may still seem out of the realm of possibility. In these cases, self-sufficiency and mind-over-matter thinking has prevailed. Our egos told us that we were smart enough, strong enough and willful enough to overcome any problems, and humility had no place in this mindset. In reality, this self-righteous attitude feeds our disease, encouraging feelings of superiority over others, defiance over ideas we don’t want to accept, or outrage at outcomes we prayed not to become true. All of these things feed into our rejection of faith. They also feed our disease, forming the basis of a rage that will eventually lead us down a dark path.

What Most Divides Us Ultimately Brings Us Together

Spirituality, religion, faith in a higher power—we have established that these have very different and polarizing meanings for many of us. However, what sets us apart is the very thing that brings us together. As the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous states, “Step Two is a rallying point for all of us. True humility and an open mind can lead us to faith.” What this means is that no matter where we come from, no matter what our religious (or non-religious) background, and no matter what we choose as our “higher power,” we can hold each other up, knowing that we are all walking the same path with many of the same challenges.

Sober Living in Charleston, SC

If you are struggling to stay sober and motivated to succeed, a sober living home may be right for you. The Sanctuary Recovery Foundation provides sober living residences in the beautiful coastal region of Charleston, SC. We would love to talk to you about how we can help.