Click here to read the introduction to my 12 Step Series and find links to all of my 12 Step posts in one place as they become available.
Step Two: Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves
could restore us to sanity.
Step Two is about believing a Higher Power could be out there (if you don’t already believe it when you come into the program) and that this Higher Power could help you finally get off the “Crazy Carousel” – because do you really want to go another round on that thing? Let me be honest with you: Step Two was strangely hard for me. I had more than one complaint about this Step and I struggled.
Bone to Pick #1 – How dare you call me insane, Al-Anon! 😠
I was super annoyed with the use of the word “sanity” in Step Two. Oh, be still my ego…
My brain basically went straight into “Pity Party” mode:
“So they’re implying I’m insane just because I’m in Al-Anon? Isn’t that a little harsh?!! These Al-Anon people and their dramatic word choices…what’s the deal with this program? I came here because of all the crazy people in my life – not because I’m crazy!”
It was super early in my recovery and I wasn’t able to accept just yet how crazy my behaviors and thoughts had been my whole life. Also, I was a fantastic minimizer. Like medal-worthy, friend. My whole life I had been blaring the following thoughts on repeat:
- “Oh, it’s not that bad”
- “You know, so many people have it waaaaay worse than I do”
- “I’m totally fine!” Yeah, if by “totally fine” I meant traumatized to the point of emotional numbness…
As a grown woman with my own family, my very favorite lie was this one: “Nothing my crazy family did back then had the slightest effect whatsoever on me. I came through that shit-storm perfectly normal. THEY’RE the ones with the problems. I escaped without a scratch.” So when Al-Anon went as far as to suggest that I was actually crazy, I didn’t want to admit it. Don’t get me wrong – in my gut, I knew it was true…but it was really hard to accept. Who likes to see their long-held beliefs about themselves and their world turned inside out? No one, that’s who.
Bone to Pick #2 – So you’re saying I can’t do this all by myself, huh? 💪
Oh, the powerful sickness of the family disease of Alcoholism…
I thought that, if I gave up any control to anyone else, bad things would happen. I was Cassandra Kali – I had it all under control and I didn’t need any help from the freakin’ Creator of the Universe! Because I was super afraid that deal would involve some kind of scam – I’d have to be tested by this so called “Higher Power” and my kids would die just so the Higher Power could show me who was boss. (I seriously did think that.) It really came down to the fact that I didn’t feel safe enough to trust anyone…including a Higher Power. Remember, I hadn’t had an overflow of trustworthy and dependable people in my life. I had figured out that the only way to be safe was to remove the variable from the equation…and the variable was everyone else. And now I was being asked to hand it all over to an invisible “Guy in the Sky” to get better? Well, no. I wasn’t being asked to do that. Learning to trust anyone, omnipotent or not, is a process. Relationships take time and you can’t just jump into these things. (And if you are the kind of person who likes to jump into relationships, you may want to ask yourself why – then find a meeting for that or something.)😉
Bone to Pick #3 – There’s nothing here to restore… 😞
Restore. It means to bring something back to its previous glory, right? When I thought about this word in Step Two, I kept thinking:
“But I can’t be restored…if everything I learned in Step One is true and my life has always been unmanageable, then what is there to restore in me? I’ve never been okay. I’ve never been healthy or whole. ‘Restoration’ is a joke for me.”
It felt like an oversight that no one had picked up on – like maybe I was too far gone to be helped. Was someone going to tell me that I actually couldn’t be in the “Alcoholism Haters Club” because I was too much of a mess? I didn’t know this Step was really saying that my Higher Power could introduce me to sanity and peacefulness for the first time in my life. I didn’t realize the word “restore” was talking about every part of me (including my broken-to-pieces heart) being repaired and rebuilt to fit my Higher Power’s plan for my life. No prior sanity required.
So then what happened?
Okay, so I was starting to feel desperate (because – seriously – who has such a hard time with Step Two?!?) and I did all kinds of stuff to try to make some progress:
- Looked up definitions for words like “Power,” “Believe,”& “Restore”
- Searched Al-Anon literature for references to Step Two & Higher Power
- Journaled & walked in nature trying to connect to my Higher Power
- Made a list of everything I believed in – now that’s an interesting exercise if you want to give it a try some day…
… and that’s when I made a discovery! I realized that it wasn’t a lack of belief that was my problem because I believed in all sorts of stuff…it was a lack of faith. And by faith, I mean the certainty-down-deep-in-your-gut-kind-of-trust that allows you to move forward in life instead of backing away in fear from all the best life has to offer. The absolute confidence that you are loved, cared for, and never forgotten. When I came into Al-Anon, I had been living without faith for a long time. (No wonder I’d been feeling so hopeless and incredibly lonely.)
Faith and fear have an inverse relationship in my world. The more I let my fear run the show, the less I am able to hold onto any faith. But the more I intentionally move forward with faith, the less of a nuisance my fear becomes. And I get it: it’s abstract and kinda weird sounding. But talk nerdy to me for a minute…isn’t there a point in every great fantasy when the hero is asked to take a leap of faith and trust in something that he or she might not even believe in at first?!? Step Two is asking you to believe this is a possibility – that a Higher Power could really help you find a way to walk through life with peace and hope instead of fear and worry. Step Two is the first baby step on the journey to belief and trust and faith. When Step Two uses the words “came to believe,” it’s not telling you to flip a switch and have faith so you can check it off your “To Do” list. Not at all. The words “came to believe” are about a progression, a process if you will…sounds familiar, right? Because faith requires trust and trust requires time.
Faith requires trust and trust requires time. Higher Power relationships are a process. @cassandrakali #acoa #alanon #steptwo #higherpower Click here to Tweet it out!
And if you’re reading this post thinking that all of this Higher Power stuff sounds like a stretch…that’s okay. It’s where you are right now and that’s fine. But make me a promise: If you can’t come to believe, can you just keep coming back? To your 12 Step Meeting and this blog…because I’m definitely not going anywhere – and it’s okay to not have it all figured out right now (I certainly don’t).
You know, I used to believe in lots of different things which is fine (I still do) but beliefs don’t warm my heart and keep my soul cozy. But faith? Faith gives my soul a cuddled-up-under-the-blanket-next-to-the-fireplace-with-a-book kind of cozy feeling.
Today I have faith in a Power Greater than me, my pain, my fear, my worry, my mistakes, and my brokenness. A Power Greater than alcoholism and addiction and all its painful effects. A Power Greater than you. And I hope you know or get introduced to your Power Greater because that “Crazy Carousel” is too much for you to stop on your own…and life is way better when you quit spinning in the aftermath of a childhood shaped by alcoholism.
Thanks for being here, friend. 💖
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