1. Read Step Two out of the basic text every day before writing.
2. Read Step Two out of “It Works, How and Why”.
3. Write down YOUR definition of each word in this step.
4. Look up each word individually in the dictionary and write down what you found (if any) to be the difference between YOUR definition and THE DICTIONARY’S definition.
5. Write about what each of the following phrases mean to you:
• We came…
• To beleive…
• That a power…
• Greater than ourselves…
• Could restore us to sanity…
1. What is the principal of Step Two?
2. Write about what your “Power Greater than Yourself” is and why.
3. Every day write on events that relate to “making the same mistake and expecting different results”
4. Write on event that a Power Greater than Yourself participated in your life.
The insanity referred to in this Step is not the insanity of using drugs and alcohol. We were restored to the sanity of being “drug-free” back in Step One. We now find ourselves clean and sober, but our lives are still unmanageable in many area’s. Much of that unmanageability comes from doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results each time. Of course the results were always the same; unmanageability and insanity in our lives. There is nothing left to do except either go on the best we can, or change with the Second Step as our guide throughout our recovery.
The next question we begin to ask is, “What is a Power Greater Than Ourselves?”. Many of us immediately thought this meant our Higher Power, however we are not introduced to a “Higher Power” until Step Three. In the Third Step our Higher Power is the ultimate power greater than ourselves (whatever our concept of a Higher Power is; it can be the NA program, a sponsor, another person, something we read, even pain will serve as a power greater than yourself. It is anything that makes us aware of the insanity of a situation where we act out on a character defect or negative will.
Now we have an understanding of the Second Step. Lets take a look at some of the ways that we can apply it in our lives:
1. The first way we applied this Step was when we realized that NA became a power greater than ourselves. It helps us through early problems without using drugs or alcohol, and teaches us healthier ways of doing things.
2. Something someone may share with us can become a power greater than ourselves if it makes us aware of something we are doing wrong, and so we can change it.
3. Pain may, at times, become a power greater than ourselves. Sometimes it is the only thing that will makes us do something in a different way to get sane results.
4. A sponsor, or some other recovering addict, can become a power greater than ourselves by making us aware of the way we are doing things.
You can see now how a power greater than yourself can change from situation to situation. The important thing is to be aware of how to apply this principle in your life so that insanity and unmanageability do not take hold. The principle of the Step can be a power greater than ourselves in itself!
Write about the following questions on a separate sheet of paper and return it with your stepwork.
1. What is a Power Greater than Yourself?
2. What type of sanity is Step Two referring to?
3. How can I apply this Step in my life?
4. What does this Step mean to me?
5. What spiritual awakening did you have as a result of this Step?
“Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity”
Accepting powerlessness leads us naturally into Step Two. By this time, we have discovered the impact of being submerged in our addictions. Our present condition is a result of the many decisions we made to survive in that chaotic environment. We are now faced with behavior that produces unmanageable situations, over which we are powerless. For some of us, belief in the strength of our self-will was all we thought we needed, until, in Step One, we realized the true state of our ineffective behavior. As we accept the idea of a Power greater than ourselves, we begin to function in a healthier way, and our lives become more manageable. We recognize that we are just human beings, learning to live within our human limitations.
Step Two is referred to as the “Hope Step”. It is the starting point from which we begin our journey toward a more spiritual view of life. In Step One, when we recognized our condition, we felt hopeless and beaten. Step Two instills new hope, as we see that help is available, if we simply take the risk to believe and trust in a Power greater than ourselves. If we follow the guidance of that power, we no longer need to struggle. We now have a chance to dramatically decrease our old patterns of behavior, and gradually become the persons we were meant to be. Step Two provides the foundation for the spiritual development that will help us achieve a greater sense of personal fulfillment.
As newcomers, we often encounter stumbling blocks when working on this step. One obstacle is the difficulty we have in believing that a Power greater than ourselves exists. Although, we my be aware of many examples in which “faith as small as a mustard seed” has worked wonders in the lives of others, we doubt it could apply to us. If doubt persists, we could be resisting the idea of a higher Powers healing presence. We may find it impossible to imagine that, through “believing”, the intensity of our compulsions and obsessions could decrease. In time, our faith grows, as we recognize that even the most devout, spiritually grounded persons suffer moments of doubt.
