Step Two

Came to believe
that a Power greater than ourselves
could restore us to sanity.




STEP TWO, PART 4

Hi friends.

My name is Shlomo and I am a compulsive overeater and food addict. In this post we return to the "Believing in a Power greater than ourselves" business.

To me this Power was God of my understanding, and my understanding was that I don't want anything to do with such a God. This God was responsible for all my troubles, and all the troubles in this world. This God never helped me in the past, and never answered my prayers. So why should he help me now? I preferred to avoid such a God and could not believe that God will do anything for me. If he does not save innocent babies from being murdered, or dying, or suffering, why should he save me from my troubles?

It took me quite some time to realize that it was my concept of God, and my ideas about how this world should be run that were wrong. I was even wrong about what I had to do in step 2, since I confused between belief and faith.

So here are some definitions:

Believe: To suspect that something is true, or accept that possibility.

Faith: Confidence, sureness, reliance, trust.

Step 2 does not ask me to have faith in God, or to trust God, or be sure that God will help me. It asks only to give this concept of a helping God a chance. It is only after I work the whole program and recover, that I am sure that God has helped me. It is only then that I have faith. It is not something demanded of me. It is something that develops as a result of experiencing this helping God in my life. I didn't have any experience of a benevolent helping God before working the program, so how could I have faith in God? All I am asked to do is give this concept a chance. I can be suspicious and doubting as much as I want, but I have to be willing to give it a chance.

Maybe my concept of a cruel God is right, and maybe not; the Big Book asks me to give God the benefit of the doubt and be willing to believe. I don't even have to try to understand or define to myself what this Power greater than myself is. I don't even know if we can really understand God.

"We found that as soon as we were able to lay aside prejudice and express even a willingness to believe in a Power greater than ourselves, we commenced to get results, even though it was impossible for any of us to fully define or comprehend that Power, which is God." BB page 46. The Big Book tells us that it is impossible to define God. We have to stop trying to comprehend God with our mind and start accepting God with our hearts. On page 47, they write:

"When therefore, we speak to you of God we mean your own conception of God. This applies too, to other spiritual expressions which you find in this book. Do not let any prejudice you may have against spiritual terms deter you from honestly asking yourself what they mean to you. At the start this was all we needed to commence spiritual growth, to effect our first conscious relation with God as we understood Him. Afterwards we found ourselves accepting many things which then seemed entirely out of reach. That was growth, but if we wished to grow we had to begin somewhere. So we used our own conception, however limited it was." page 47.

I didn't use my own conception of God since it was of no use to me. All I could do was say: Show me, prove to me that I am wrong, or at least tell me why I should give this Power greater than myself a chance.

The Big Book answered that in the following:

"To be doomed to a death by compulsive eating or to live on a spiritual basis are not always easy alternatives to face..." page 44.

But for me they are the only alternatives since I have already tried everything else. So what can I lose by giving it a try? I gain recovery if it works and I lose nothing if it doesn't. I can always return to my concept of a cruel God.

Let me consider this point also from another angle.

If your doctor told you that in order to recover from a fatal illness you have to paint your face green and walk around like that for a few months would you have done it? I would. Because if this was the only way to recover I wouldn't have much choice in the matter. The same is true for this God business. If I don't try it I am doomed, so why not try? What have I got to lose except my obsession with food? In the worst case I will just remain with my disease.

Another reason to give this Power a chance was the following:

"Here are thousands of men and women, worldly indeed. They flatly declare that since they have come to believe in a Power greater than themselves, to take a certain attitude toward this Power, and to do certain simple things (work the steps), there has been a revolutionary change in their way of living and thinking (they had a spiritual experience). In the face of collapse and despair, in the face of the total failure of their human resources, they found that a new power, peace, happiness, and a sense of direction flowed into them. This happened soon after they whole- heartedly met a few simple requirements [the steps]." page 50.

So the people in recovery are the great convincer. When I see what they have got and I hear them telling me that it all began with believing in a Power greater than themselves that will solve their problem, I also wanted to give it a try. Even though I was very doubtful, I wanted what the recovering people had, and the way to get recovery was to do what they did in order to recover.

So I reluctantly put my concept of a cruel God aside for the time being and asked: "Ok but were do I find this Power, do I have to join a certain religion or cult or ashram? Do I have to accept somebody's concept of this power?"

The answer was simple and new to me.

"Actually, we were fooling ourselves, for deep down in every man, woman, and child, is the fundamental idea of God. It may be obscured by calamity, by pomp, by worship of other things, but in some form or other it is there. For faith in a Power greater ourselves, and miraculous demonstrations of that power in human lives, are facts as old as man himself."

