STEP TWO ~ INTRODUCTION
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
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
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
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
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,
The Twelve Steps
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