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Step 2
Apr 30th, 2008 at 8:02am
 
SPONSOR/SPONSEE STEP TWO WORKSHEET
"We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity."

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The insanity referred to in this step is not the insanity of using drugs. We were restored to the sanity of not using by surrendering to Step 1, we now find ourselves clean and our lives are still unmanageable in many areas. Much of that umanageability comes from doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results each time. Of course, the results are always the same, unmanageability and insanity in our lives. But what is there to do, go on the best we can, or begin to change with the Second Step as our guide through ongoing recovery.

The next question we begin to ask is: What is the power greater than ourselves? Many of us immediately thought this meant our Higher Power, but we are not introduced to a Higher Power until the Third Step. Our Higher Power is the ultimate power greater than ourselves, whatever our concept of a Higher Power is. However, this is not the power greater than ourselves that we are referring to in the Second Step. The best way to explain this is that a power greater than ourselves can change from situation to situation. I like to call it gifts from my Higher Power. A power greater than ourselves can be the NA program, a sponsor, another person, pain or something we may read, etc. It is anything that makes us aware of the insanity of a situation if we act out on a defect or negative will.

Now having an understanding of the Second Step, let's look at some of the ways we can apply the Second Step into our lives.

The first way we applied this step when we came into the program was that NA becomes a power greater than ourselves. It helps us get through early problems without using and teaches us different ways of doing things.
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Re: Step 2
Reply #1 - Apr 30th, 2008 at 8:03am
 
Now having an understanding of the Second Step, let's look at some of the ways we can apply the Second Step into our lives.

The first way we applied this step when we came into the program was that NA becomes a power greater than ourselves. It helps us get through early problems without using and teaches us different ways of doing things.
Something someone may share with us can become a power greater than ourselves, if it makes us aware of something we are doing in the wrong way so we can then change it.
Pain many times becomes. a power greater than ourselves. Sometimes it is the only thing that will make us do something in a different way to get sane results.
A Sponsor or some other recovering addict can become a power greater than ourselves, by making us aware of the way we are doing things.
You can now see a power greater than ourselves can change from, situation to situation. The important thing is to be aware of how to apply this is principle in your life, so that insanity and unmanageability does not take hold. The principle of the step can be a power greater than ourselves.

The following questions, you are to write about on a separate paper and return to your sponsor.

What does "we" mean as it applies to Step 2?
Write out definition of "came to" as they apply to Step 2.
In the dictionary, look up and write out the definition of the word "believe."
Write out your own definition of the word "believe."
What is your definition of "a power greater than yourself"?
List 3 powers greater than yourself in your active using.
List 3 powers greater than yourself in your recovery.
What are the 3 characteristics that a higher power should have?
What does the word "could" mean to you?
In the dictionary, look up and write out the definition of "could."
In the dictionary, look up and write out the definition of "restore."
Write out how you were insane when using.
Write out how you are insane in recovery.
Write out your definition
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Re: Step 2
Reply #2 - Apr 30th, 2008 at 8:05am
 
List 3 powers greater than yourself in your active using.
List 3 powers greater than yourself in your recovery.
What are the 3 characteristics that a higher power should have?
What does the word "could" mean to you?
In the dictionary, look up and write out the definition of "could."
In the dictionary, look up and write out the definition of "restore."
Write out how you were insane when using.
Write out how you are insane in recovery.
Write out your definition of "sanity."
In the dictionary, look up and write out the definition of "sanity."
What are the benefits of "coming to believe in a power greater than yourself?"
Name 10 positive things that a power greater than yourself has done for you. 5 while using and 5 in recovery.
What is a power greater than yourself?
What type of sanity is the second step referring to?
How can I apply this step into my life?
What does this step mean to me?
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Re: Step 2
Reply #3 - May 18th, 2008 at 8:56pm
 
Step Two

"We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity."

The inability to recognize the millions of blessings in our lives is characteristic of our addiction. We can stare at one area that does not measure up to ‘our standards,’ but the reverse is also true. We can become so enthralled with counting ‘our lucky stars’ that we may ignore the cliff’s edge that is right beneath our feet. We addicts seem to view life through one of three types of spectacles. Rose_colored glasses distort our vision toward the positive that can be harmful unless we remain vigilant. Dark_colored glasses tint our world and cause it to appear dismal. Our disease bombards us with other negative senses that insure our misery. When we wear clear lenses, we can look at reality and see what it is without our diseased perceptions causing us additional discomfort. Clear glasses allow us to see and seek balance. They allow us to see both good and bad and we learn to respond accordingly. ‘Seeing things as they are’ is truly a gift. We learn that we can choose our footing without that paralyzing fear of disaster with which we were so familiar. We find that living either the gaily colored or dull_plodding existence is not how life actually is.

