Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is a 12-step program that helps you overcome your addiction to alcohol through reliance on a higher power. For most people, this means God, which might be associated with some sort of religion. For others, this just means spirituality in a more vague sense.
Step 2 requires you to believe in or be willing to believe in some sort of higher power. This higher power can be whatever you choose, whether it is God, a higher self, a natural force (the sun, the Earth, nature itself), or some other spiritual force.
The idea is that this higher power has the ability to restore balance and harmony to your life and remove your desire to drink.
For step 2 to work, you must be willing to surrender to your higher power in Step 3. This involves letting go of control and trusting that your higher power will guide you in the right direction.
The way you let go of control is to work the rest of the steps and keep working them for the rest of your life.
The Process of Step 2
Step 2 is really just a question: “Do I now believe, or am I even willing to believe, that there is a power greater than myself?”
If the answer is yes, then you have completed Step 2. It’s not until Step 3 that you actually make a decision to submit to that higher power.
Once you have committed to a higher power and have accepted your powerlessness over alcohol (Step 1), you can begin to develop a sense of hope and faith in the process of recovery.
If you can’t or won’t believe in a power greater than yourself, the rest of the steps will not work. The 12 Steps are a spiritual program and are centered on the idea that a higher power will remove the desire to drink or use.
The majority of the steps are focused on spiritual issues, not the issue of drinking or using drugs.
How to Apply Step 2 in Your Life
Applying Step 2 of Alcoholics Anonymous can be a difficult process, but it is essential to recovery through the 12 Steps. In many ways, it’s the basis for the rest of the program.
Coming to believe in a power greater than yourself is not really something that can be taught. You either believe, you are willing to believe, or you don’t believe. That’s it.
Some people find that, by praying, meditating, or simply talking to the higher power in whatever way feels comfortable, they are able to come to believe. Others find that when they see people recover through the 12 Steps, they are also able to believe.
Some people are never able to believe. The 12 Steps are not for them.
Benefits of Step 2
Step 2 of Alcoholics Anonymous is beneficial in many ways. It helps you move away from a state of shame and guilt toward a place of acceptance and faith.
The step also helps you to develop a sense of hope and motivation to move forward with your recovery.
After all, if you truly believe that a higher power can remove your alcoholism if you simply finish the rest of the steps, that can be a huge relief — you no longer have to fight the disease yourself.
In many ways, it’s a very freeing step.
Common Challenges Faced During Step 2
The process of Step 2 can be difficult, and there are many common challenges that you may face. One of the most common challenges is fear that you’ve done too much wrong in your life, that your higher power won’t forgive you.
You may feel scared to make a commitment to a higher power when you feel this way. This fear can lead to feelings of shame and guilt and can be a major obstacle to recovery. This is something that your sponsor can help you with. If you are religious, a religious leader may be able to help you.
For some people, they find that by changing religions or doing away with religion entirely, they are able to move past this problem.
Another common challenge is a lack of faith in a higher power and in the process of recovery. Some people are able to get past this by going to lots of meetings and seeing all the people who have recovered.
By listening to their stories, they get the proof they need that the 12 Steps work.
The Power of Faith
Depending on your spiritual or religious beliefs, Step 2 might require a large amount of faith. For others, not much faith is required.
For example, if all you need as proof of a higher power is to see that other people in AA have recovered, then you’re working the steps with some solid evidence in your mind that they really work.
For others who struggle with believing, just having faith that if they do what everyone else has done that they’ll get the same results can be enough.
Faith in the existence of and power of your higher power itself can also help immensely when life is hard, which is often the case for people who have hit rock bottom and are trying to get sober.
Faith in a higher power can provide you with the strength and courage to face the challenges of recovery.
Resources for Step 2
There are many resources available to help you with Step 2 of Alcoholics Anonymous, including meetings, your sponsor, religious and non-religious books, websites, religious and non-religious institutions, and social media groups.
All of these resources can provide you with the guidance and support you need to make a commitment to a higher power and accept your powerlessness over alcohol.
Remember, recovery is a journey. It’s okay if you are struggling with Step 2. For many in AA, continuing to go to meetings and work with a sponsor helped them to overcome this problem.
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