Step Two

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

Leader's Share and Step Questions

Hi, friends. My name is Penny, and I am a compulsive eater and leader of this quarter's WTS step study. Thank you for this honor.

As we move to Step 2, Please read Step 2 in the OA 12&12 and the chapter “We Agnostics” in the AA Big Book. As we did in Step 1, underline any passages that speak to you.

Once again, I am indebted to my current sponsor, Rachel S., for her wisdom and guidance. If you are not working the steps with a sponsor, please find a sponsor. You can find a sponsor at your face-to-face or phone or online meeting; there are sponsors available through WTS.

Step 2: Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

How’d we get from “unmanageable” lives to “insanity?” And where’d the food stuff go, you know, the reason I came into OA in the first place? As it happens, food becomes just one aspect of the craziness of my life.

I’ve heard that one definition of insanity is “repeatedly doing the same thing, expecting different results.” I like this metaphor: throwing money into the soda or snack-food machine even though I know either there aren’t any items left or the machine is broken.

My late mother’s conversation starter tag line was, “So – everything under control?” I took her literally. I learned from an early age that I should be able to control people by manipulating them, the future by doing or saying some special incantations, and my life in general by using something called will power. Of course I failed at all these things: people didn’t do what I wanted, the future was not at all responsive to my worrying or prayers, and I had no will power, especially when it came to food. I prayed for people to be healthy; and they got ill or worse. I said the right things at the right times to the right people; and they went off and did what they wanted to do, even at my expense. “This time it (pick your definition of “it”) will be different;” except it wasn’t. And I kept on jabbing the square peg into the round hole, wondering how come it never fit.

So, “insanity” was a very good description of my life.

But a “Power greater than ourselves?” That was a conversation ender.

I did not want to give up the idea of personal power, even in the face of evidence that my way wasn’t working. I also struggled with the idea of a “power greater than myself.” I thought I was being told that this would be a deity that was not part of my religious faith, and I was sure that the OA’s in my group were trying to proselytize. My understanding of God – as I was calling this power – was not to be trusted: God was someone I bargained with, someone who pulled the rug out from under me, vindictive, out to get me, a Santa-Clause type figure (a friend gave me that image) who would leave coal in my stocking rather than lovingly give me gifts. In effect, the God concept I was carrying around was not a God who would restore me to sanity even if S/He could.

My then-sponsor taught me that Step 2 doesn't mention God, it just says, a power greater than ourselves. It can be any power, the universe, whatever works for you, even if you don't know what you believe in. This was extremely helpful, especially considering that I was inventing my own definition of this power.

She suggested something unique: write a want ad for a higher power. I did – yes, it was a bit “Mary Poppins-esque” – and came up with a definition of a higher power I could live with.

I took comfort at the time that we are not asked to believe right now, although some of us have a faith when we arrive at OA. No, we are asked to "come to believe,” a gradual dawning, a slow awakening of belief, trust, faith. This step doesn’t ask how we would do this, only if we could come to believe it was possible.

  1. What’s your definition of insanity?
  2. Can you describe the insanity of your life in areas other than food?
  3. Do you feel you need to be restored to sanity?
  4. What are your thoughts on a Power greater than ourselves?
  5. Do you think you could come to believe that a Higher Power could restore you to sanity?

Please answer the question as honestly as you can. Please be sure you have a sponsor. Please keep coming back because without you, I don’t have a “we.”

Penny K

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