‘Repeating old patterns while expecting different results’ is a hallmark of the disease of addiction. Until we consciously change our old behaviors in the attempt to obtain new results, the insanity of our disease will remain in control. It is by ‘trusting the process’ of recovery enough to simply try something different that we come to trust that overall change is possible. We do something different and we get different results. The power of this process of our recovery experience is that we are finally moving in a forward direction. Learning what ‘real’ life has to offer us allows us to move towards sanity.

Our disease would have us obsess over everything, one_way or the other. The process of ‘coming to believe’ g
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Re: Step 2
Reply #4 - May 18th, 2008 at 8:58pm
 
Faith is trusting without the benefit of experience. Belief can include the results of experience alone or a combination of faith that is tied to experience. Historically speaking, people who were subjects of a king used the phrase ‘By your leave’ to indicate their submission to a person of importance. Sometimes we might use a phrase like, ‘If you don’t mind’ or, ‘If it’s okay with you,’ but the fact that we submit to others is still part of life. We each have many people and things that we submit to. Since we regularly submit to those people and things in which we believe, we want to examine and re_examine our belief, now and throughout the process of recovery.

This is one area where ‘choice’ as referred to in recovery becomes clearly visible. We realize early in the recovery process that we can choose not to submit rather than continuing to submit to things that make us feel more negatively about ourselves. We learn to define sanity for ourselves. Utilizing this choice takes some practice. Many of us never thought of our submission as something we could change. Indeed, it never occurred to us to even try to resist. Submission seemed unavoidable.

‘Believing something’ is an act of surrendering to a proposition or attitude expressed as a statement. Belief determines how we feel on the inside and how we act on the outside. We expand our viewpoints by finding out more about how others feel and react to life. We compare notes with others about how we live. Isolation kept us apart and prevented us from doing this.

Clean, we become students in a school called ‘life’. We don’t have to do it alone. We compare notes (share experiences) and we can use our books to pass our examinations (survive situations) without using. Coming to believe allows us to shift away from certain people or things that we used to habitually submit to, give_in to, or allow to dominate our lives. We continue to ask ourselves, "Is this the best results we can get?" Taking a good look at who
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Re: Step 2
Reply #5 - May 18th, 2008 at 9:00pm
 
The ‘sanity’ that we seek in recovery must satisfy our real needs on a daily basis. The confusion that we feel is simply a natural part of personality change. When we feel disorientated or emotionally upset for no apparent reason, it is only an indicator that we have succeeded in altering our relationship to life in some way. Other members, sponsors and our Higher Power can help us adjust to these changes even if we haven’t worked all the Steps yet or haven’t progressed very far in recovery. One of the things we discover about recovery is that we have people in our lives today that are able to be here for us as we are for them. An exception to these general truths occur when we slip into our old ways and try to get over on our program or other members. We must remain vigilant and not barter our ‘being clean’ for better treatment. We don’t have a right to be offended when people don’t treat us with extra consideration in light of our ‘condition’. We may demonstrate this type of consideration for one another at times and that is fine. The key is that we do so by choice expecting no reward because we only want to help, be considerate, or be useful. What we do willingly by choice is different from doing the same thing under the influence of compulsion, social or otherwise. Membership, being ‘a part of’ requires the mutual respect of one member for another.

Some say, "Religion is for people who are afraid of hell. Spirituality is for people who have been there." Most of us define faith as the gift we receive for the price of acceptance. If we have trouble with the Second Step, we may need to take a closer look at what we consider important or valuable. If we feel like we’re ‘doing without’ some of these things or we get poor results in general. We want to change. Finding and using some extra power to improve our results is what the Steps are all about. Belief grows as we come to recognize the things that we most value, as well as those that we despise. Belief helps us
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Re: Step 2
Reply #6 - May 18th, 2008 at 9:01pm
 
We expand our perceptions of the world by acquiring the benefit of what others have learned through personal experience. We broaden our freedom to be an effective part of the world around us by adding to what we know by training, study and application. A part of internal change is being able to enjoy the effects of these changes as they reflect themselves in all parts of our daily lives. It helps when we can surrender again, this time to our ‘lack of a belief’ in God or a Higher Power that is strong enough to give us what we need. These ideas may be incomplete, unconsidered or out of date. Most of us are at least mildly surprised to learn that we can change in this way. The wreckage of our past is much more than the obvious scars, severe legal, medical, or social problems. One of the biggest difficulties with our thought processes is that our information is faulty. This reflects a computer_age saying "Garbage in, garbage out." Running scared has prevented many of us from feeling that we were free to carefully review these basics of thinking. We became accustomed to thinking certain ways and expecting outcomes that may have no basis in reality.

