“Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity”
Step Two introduces us to the long-term solution to recovering from addiction and paves the way for it in Steps Three through Twelve. That solution is accepting help from a source greater than ourselves.
You may ask why you can’t go through this process by yourself without asking for help. Well, has your behavior gotten out of control? Have you tried to quit before and found yourself unable to stop drinking alcohol or using drugs? Have you experienced negative consequences from your alcohol and drug addiction, but continue to use anyway?
If you answered yes to any of those questions you should be able to come to a difficult and important conclusion – you are not capable of helping yourself and need to find something more powerful than you.
Addiction is a perilous disease that often leads individuals down a path of insanity. It causes individuals to do things they wouldn’t normally do, think thoughts they normally wouldn’t think, or have emotions they normally wouldn’t feel.”
Many times in my addiction, I did things that were markedly insane. I think back to the writing on the wall. We all know that only crazy people write on walls.”
– Eliza P., former addict
While some addicts don’t feel as though they are insane and may resist help because they feel they don’t need to be “restored to sanity,” insanity can be explained through the “addict’s definition”—insanity is doing the same things over and over, but expecting different results; therefore his or her behavior is insane.
Step Two is a step of hope for a return to the happy and healthy lifestyle we once had. It builds faith that a higher power can help restore us to sanity and allow us to continue through the Steps toward addiction recovery. The book of Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions explains, “Step Two is the rallying point for all of us. Whether agnostic, atheist, or former believer, we can stand together on this Step.” Even though this mentions individuals of all beliefs, some addicts struggle with the idea of looking to “a Power great than ourselves” to help restore us to sanity. This is because the “Power” at first glance refers to God, and not everyone is on the same religious path. It is important to remember that 12 Step programs are spiritual, not religious.
“Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over the care of God as we understood Him.”
The most widely used version of the 12 Step methodologies is the Christian 12 Steps to Recovery. In the Christian 12 Steps, the key to Step Three is recognizing that God cares for us and by handing our lives over to Him we trust his path for us—He will guide us to a life of happy and healthy sobriety.
Step Three is the building block for Steps Four through Twelve. If you find yourself not ready to hand over your life to the care of your higher power, you may need to go back and take another look at Step One and Two.
Step Three for the Non-Christian Addict
While the most recognized version of the 12 Steps involves God as the “power greater than ourselves,” there are still individuals struggling with addiction that have trouble accepting God in their lives, and that’s okay.
Like we mentioned in Step Two, “God” in Step Three can be defined by whatever you value as your “higher power,” i.e. friends, family, a sponsor, alcohol and drug addiction treatment professionals, etc. Step Three is less about accepting God and more about truly handing your life over to the care of someone else – someone that cares about your well-being and is willing and ready to help see you through to addiction recovery.
For those that choose to not take the spiritual path it is important to remember that believing in God and understanding God are not necessary to successfully engage in the recovery process. As an individual struggling with addiction you merely need to admit to the severity of your problem and be willing to accept help from others.