Step Two

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

Leader's Share and Step Questions

Hi everyone.

My name is Shlomo I am a compulsive overeater and leader of this workshop.

Before we delve into step two let me go over my understanding of some of the basic principles underlying the twelve step program.

1. the program is spiritual and not religious.

Let us have a look at what characterizes a religion. It defines the Exact God I have to believe in. It has special scriptures in which God's words and commands are written by God or by His representatives.. It has religious institutions It has Gods representatives like priests ministers rabbis monks etc... who work and get paid by the religious institutions It has special prayer books for the specific religion.

Now let us see what characterizes the spiritual nature of the twelve step program The concept of God: Big Book page 12 " Why don't you choose your own conception of God? page 47 "When therefore we speak to you of God we mean your own conception of God. This applies too, to other spiritual expressions ( Spirit of the Universe,Great reality, Power Greater than ourselves, H. P. ) that you find in this book." Unlike a religion we can choose any concept that suits us as long as it is loving and is not us or another person. So why is the word God used in the steps?. It is used as a short convenient generic term and is suitable as any other term we want to use.

Scriptures: We don't have scriptures . We have text books and other books written by people. Not by God or by his religious representatives .

Religious persons of any religion can choose the Power greater than Themselves as the God of their religion, if this is what works for them. Non religious and religious persons too, can choose any concept of a Power Greater than themselves that is suitable for them Atheists who don't believe in the existence of a God can also choose any Power greater than themselves that suits them. One may even choose the group who meets for the purpose of recovery by working the 12 steps and 12 traditions as a Power greater than himself. Therefore our program is all-inclusive whereas, religion is exclusive, only for those who belong to that religion The Book also tells me that the connection to the source of a Power Greater than myself can be found deep down within myself. page 55 "We found the Great Reality deep down withing us. In the last analysis It is only there that He may be found. It was so with us" Therefore there is no need for go between's or religious institutions as there are in religions.

Since the 12 step program includes prayers as an integral part of the Spiritual plan of action, the question may arise who do we pray to ? This question is usually asked by nonreligious people and by atheists There are many different answers to this question. Prayer may be a ritualistic way of expressing a wish to open myself up to change, It may be a way to communicate with my innermost self , or my subconscious mind, It may be a way to turn to the sane and better part of myself, the universe my soul, a universal source of energy or life, etc... Whatever concept you feel comfortable with , is sufficient to work the 12 step program and reach recovery. So a prayer doesn't necessarily have to be a religious act.

The word God in the Big Book can be considered as a generic convenient term. It can have any interpretation we want that represents to us a source of Power by which we can live as recovered persons.

There is another Big Book quote that I want to write about Page 45 "Lack of power that was our dilemma. We had to find a power by which we could live, and it had to be a Power Greater than ourselves" The first part of this sentence actually repeats step one which says that we are powerless over our disease, all three folds of it. The physical the mental which is our obsession, and the spiritual which consists of our negative feelings and attitudes and which also result in negative actions. the RESULT of our powerlessness (our lack of power), is that we obsess, we relapse and we are controlled by our negative feelings attitudes and actions

We have to understand that the REASON for our powerlessness is not the disease of addiction The reason we are powerless over a disease is not the fact that we have it but the fact that we don't have any effective way to deal with it when we just begin the step one. Let me give a simple example. Before the discovery of insulin injections people died of diabetes type one. The were not powerless over diabetes because they had it. They were powerless over it because there was no way to treat it. After the discovery of insulin people with diabetes get treatment and could continue to live quite normally as long as they got treatment every day. they needed treatment on a daily basis because the disease was chronic and stopping the treatment gave the disease the upper hand, and they became powerless again Now I hope it is better understood what is meant by the second part of this sentence. Before the 12 step were written there was no known way to treat it and people remained powerless over it and died as a result of untreated addiction.

After the 12 step program was published there was a way to deal with addiction and recover on a daily basis by applying the twelve steps daily. what did the 12 steps accomplish ? They gave us a method of action that when applied helped us develop conscious contact with a Power Greater than ourselves. This gave us a way to circumvent our powerlessness, deal with our disease and reach recovery

Now let us delve into step two

STEP TWO "Came to believe that a Power Greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity" If we have to be restored to sanity it means that we were sane once, but at present we are insane. I dealt a bit with the insanity as it expressed itself in our obsession of The mind which returns us to compulsive eating again and again after periods of not eating compulsively.

One form of insanity that we suffer from is repeating the same action, compulsive eating, and expecting different results. We delude ourselves that now it will be ok and we will not overeat and binge. The same insanity can also manifest in planning a binge, eating compulsively and not caring about the results. So our obsession is a form of insanity which leads us to insane actions.

But this is not the whole picture of our insanity. Let me quote a few sentences from the Big Book. Bill W., in BILL'S STORY page 13 says" I had to test my thinking by the God Consciousness within. Common sense would thus become uncommon sense." Here Bill is recovered and still he cannot trust his perception of his reality. But because he is recovered he is aware that his disease distorts his perception of reality and makes him live in delusion. But his recovery doesn't straighten out this distortion. He cannot see the truth about himself and his reality, and needs to turn to a Power greater than himself for help. It is said that this Power may also give us guidance through the words of other people.