This projection, based on our old thought processes, builds up from those experiences we had when we were loaded or simply because we look at life from an addict’s viewpoint. Healthy relationships are a major structure on the pathway of life. These structures allow us to have relationships with people, places, and things that are stable and lasting. As we change, we may feel overwhelmed and discontent by the way these relationships change. Remember that our evaluation of uncomfortable may not be an accurate indicator that something is ‘wrong’. We must continue to bounce our stuff off of other recovering addicts to make these evaluations. There is no way for us to get the ‘personality change’ that we need without a shift in these structures. Discomfort usually occurs during the interval between our perception of the change a
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Re: Step 2
Reply #7 - May 18th, 2008 at 9:03pm
 
Those things that didn’t work for us have to be given time to go away but simply sitting idle and waiting for this to happen may not work. It is much easier to go looking for a belief that may have interested us for some time. We can try to find something that we can feel good about and try to learn more about it. Many of us will find that the belief of our childhood suddenly works for us. We realize the confusion brought on by our using may have prevented us from giving our belief an honest try. We find that our new belief is not only worth going after but that it is far easier since we will begin to get the results we want. The need for a working belief that we understand and feel good about becomes more important than the fears that hold us back. Once we find what works for us, it will tend to last and we won’t have to go back and redo this Step in every situation. Our obsessions were merely efforts to get what we felt we needed regardless of the cost. Major problems occurred once our need had become too great for us to meet. Unfortunately, our obsessions were more about supplying a feeling than with actually meeting needs. This is where much of our insanity becomes visible. Every time we loosen an old fear, our freedom and responsibility increase. As we let go of old fears that no longer apply to us, we find our faith growing. This state of faith gives us more energy and allows us to take maximum advantage of available resources. We are clear_headed and emotionally relaxed.

The acronym F.E.A.R., False Evidence Appearing Real or crappity smack Everything And Run, was a real important lesson for many of us. We may have heard it at a convention or at a meeting. Fear prevents us from acting in a manner that we feel goes against our best interest or that we feel will cause pain. When we are in our right minds, fear simply helps us establish boundaries that we can live within ourselves without discomfort or feelings of being in jeopardy. As addicts, much of what we knew was
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Re: Step 2
Reply #8 - May 18th, 2008 at 9:04pm
 
The acronym F.E.A.R., False Evidence Appearing Real or crappity smack Everything And Run, was a real important lesson for many of us. We may have heard it at a convention or at a meeting. Fear prevents us from acting in a manner that we feel goes against our best interest or that we feel will cause pain. When we are in our right minds, fear simply helps us establish boundaries that we can live within ourselves without discomfort or feelings of being in jeopardy. As addicts, much of what we knew was only figments of a deranged mind. In many other cases, what we think we know is actually incorrect, yet this fact apparently makes little difference. Many things are in the middle between these extremes and make a difference some of the time. Sorting all this out is quite tedious and troublesome; therefore, it requires daily attention. Freedom in recovery is what we gain that we compare against what our addiction took from us. The longer we are clean the more these things will matter to us, and this is the reason we keep working the Program no matter how long we have been clean. While using, we lived in constant fear of discovery and may feel the same way in the beginning of recovery. What was our real secret? Could it be that we each built our own cages of fear? The principle with which we want to replace fear is faith. We begin to work the Steps and this process teaches us how to go through the pain without using. When we see the insanity of the old, too familiar, paralyzing fear, we develop a healthy F.E.A.R., Face Everything And Recover.

As we grow into this new way of life, we test our feelings and share what is going on in our minds with our sponsor, home group members and other members with whom we have become close in NA. When we drift away from good sense and the general recovery path, we will hear about it from our friends. We must practice something before we can get results. Repetition allows us to gain faith in ourselves and our beliefs through getting what we feel
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Re: Step 2
Reply #9 - May 18th, 2008 at 9:06pm
 
There is a saying that goes, "If you argue for your limitations, they are yours forever." Our potential and capacity to respond will expand only if we want them to and give ourselves permission to do so. We will always be capable of messing_up things by not trying. The concept of a Higher Power involves having faith in something that will take us beyond what we can do on our own. Recovery restores to us many of the things that our disease took away.

