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What is Step 2 of AA?
“Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”
In step 2 of AA, participants acknowledge and accept a higher power, God or otherwise, and admit that only this higher power can remove their obsession with alcohol.
What is the Purpose of the 2nd Step?
The purpose of step 2 is to give AA participants hope and let them know they are not alone. Early on in the 12-step process, participants understand that something greater than themselves can help them overcome their addiction.
The higher power helps restore them to sanity and mental health, gain control of their lives, and undo the control that alcohol has over their lives.
This step occurs before participants take a moral inventory or move on to future steps because it gives them a solid foundation. It helps them realize their powerlessness to alcoholism and helps them establish spiritual principles. It establishes soundness of mind and provides support during the recovery process.
Most participants encounter this and other steps from a support group, but it might also be introduced in a treatment center.
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What Does a “Higher Power” Mean in AA?
For many AA participants, Higher Power means God. However, there’s no requirement to believe in God to participate. Higher Power can mean something different for everyone. The key is to acknowledge a Higher Power, not to define it the same as anyone else in the group defines it. There is no requirement to have a specific religious belief.
If an AA participant has never considered his or her spiritual beliefs or beliefs about a Higher Power, step 2 is an invitation to do so.
The organization does not define a Higher Power for participants and does not emphasize what someone’s Higher Power must be. Instead, it reminds participants that it’s impossible to recover alone. It encourages participants to be willing, faithful, open-minded, and humble about their addiction and recovery.
It doesn’t even matter if someone has yet to define his or her Higher Power, as long as there is an acknowledgment that they have one.
Participants who are wondering where to begin with step 2 should consider:
- If they already believe in a deity or god based on the religion they practice. If this belief is comfortable for them they should embrace it and use it as the foundation of their twelve steps.
- If there is no predefined belief or if someone wants to supplement that belief, a participant can turn to nature. Nature as a Higher Power helps to awaken the senses and reconnect you with the natural environment.
- How a belief in science can help with the battle against addiction. Using scientific information about substance abuse helps you understand that overcoming addiction isn’t just a matter of a lack of willpower.
- Having faith in existing moral principles and considering how sobriety supports those. For example, if you are committed to civic obligations or service to your community, take pride in that and allow it to change your relationship with your addiction and the world.
- Putting confidence in Alcoholics Anonymous. There’s no reason to embrace a particular religion or accept a particular Higher Power because AA can be your Higher Power. It can also be your friends or family. Your foundation can be the people in your life who support your desire to live a sober life.
How to Follow Step 2 of AA
AA encourages you to allow your faith in a higher power, whatever that might be, to infiltrate all parts of your life.
Allow it to help you replace negative thinking with positive and embrace humility.
To follow step 2, you must:
- Accept that you aren’t able to conquer your addiction alone
- Realize there is something greater outside of yourself
- List out and consider any spiritual experiences you’ve had
- Look for support outside of yourself
- Make it a habit every day to list the things you are grateful for
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Questions to Ask While Following The Second Step
There are several questions that you can ask yourself and answer that will help you work through step 2, including:
- What were the out-of-control decisions and destructive behavior you experienced because of your addiction?
- Do you struggle to accept there is a higher power?
- Are you fearful about believing in a higher power? Why do you think this is?
- What evidence do you have of a higher power operating in your life?
- What does the phrase “we came to believe” mean in your mind?
- Have you heard stories from other addicts regarding their process with step 2 that speak to you or that you’ve already tried in your recovery?
- What do you consider good examples of sanity or sane decisions?
- What changes do you believe are necessary to restore your sanity?
- Do you have an open mind right now?
- How does having a closed mind harm your recovery?
- Do you have any fears that are interfering with your ability to trust?
- How can you let go of your fears related to trust?
- Have you sought help from a sponsor, attended meetings, or reached out to recovering addicts? Were the results positive
Why Join Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)?
Alcoholics Anonymous isn’t right for anyone, but the majority of people struggling with alcohol use disorder (AUD) find it helpful. Participation offers many benefits. The program assists people from all walks of life overcome addiction. It offers:
- A simple approach — the program includes 12-steps and participants move incrementally through each step on a day-by-day basis. Participants don’t promise to never drink again, but instead, commit to living one day at a time without drinking.
- Support and reinforcement — the program offers worldwide fellowship and access to other people dealing with AUD. You can attend an anonymous meeting no matter your location (online too).
- Adaptability — the program is built on a foundation of reinforcement and behavior that helps people stop drinking. It includes goal setting, analysis of personal situations, and alternate coping strategies. It is used in community centers, healthcare and primary care facilities, addiction treatment programs, and schools. It’s also an approach that can be tailored to specific groups of patients or communities.
In addition to helping with an alcohol problem and recovery, participation in AA also provides a resource for the court system. Addiction professionals believe that AA offers a tool that breaks the revolving door of addicts that repeatedly end up in a courtroom.