Step Two

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


When I was growing up, my mother (z"l) used to say that she had "broad shoulders" and could be depended on any time, any place, any circumstance. She presented herself to me as invincible, and I believed. In effect, I thought she was God - and she frequently said so herself. I took on her attitudes and beliefs about everythign from sexual behavior, morality, religion, even relatives. Her enemy was my enemy, and I thought her friends were mine, too. Before I took any action, I asked myself, "What would mother do?" And then did it.

Because I was terrified of her being angry at me (which meant that I wasn't loved), I had to follow the house rule that said that I had to agree with everything she said and did and had no room for disappointment. If I disappointed, I was punished - sometimes physically - usually emotionally by being completely ignored. The problem was that the house motto could easily have been a paraphrase of the restaurant's logo: No rules, just *wrong.* I never knew what the rules were beyond being and doing what she thought I should be and do even though I never either what that was exactly or how to repair whatever damage I had done, even unwittingly. Disappointing could be as benign as asking her to stop bringing hundreds of dollars of food to our home after I got married (I caught hell for that) to as serious as lying about school grades (which got me beaten because she felt humiliated in front of the teacher).

If my mother was God, my older sister was a close second. I admired, copied and coveted everything she had, said and did, and I believed every opinion she held about me.

And if they were both godlike, then teachers, peers - anyone with a big mouth, a forceful personality and an air of authority and TRUTH - became my godlets.

I had no problem believing in a power greater than myself, but I was in serious anxiety when it was suggested that this power was *not* a person - and that this power was supposed to care about me and want me sane. God wasn't supposed to pull the carpet out from under me or demand sacrifices. This did not compute.

Oh, by the way, the "real" (i.e., Biblical) God? You had to be kidding. *That* God had let me down too often. I prayed and had been disappointed. I had bargained and "success" was - literally - a crap shoot. My religious upbringing didn't help because I was a 33 year old with a 13 year old's understanding of God.

Clearly I needed a new definition of a Higher Power. My sponsor suggested that coming to believe was literally "coming to," a process of awakening and awareness. I needed to look elsewhere for a concept of God and let go of my mother's face and voice, my sister, anyone with the TRUTH.

"Write a want ad for God." Fire my current god and put out a help-wanted sign. The first draft was a mess; it looked like my mother. Draft #2 was better: unconditionally loving, structured, disciplined, no-strings-attached availability, sweet, kind, gentle.

I freaked: this was not the god concept I remembered from religious school, the Bible or my parents. Did I need to convert? Yikes.

I found what I needed totally by chance (some would argue that this "chance" was God's way of telling me I was on the right track, but that's for another day): a book written by a co-religionist theologian that, meant for children, described my new-found understanding of God exactly as I did in my own religion's language.

Seeminly overnight I adopted my new God awareness. My path to coming to believe might have taken some twists and turns, but I eventually "came to." And that's when miracles started. I began sleeping through the night instead of frantically tossing and turning over some perceived screw up. I had a Power Greater than Myself who restored me to perspective and sanity. No bargaining or buying or placating was needed; God was there for the asking.

One unexpected side effect was my beginning to realize the damage I had done to all those women (and they *were* all women) whom I had labelled "God." I had canonized them and expected perfection which they, of course, couldn't provide. And I resented and hated them for their imperfection because if they weren't perfect, I must have been wrong and that wasn't acceptable.

Step 2 is where I began to move out of my self-imposed center of the universe, gladly and willingly.


1. Who, what, are/were your gods?

2. If you had/have other "gods," do you agree that you might have harmed/be harming these people by placing them on such a high pedastal?

3. Do/did you need to write a "want ad" for a Higher Power?

4. What are some of the qualities on your list?

5. Do you still have gods other than your Higher Power?

6. How is Step 2 a process? Is this a good thing or a bad thing?

7. What role does your religion play in your understanding of a Higher Power (please do not describe your religion or religious beliefs, rather just the overall role)?

8. What does/would it feel like to be restored to sanity?

9. Have you come or are you coming to believe in a Power Greater than Ourselves? What does that feel like?

10. Are there any other thoughts about Step 2 that you would like to share with the group?

Yours in Recovery,

Step One

Step Two

WTS Home
The Twelve Steps
Recovery Home

Copyright 2003 THE RECOVERY GROUP All rights reserved