We work the Steps in order to recondition ourselves so that we will be able to enjoy some of these benefits. Otherwise, we begin to feel the inadequacy that comes with the restoration of responsibilities and duties that we cannot easily accomplish. The further our addiction has progressed, the less we recall that sanity is the ‘natural’ state for most people. It doesn’t mean greater, superior, better, or less than others. It is our healthy state of being alive and free.

Sanity is also acting in a reasonable manner. When we first notice that our feelings are out of line with reality, we begin to change. The First Step is a catalyst that instigates an initial instability. The shift towards change pushes us to sort out the rest. In this Step, we get to the level of beliefs. We realize that the beliefs we operated under were faulty as well as life threatening. These beliefs were insidious and spread throughout our personality. We have no choice but to reach out for help to overcome the structure of our self_created, self_destructive, and self_centered old beliefs. We finally realized that we couldn’t keep doing the things that we chose to do and call it sane. We felt that we became one with the things that used to seem so separate to us. Our experiences and perceptions of reality change. We feel ourselves more as part of what is happening and no longer need absolute control over everything.

Just as in learning to surf, we quickly learn that we and the wave can come crashing down together. The energy is still there;
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Re: Step 2
Reply #10 - May 18th, 2008 at 9:07pm
 
Step Two is about belief. We come to believe in a loving, caring power, greater than ourselves that can restore us to sanity. We never believed that we could live free from our obsession and compulsion to control people and situations around us, because we feared that if we just went with the flow, we would be seriously injured or killed. The pain of the unknown had been too much for us to manage. Realizing that we, in and of ourselves, are not the source of our pain, we are open to letting life go on around us. The knowledge of our powerlessness, trust that we can change, and walking through the pain can help us with this realization. When we stop denying our addiction and gain a belief that a power, greater than ourselves, can help us, we begin to relax. Our ability to believe in a Higher Power that can restore us to sanity makes us feel at one with the forces of that power and the process of spiritual growth.

We also need to allow others to develop their own beliefs so that when the going gets tough they can survive on the faith achieved by their own development system to survive in ongoing recovery. For the first time, we have a vision of a sane life through the example of others who are just like us and who have benefitted from taking the leap of faith. We learn that our reality is made up of what we believe, and that when we change our beliefs, we ourselves will change. We grow to love ourselves enough to believe that good things are possible for us and perhaps more importantly that we deserve them. We owe it to ourselves to do the footwork that will lead us to the life that we have always wanted for ourselves but were unable to believe was possible for us.

1.3.08

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Re: Step 2
Reply #11 - May 18th, 2008 at 9:18pm
 
READING FOR STEP TWO

Big Book: Chapter 4. We Agnostics
Appendix II. Spiritual Experience
12&12:  Step 2 

Step 2 is also separated into its first and second halves:

STEP 2a. Came to believe in a power greater than myself...

Having taken Step 1, you have already admitted the existence of a power greater than yourself. Think about it. Isn't alcohol a power greater than yourself? And, having also admitted that your life has been insanely unmanageable, your goal is to find some other power (besides alcohol), which is greater than yourself, and will produce saner consequences.

Your Higher Power should:

Not be alcohol

Not be you

Be greater than alcohol and yourself, and

Contribute to sobriety and sanity in your life.

A.A.s who eventually achieve some time sober invariably acknowledge that their Higher Power is a spiritual power. Anticipate that yours will be, too. However, for the time being, your power may be any power that meets these four conditions.  If you haven't noticed already, the word God is used in AA. In fact, the name appears in four of the twelve steps, but in two instances it is followed immediately by the expression "as we understood Him". (meaning, according to your present conception of a Spiritual Power). A.A.'s use of the term, God, does not necessarily mean that we believe in "God", and it does not mean that we have a common understanding of what we do believe in. The term, God, is used only as a convenient way of referring to the Spiritual Power of our respective choices. And, have a Spiritual Power, we must!

When, therefore, we speak to you of God, we mean your own conception of God. This applies, too, to other spiritual expressions which you find in this book. [Big Book page 47, line 1]
Later in this document we will discuss the way that many of us have come to have conscious contact with a spiritual power of our own conception.

A.A. literature makes it clear that Alcoholics Anonymous is not a reli
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Re: Step 2
Reply #12 - May 18th, 2008 at 9:20pm
 
Writing for Step 2b: Review the powers you listed in the writing above. Place a check mark to the left of each one that meets the condition of being able and willing to keep you from taking the next drink on a continuing basis. Your choices just became narrower.

Notice, too, that we come to believe. Your ultimate belief is unlikely to be obvious to you right away. We just keep at it. Be as persistent in promoting belief in your Higher Power as you were in justifying your drinking. In fact, why not ask your Higher Power to affix in your consciousness the certainty of His Reality. He will, if you let Him!