"We finally saw that faith in some kind of God was a part of our makeup, just as much as the feeling we have for a friend. Sometimes we had to search fearlessly, but He was there. He was as much a fact as we were. We found the Great Reality deep down within us. In the last analysis it is only there that He may be found. It was so with us." page 55.

So all I have to do is search for God deep inside me, in my heart, and I will find him. I don't have to join anything, I don't have to accept the beliefs of others. All I have to do is connect to this Power deep within me?

Do I know how to do that? No. But the steps pave the way to doing just that. The twelve step program is designed to help me meet my Higher Power by removing the obstacles that obstruct me from him. All I have to do is live the steps. Understanding all that, convinced me to take a chance on this program and on this Power greater than myself.

So what did I have to do to take step 2?

The Big Book tells us in theses words:

"We needed to ask ourselves but one short question. 'Do I now believe, or am I even willing to believe, that there is a Power greater than myself?' As soon as a man can say that he does believe, or is willing to believe, we emphatically assure him that he is on his way. It has been repeatedly proven among us that upon this simple cornerstone a wonderfully effective spiritual structure can be built." page 47.

So I took step 2.

You may still be curious and ask, "But what about your concept of God? How did it change?"

Well, it did change and evolve. Today I have faith and trust in God who helped me reach recovery, and is helping me every day.

"But what about suffering innocent children," you may ask.

I don't think the Big Book answers that question, since there is no "one answer that will satisfy everyone." But I have my answer and am willing to share it with you. This does not mean that you have to accept it, but you are welcome to borrow it or adopt it.

Today my God is a spiritual incorporeal power that has only my highest good in his heart and is the embodiment of love, kindness, mercy, and forgiveness. My personal explanation about terrible things happening in this world is that God is not involved in all the injustices and atrocities or calamities in this world. We are the ones involved in them. We have the power to choose between right and wrong, between killing and causing misery, and between hurting or healing and giving love.

There are spiritual laws as well as physical laws. When we follow them we are happy joyous and free, and when we abuse them we are in misery and cause misery to others. Giving us the power to choose is an act of love by God, and he will never take it away, or interfere in a way that will nullify that choosing power.

God sends us loving energy and knowledge all the time, so we can gain insight and behave according to our innate nature which is the same as God's. When we connect to that entity and open ourselves to him, we realize that we are eternal spiritual beings using this body for a short period of time, playing a part in a world drama, but we are not our body. We can never die since we are eternal incorporeal souls, and as souls we can never be harmed. When we become aware of it, we become the embodiment of love and compassion and help others to see the truth about themselves. It took me a lot of work and contemplation to arrive at this idea of God.

Here is another proof of the way my God works. I received an e-mail today about how 4-8 year old children share their idea of love. One of the sayings impressed me deeply. I want first to say that I am not a Christian and I am not religious.

So here is what that kid said.

"God could have said magic words to make the nails fall off the cross, but He didn't. That's love."

It took me a lot of years of misery before joining program and a lot of work in program to understand, feel and accept what this kid knows at his tender age. As they say: From the mouth of babes.


INTO ACTION AND SHARING SUGGESTIONS:

Answer the following questions.

1. Do I now believe, or am I even willing to believe, that there is a Power greater than myself? page 47

2. Are you convinced of the following, page 60:

"(b) That probably no human power could have relieved your compulsive eating. "(c) That God could and would if God were sought."

IF YOU ANSWERED YES TO ALL THESE QUESTIONS YOU HAVE TAKEN STEP 2.

CONGRATULATIONS!!!!

3. Try to use imagination or creative visualization, and imagine (fantasize) a benevolent incorporeal God or Highest power or whatever name you want to give it. Imagine that this power can remove your insanity and restore you to sanity. All you have to do is imagine or fantasize that picture. Give that Power a job description. What are the qualities you want that Power to have? You are free to choose.

Write all of this down.

Personally I chose a benevolent all loving power that was never malevolent or punishing, no matter what I did.

Imagine that this Power exists.

Now all you have to do is just talk daily to this Power. Tell this Power your troubles and ask for help. Treat this Power as you best and most loving friend. Do it at least two times a day, morning and evening. If you can do it more times a day than do it.

This beginning of communications with H.P. will start you on your recovery route. You don't have to believe in it. Just to do it. All I can say is that once I began to talk on a daily basis to an invisible God that I was sure was not there, it saved my life and started my recovery process.

4. Share about getting in touch with H.P. on a daily basis. If you don't do it, than begin to do it, and please share with us about it. How you do it, when you do it, how it feels, and how it helps you in your life.

5. Taking Step Two also means that I came to believe that there is a God and it is not I. Therefore I should stop trying to run other people's lives and tell them what to do or try to control them, and that includes my family and friends.

Try to manage to do that on a daily basis, and share with us about it.

Have a nice day, and see you in step 3.
Shlomo




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