Step 2 of AA – A Christian Standpoint

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

Restore us to sanity?

Yes, we are insane. Everybody is to some degree. No not necessarily ready for the rubber room, but a form of insanity nonetheless. Insanity has many different definitions like most words. But clearly doing something destructive time and time again is a form of insanity.

The first time I read the 12 Steps was on the wall of a Narcotics Anonymous meeting in Ardmore, Oklahoma. I read step 2, looked around the room, and thought smugly, “Maybe these guys are insane, but not me. I can just skip to step 3.”

Turns out I was probably the craziest one in the room at the time. I was over 5 years sober before I realized that.

That’s real insanity.

And in AA you will hear stories galore. Once you are around for a while, what seemed to be normal behavior when you were drinking, you will see is entirely insane.

But that’s not the insanity they are talking about. Again, they are talking about the insanity of the first drink. Knowing this behavior is destroying your life and the lives of those close to you… But here you are drinking again.

In Step 1 we learned we had a problem. The problem can be serious and often fatal. Our lives are unmanageable. (If it were not unmanageable, there would be no reason to quit drinking.) And there is no solution for it within our own power. We are powerless.

In Step 2, we find there is a solution. The solution to homelessness is a home. The solution to powerlessness is power. And since we have found we do not have the power, the solution must lie outside ourselves. The solution lies within a power that is greater than we are.

AA is very liberal about what higher power you choose. Some even go so far to say a doorknob can be a higher power. Which is of course hyperbole. A doorknob has no power. People who suggest such things are trying to get you to reach outside yourself… for something. Anything. A power that is truly greater than you will come later after you become willing to reach out.

AA’s success was due partly to the fact that people did not have to believe in God the same way you do to stay sober. Some people I hear in AA circles have had bad experiences in organized religion. They judge God by the mistakes His people make. Which is sad, but a fact of life.

But there is clearly a solution. I’ve met people who have been sober over 30 years. And I had a hard time staying sober 24 hours! They solved the problem – but how?

Some people who have had a bad experience with religion choose to use the AA group as a power greater than themselves until they can manage to eject the prejudices that they have. Surely the AA group with many sober members is more powerful than one poor soul who can barely draw a sober breath.

Then there are people who belong to other faiths or are atheists in AA and remain so. I’m not going to argue with them here.

How to find God?

God cannot be seen with the human eye. He is not electromagnetic. He does not reflect light in the tiny bandwidth we can see with our eyes.

He must reveal Himself to you.

And you have to ask Him. He will reveal Himself to you in a way that will make sense to you. It will not be the same way that made sense to me. It will not be in the same way He revealed Himself to your sponsor. Everybody is different. God will customize His revelation to you.

Note: It will probably not be a “burning bush” or a spectacular supernatural event. Things will happen in just the right way at just the right time that when it all gels together, you will have what they call in AA a “Spiritual awakening”.

Note also that there is no mention of doing any rituals or incantations or other special things to find God. Simply ask Him with a humble heart, and start watching for His answer.

We found that God does not make too hard terms with those who seek Him. To us, the Realm of Spirit is broad, roomy, all inclusive; never exclusive or forbidding to those who earnestly seek. It is open, we believe, to all men.
Alcoholics Anonymous “The Big Book” Page 46

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