Step 2 of the Twelve Step Programme

Step Two – “Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity”

Many people struggle with Step Two, thinking that it is all about a religious God and religion. It is not.
If you have completed step one, then by now you will have a full understanding of your powerlessness. This can best be demonstrated by the fact that once we start drinking or using, we cannot stop. We will also have tried many times to control our drinking or using, but failed. So if we are powerless, then what we need is power. And given that we do not have the power, we need to depend on the power of something else to help us. We call it a ‘power greater than ourselves’ or a ‘Higher Power’.

Higher Power

Step Two refers to a ‘Higher Power’. This does not have to be any sort of religious God. It can be anything you choose it to be.
The original Alcoholics Anonymous Book (still in use unchanged today) explains how even in 1930s America, in the Bible Belt, when the concept of the only way to recover from alcoholism was through a spiritual experience, around half the people suffering from alcoholism rejected the option.

However, the book says that we do not need to have any religious or spiritual beliefs. All we need to have is a sufficiently open mind to believe that the programme can work. The evidence is all around you in the examples of hundreds of thousands of alcoholics and addicts who no longer drink and use and who are happy in recovery. And apart from this, all you need to do to recover is have the real desire to do so and be willing to go to any lengths to do so. We need to be willing, honest and open minded. Not intolerant or in belligerent denial. If we can be open minded to ‘the sunlight of the spirit’ then we are half way there.

It does not matter what other people’s concept of God or a Higher Power is.

We only have to have our own.

Getting your head around spirituality and Step Two.

When people query their own spirituality, I explain we all have an inner spirit and it is there from the moment we draw our first breath. Ask anyone who has witnessed the birth of a baby. A baby is born with its very own personality. If you are fortunate enough to have been present at the birth of more than one, you see the difference in each one. It is truly amazing how those first characteristics displayed at birth set the nature of our personality for life.

Find some hope.

So we all have an inner spirit but it is too easy to become self centred and spiritually ‘depleted’. Feeling that life is hopeless and we are in a black hole. But look around you – at nature, the universe. Does that not indicate that there are things that work outside the power of humanity? If we sit still with ourselves for 15 minutes each day and just open up our mind, amazing things can happen. Or on the opposite side of the coin – we have all been in a desperate fix and said ‘God help me’ – even if we purport not to believe in God. We are looking for help outside ourselves.

We do not have to understand a Higher Power with our mind (just as we do not have an accurate concept of infinity). But we have to be willing to accept the concept in our heart. Try it – what is there to lose?

See the overview of the complete 12 step rehabilitation programme

Step 2 of the Twelve Step Programme