The second step in the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous is as follows:
“We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”
This step may discourage people who are trying to recover from alcohol or other addictions from joining AA because they don’t fully understand what this step suggests.
First, we must give meaning to what is implied by “sanity.” Most alcoholics don’t feel like they are truly insane, and they may even think it’s crazy to be labeled as such. In this case, however, insanity may be best described by this quote commonly attributed to Albert Einstein:
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”
Most alcoholics can relate to this description. Often, people will try multiple times to regain control of their alcohol consumption, such as limiting drinking to nighttime. However, we still end up in the same place when all is said and done. For a true alcoholic or addict, this never works.
The Second Step of Alcohol Recovery
By admitting to insanity, we are also declaring that, just maybe, our current thinking isn’t the most reasonable or rational. This is the time when those persons who are motivated to stop drinking must identify a “higher power.” It is commonly misunderstood that this means a person must believe in the Christian God, or another religious figure, but this is not the case. The goal of the second step is to come to realize that there is something or someone out there that is greater.
For example, imagine you did not exist. Would the world go on without you? Would the universe still be here? Most people would say “yes” to these questions. Simply by acknowledging that there are forces beyond yourself, you have, in part, achieved step 2. This step is about hope and being open-minded to the possibility that a person can look to a greater power for inspiration as well as mercy.
Tips for Completing Step 2
Keep an open mind to set yourself up for success. Be open to the possibility of looking outside yourself for help and support. This way, you’ll be more able to conceive of the idea of sustainable recovery.
Maintain humility. Accept that you may not be able to overcome your addiction alone.
Understand what it means to be sane. It means to stop engaging in the same destructive behavior over and over again and hoping it will get better.
Why Believe in a Higher Power?
Participating in addiction treatment for a support group will not “fix” a person. While it is vital, it is not a long-term solution to the disease that is addiction. We must find another force to be there for us at all times because our brains will never be quiet and will continue to nag at us from time to time, wanting to use drugs or alcohol. Negative thoughts and feelings can gradually emerge, often when we least expect them.
If you’ve ever participated in an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, you may have heard the phrase “your best thinking got you here.” Now is the time to recognize the fact that there is something more significant than ourselves. This step isn’t about believing in a God, per se, but about accepting the help that you need, and surrendering. You must agree that there is hope out there. Cynicism will get you nowhere.
While working through step 2, you don’t yet need to know what your higher power is, precisely. You must firmly believe that your thoughts and feelings aren’t representative of the whole picture—not by a long shot. It is about finding something that will motivate you and keep you going, and help you embrace the fact that you are here for a reason.
Moreover, this purpose should represent a personal goal that goes far beyond just being an alcoholic or addict. Remember, this is a spiritual program, not necessarily a religious one. That said, there is nothing wrong with holding a traditional understanding of God.
Getting Help for Alcoholism or Addiction
Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship that has helped millions of people over the last few decades recover from alcoholism and prevent relapse. This organization achieves this, in part, by promoting accountability to others and providing long-term emotional support to participants.
For many, however, support groups alone are not enough. Alcoholism is a chronic, lifelong disease, and therefore, people who suffer often benefit from intensive medical and psychological treatment.
Recovery by the Sea offers comprehensive, customized programs in both partial hospitalization and outpatient formats. We make use of evidence-based therapies, including, but not limited to, the following:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Individual and group counseling
- Peer group support
- Health and wellness education
- Substance abuse education
- Medication-assisted treatment
- Art and music therapy
- Aftercare planning
Contact us today if you or someone you love is struggling with alcoholism or the abuse of other substances. We help people who need it most restore sanity to their lives and break free from the cycle of addiction for life!
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