This may be explained as follows. It turns out that my disease changes and distorts my perception of my reality but usually it does not affect my perception of other peoples reality. Therefore if others ask me I can give them good advice about themselves, and they may do the same to me. This distortion of my reality without distorting my perception of the reality of others can be very confusing to me. I am led to think that if I can see clearly what is happening to others I can also see clearly what is happening to me, This is part of my delusion that makes me believe a lie and not the truth.. The confusion and havoc it causes is at the root of my spiritual malady.

Let me give an example of my diseased thinking. I stood with a friend in the library at my working place, when an acquaintance passed by us and completely ignored us. My first thought was that he was a jerk. But then I turned to my friend and asked him why that person ignored us. My friend answered that he was probably deep in thoughts about his project and didn't notice us. Such a thought never even crossed my mind.

In the chapter THE DOCTORS OPINION he describes this kind of insanity too: Page xxviii "they cannot after a time differentiate the true from the false. To them their alcoholic life seems the only normal one". This kind of insanity that is expressed as delusion and distortion of my reality is at the root of my unmanageable life and my spiritual malady. It is especially confusing and gives rise to negative feelings and attitudes Since I can see other persons reality quite clearly and I think that I see Mine clearly too where mine is delusional.

So after explaining and enlarging the scope of the inanity mentioned in step two, let me have a look at the word "could." It does not say "would or will" it says "could". The reason is simple. We first have to do our part by dealing by the steps with the things (negative emotions attitudes and actions) that block us from our H. P.,so that we can develop conscious contact with It. Only when we do this work by doing all the twelve steps will we be able to fully benefit from the energy given forth by this Power. Only then does the Big Book promise that our obsession about food will be removed.

Our distorted delusion of our reality will always remain with us, but now in recovery we are aware of it, and have tools to deal with it by turning to a Power greater than ourselves, and by sharing with others, and listening to them.

We also have to understand that in recovery we are not rid of most of our character defects. (negative emotions and attitudes). But we are aware of them and deal with them on a daily basis by doing steps 10-12. Therefore when the defects arise we can handle them. We are not overwhelmed by them and are not driven to eat compulsively. Our physical abnormal reaction to certain foods that cause cravings for more, will remain with us all our life. But it will not be active since our obsession will be removed and without the obsession we will be able to stay out of the food without fighting, since we will not feel or want to eat foods that cause us to eat compulsively.

Now let me talk again about reaching bottom. Reaching bottom is the process that drives me accept a Power greater than myself as the solution to my food compulsion. The 12 steps are a program of change and our natural tendency is to resist change since it means leaving our comfort zone even if we suffer in it. Most of us prefer relief and we do the recovery program only when the inner pain is so great that we feel there is no other way out. Bottom is an internal feeling and has to do only with our internal world. Our troubles in our outside world may drive us to reach bottom but they are not the bottom. The feeling of reaching bottom is the same in everyone who has reached bottom.

Now let me say a few words about coming to believe.

The Big Book tells us in the chapter WE AGNOSTICS page 47, that willingness to believe is enough to begin my journey to recovery.

There is a big difference between belief and faith in our program. I will give a simple example. Suppose there is something wrong with the plumbing in my apartment and I don't know how to fix it. So I search the internet, find a plumber, and ask him to come and fix the problem. I don't know the plumber personally and I cannot be sure that he will do the job to my satisfaction. But I believe that he will do it. Otherwise I wouldn't have called him. Am I certain of him? No!. but I am willing to try since I cannot do it myself and I don't know any other plumber personally. The plumber comes and does the work to my complete satisfaction and for a modest price. Now I know that this plumber is worth working with and the next time I have a problem I will be sure to call him. Now I have faith in him and the work he does and am certain that it will be done to my satisfaction. This is the situation with a Power greater than myself. In step two I come to believe that this Power can restore me to sanity. am I sure? no!. But I am willing to try. I do my part of working the steps and when I reach recovery I am certain that this Power restored me to sanity and I have faith in this Power.

Personally I came to the conclusion that the only thing I was willing to believe when I began this program was that recovery by the 12 steps is possible. The reason I believed that recovery is possible was the living example of people I met in meetings who recovered by the 12 step program. And this was enough for me to begin my journey to recovery.

I think it is time for the assignments


1.Read the chapter We Agnostics in the Big Book, and read the chapter Step Two in the AA 12&12. Copy the sentences that speak to you, explain and share with us

2. Describe your concept of your H.P.and your relationship with It, or as you want it to be.

3. listen to the clip on youtube " Mickey Bush Iceland Convention Steps 1,2,3 AA NA CA Narcotics Alcoholics Anonymous Recovery Share" Share with us what you learned from it. If you like it and have the time , listen to more clips by Mikey Bush.

That is all for now folks

Have a nice and fruitful day


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