If you are not yet at the stage of talking to (let alone hearing from) a spiritual being, you may wish to follow A.A.'s suggestion that you begin with your favorite A.A. group as a power greater than yourself. Then, by following the A.A. spiritual starter kit, you will come into conscious awareness of an even higher Power.

Many of us have been downright confused about the idea and nature of God. Here's a discussion that has been helpful in sorting things out:

theists: First, we find the theists, those who worship one or more deities (God). Nearly all theists believe in a theology (their approved set of religious beliefs) espoused by one of the many religious institutions. These institutions often rely also upon antigods (devils) or a book alleged to be a faithful rendition from antiquity. Too, most claim exclusivity in the correctness of their system. Throughout human history (and certainly true today) some theists have been known to fight with each other. Yet, many wonderful people, including a great many A.A. members, attend church regularly and worship its deity successfully.

atheists: The letter prefix A means not or against . Atheists are believers that there is no God. They tend to take issue with all the theists.


From the diagram you just saw, and based upon the opinions of the theists and atheists, there seem to be only two choices for
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Re: Step 2
Reply #13 - May 18th, 2008 at 9:22pm
 
theists: First, we find the theists, those who worship one or more deities (God). Nearly all theists believe in a theology (their approved set of religious beliefs) espoused by one of the many religious institutions. These institutions often rely also upon antigods (devils) or a book alleged to be a faithful rendition from antiquity. Too, most claim exclusivity in the correctness of their system. Throughout human history (and certainly true today) some theists have been known to fight with each other. Yet, many wonderful people, including a great many A.A. members, attend church regularly and worship its deity successfully.

atheists: The letter prefix A means not or against . Atheists are believers that there is no God. They tend to take issue with all the theists.


From the diagram you just saw, and based upon the opinions of the theists and atheists, there seem to be only two choices for you to make—their way or the wrong way. It often appears to the AA newcomer that he must pick one of the churches (on the left above) or join the anti-church church (on the right). While some of these may be valid options, you might also resolve that you just don't feel comfortable being on the theist-atheist scale at all. After all, once you have picked a belief system, you have, as a consequence, rejected all the other systems you didn't pick. Maybe you feel you don't have any business making decisions about God's business.

Fortunately, you have at least four options, not just two. You could even opt to be agnostic, as the next diagram shows.


Agnostics: The agnostic cannot buy into the theologies (both pro and con), and he simply says, "I just don't know." The agnostic is on a wholly different plane. The theist-atheist plane is based upon the head or intellect. The agnostic is a(without)-gnosis(knowledge). And, with only modest imagination, we can remove the a and conceive of—you guessed it—the Gnostic, or knower. Moreover, the gnosis (knowledge of the existence
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Re: Step 2
Reply #14 - May 18th, 2008 at 9:23pm
 
The spiritual starter kit. All of this theology stuff can seem downright confusing. It can even appear to be a barrier in the path of sobriety. We A.A.s are fortunate in having a spiritual starter kit, so to speak, in chapter 4 of the Big Book. It is suggested as a sure fire method of coming to know a spiritual power. Here it is (we have supplied the bold style to selected characters):


Step 2.1. We found that as soon as we were able to lay aside prejudice and...[Big Book page 46, line 15]

Step 2.2. ...express even a willingness to believe in a Power greater than ourselves, we commenced to get results, even though it was impossible for any of us to fully define or comprehend that Power, which is God. [Big Book page 46, line 16]

Step 2.3. Do not let any prejudice you may have against spiritual terms deter you from honestly asking yourself what they mean to you...we had to begin somewhere, so we used our own conception, however limited it was. [Big Book page 47, line 4]

Step 2.4. ...As soon as a man can say that he does believe or is willing to believe, we emphatically assure him that he is on his way. [Big Book page 47, line 16]

In short form the kit might read: a) Set aside all prejudice (both belief and disbelief about God and religions), b) Become willing to believe, c) Study all spiritual concepts, and formulate an initial—even conditional or tentative—conception of God, and d) Be persistent in testing the state of your belief and knowledge.

It has been repeatedly proven among us that upon this simple cornerstone a wonderfully effective spiritual structure can be built. [Big Book page 47, line 19]

Notice that our step 2.3 above quotes that we used our own conception...of a Higher Power. Some of us were so spooked by the thought of a spiritual power that we had to begin with something more tangible. We have actually heard of newcomers using a door knob, a light bulb, a tree, or a moving van as their Higher Power. Such material objects, even a
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