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Old 12-30-2014, 09:24 AM   #1
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Default Step Two

About Step 2

"Few indeed are the practicing alcoholics who have any idea how irrational they are, or seeing their irrationality, can bear to face it. Some will be willing to term themselves "problem drinkers," but cannot endure the suggestion that they are in fact mentally ill. They are abetted in this blindness by a world which does not understand the difference between sane drinking and alcoholism. "Sanity" is defined as "soundness of mind." Yet no alcoholic, soberly analyzing his destructive behavior, whether the destruction of the dining-room furniture or his own moral fiber, can claim "soundness of mind" for himself."
[Anonymous, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, AA World Services, 1953]

"For Christians in recovery, the absolute necessity of trusting God becomes painfully clear when we admit our powerlessness over addiction. Our innumerable attempts to restore ourselves to sanity have demonstrated conclusively that we are unable to save ourselves. Our only recourse is to trust the Higher Power to restore us to sanity. Steps One and Two acknowledge both our inability to save ourselves and our complete dependence on God to restore us. At Step Two our task is simply to trust God to heal us. In the next Step we act on that trust"
[Martin M. Davis, The Gospel and the Twelve Steps, RPI Publications, 1993]

"When I came to Step Two I realized that although I was a committed Christian and I really believed in God, my problem was that in some very important respects I was living a frantic, highly stressed existence as a Christian professional speaker and writer. I knew that something was not right: I was teaching about grace and freedom, on the one hand, and my life was anxious, stressful and overcommitted, on the other. But I was in denial and couldn't see how bizarre the contradiction was. People in this program have helped me to realize that anything I do or think that is destructive to me or to my relationships with other people or with God is a kind of insanity, expecially when I keep doing it month after month." .
[Keith Miller, A Hunger for Healing, Harper,1991]

Step 2: Related Biblical Themes

* Came to believe. To 'believe' is not just to affirm the truth of some abstract concept. To 'believe' in a biblical sense is to put trust in. In Step One we came to the end of trusting ourselves and in Step Two we make a first step to trust something or somebody other than ourselves. It is critically important to remember that God honors and responds to even the smallest first step of faith - even when it is mixed with uncertainty and disbelief. Remember Jesus' saying about the mustard seed? The mustard seed is one of the smallest of seeds, but Jesus said a mustard seed of faith could move mountains [Matt 17:20)! Most of us do not have a lot of faith or trust when we start working Step Two, only later do we realize that God can do a lot with the little we have.

"I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief!"
Mark 9:24

* A power greater than ourselves. This Step introduces the first and most fundamental spiritual truth: there is a God and it's not me. If in Step One we really came to the end of our own attempts to control the problem, then in Step Two we can begin to look outside of ourselves for assistance. The fact that God is 'not ourselves' is a foundational Christian conviction.

Remember Jesus' story about the Prodigal Son? The prodigal came to believe that he needed a Power greater than his own. Exactly what he expected this 'Power' to be like was very misguided. He expected his father to disown him and treat him like a servant! Even though he did not understand his father's love or his father's character, his faith was enough to get him on the road to recovery. This is exactly the kind of faith which is enough for Step Two. It need not be a theologically informed faith. It just needs to be enough to get us out of the 'pig pens' in the 'far county' and heading back to a Power greater than ourselves. There will be lots to learn later about the character and grace-full-ness of God.

Some Christians fault the language of this Step for not providing much information about the 'Power which is greater than ourselves.' Some replace this language with expressions like "came to believe that God through Jesus Christ could restore us to sanity." Adding Christological content to this Step may make it more easily understood by some Christians but it may also make it less understandable to people who are just beginning the spiritual journey. Such language may also communicate that we need to have more faith than we actually need at this Step. We do well to remember that the Twelve Steps are a spiritual kindergarten - a beginning. Step Two honors the smallest baby step of faith. Experience in the program suggests that God is prepared to honor such faith.

* Restore us.
This Step is sometimes called the "hope step" because it first introduces the possibility of restoration. Restoration is a powerful biblical metaphor for healing. It may be the last thing we expect God to do at this stage of things. It is much more common at this stage of recovery to expect God to be angry, rejecting, hostile, abusive, judgmental, or shaming. Fortunately the Bible is very clear about the character of God. God loves us and longs to set us free from the things which have kept us in bondage. The Psalmist said it well:

"They cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He brought them out of darkness and the deepest gloom and broke away their chains. Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men, for he breaks down gates of bronze and cuts through bars of iron."
Psalm 107:13-16

* to sanity.
Some people find it helpful to define insanity as "continuing do to the same thing but expecting a different result." If, however, when you hear the expression "restore to sanity" all you can think about is "I am mentally ill" and this is a hindrance to working this Step, try to see past the language here. The core of Step Two is coming to believe in the possibility of restoration. It is possible for things to be better, to be made right, to be whole again, to be healed. For most of us the real insanity of the addictive process only becomes fully clear after we have a little sobriety. Focus on the possibility of restoration - there is hope! You may not know right now how it will happen or what it will look like. It is enough now to recognize that you can't do it but that a Power greater than you could!
"No matter what you have done up to this moment, you get 24 brand-new hours to spend every single day." --Brian Tracy
AA gives us an opportunity to recreate ourselves, with God's help, one day at a time. --Rufus K.
When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on. --Franklin D. Roosevelt
We stay sober and clean together - one day at a time!
God says that each of us is worth loving.
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