Another problem posed by Step Two is the implications that disorder and ineffective behavior permeates our lives. Having recognized that our lives are unmanageable, we now know the we need new direction. These are powerful issues for us; they can be frightening when we face them for the first time. For many of us, they are definite contradictions of our former beliefs about our lives and ourselves.
Before entering the program, many of us strongly resisted spiritual concepts and beliefs. We neither understood spirituality, nor felt it had anything to offer us. Perhaps we felt that our prayers were always left unanswered. Our faith in a Higher Power may have been shattered by our belief that, if God exists, it is not a loving God. Often, our low self-esteem created the feeling that we were not worthy of the attention, or care, of a Higher Power, or that it could even exist.
In Step One, we established a foundation for accepting the existence of a higher power. Having admitted our powerlessness, we realize how self-will has impacted our lives. The discovery and acceptance of a Power Greater than ourselves is the beginning of our turning away from our self-will. Through working the steps, we can experience a growing trust in our Higher Power.
Many people have found that ”coming to believe” is a natural result of attending meetings on a regular basis. Through working the Program, it becomes evident that something dynamic is happening. If we are willing to keep an open mind and recognize the successes that others enjoy, we can expect that, in time, it will also happen for us.
When we encounter our ineffective behavior, and can surrender to the Twelve Step process, the existence of a Higher Power becomes very real to us. We shift our attention from wanting to alter our behavior, to understanding that life is a process of evolutionary change. This shift of focus attests to the presence of a Higher Power – assisting, empowering, and enabling us to accomplish what we could not have accomplished under our own power.
During the initial stages of accepting the presence of a Higher Power, it is sometimes helpful to be consciously aware of the special occurrences around us. We can view coincidences in our lives as small miracles, gifts, or simply interventions of our Higher Power. By taking time to thank our Higher Power for simple things like “providing food and shelter for us, when we needed it the most” or “receiving a call from someone that we were just thinking about”, we learn to accept a Higher Power. Our willingness to express gratitude to this Power assists us as we “come to believe”.
Step Two does not demand that we accept the definition of God, as presented by various religious organizations, or specific denominations. In fact, our belief may come from simply experiencing the strength of the Higher Power in the loving kindness of a friend, the loyalty of a partner, the comfort and help we receive from a person in the Program, or even the Program itself.
Belief in a Power greater than ourselves is central to becoming the happy, positive, and loving persons that we were truly meant to be. Our old, self-centered way has possibly led us to the depths of despair and loneliness, causing us to become detached from others and ourselves. We discover that our analytical mind, with its fears, judgments, expectations, and plans, cannot solve our problems. The more we try to resolve them, the more difficult they become.
Step Two helps us to see that our lives can be restored to wholeness. In the context of the Program, wholeness is defined as “being in sound health, not diseased o injured, not broken, damaged or defective”. In this sense, we can see that aspects of our behavior are out of order. We may blame everyone and everything for our condition, instead of taking responsibility for our own behavior problems. If this is our first exposure to step work, we may be totally unaware of the extent of our condition.
Some characteristics of our society do not foster or encourage healthy behavior. We are taught from childhood to do is what’s right. Without adequate moral training, we are expected to know the difference between right and wrong, but based on some of our role models, the messages were confusing and unclear. As adults, we are expected to behave responsibly, and to manage our own lives competently; but in reality, we cannot do so. Frequently, our mistakes are a direct result of the distorted understanding of right and wrong, some of which we acquired in childhood. When we accept this, we are truly ready to admit that our behavior is ineffective in many areas.
Coming to believe in a Higher Power, and admitting we behave in a destructive manner, requires a great deal of humility. Our precious lack of humility contributed greatly to our past ineffectiveness. As we work toward a more balanced lifestyle, we see the importance of humility in all of our affairs. Our growth is considerably enhanced by our willingness to humble, and accept our humanness. As we attend meetings and work the Steps, we discover the peace and serenity, possible only through surrendering our self-will, and humbly seeking to improve the quality of our lives.