Step 2 & Step 3
We came to believe in a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
The first Spiritual Principle found in the Second Step is Hope.
“OK, so I’m insane. Now what?,” You ask? In Step Two, we are offered hope that we too, can get better. Hope is a belief in something that is possible. It doesn’t mean that by working this step we will be instantly restored to sanity. It means that if we continue to stay clean and sober and work the rest of the steps, that we could be restored to sanity. That sounds like a pretty good idea! How do we be restored?
We begin by continuing to practice the Open-mindedness and willingness we learned in the First Step. Open-minded to the idea that this Power does exist and there’s hope for us and a way out of this crazy life we’d been living. Using the Willingness from Step One, we can begin trying to rely on this Power. We show our willingness by going to meetings, taking the suggestions and listening to other’s experience and how they dealt with similar situations. We then begin applying those solutions to our own problems and stop doing the crazy things we were used to doing.In the First Step we learned that we were addicts and or alcoholics and that our lives had become unmanageable as a result. In the Second Step, we come to learn that the answer to this unmanageability is a Power greater than ourselves. It doesn’t say God. Just a Power greater than ourselves.
The next Spiritual Principle is Faith. Faith in this sense doesn’t mean a religious conviction. In fact, there is nothing religious about the 12 Steps of Recovery. Spiritual, yes, religious no. Faith in this sense means we can “act as if.” “Acting as if” doesn’t mean lying to our sponsor or others, or doing things to look good or sound good. In this sense, it means living our lives in a way that we believe we have already been restored to sanity. After taking suggestions and applying these new answers to our life we start to have a little faith that things will be ok and they will work out for us too, if we work for them.
Following Faith comes Trust. Now trust may be something new to us, something we may never have had before; except when we went to the dope man and gave him some cash and trusted him to come back with a little bag full of drugs. But now that we’re clean and sober, we have to re-learn how to trust in a Power greater than ourselves. We do that first by trusting what others are telling us is true, that they’ve been clean and sober for x-amount of time; that they have some joy in their lives today; they believe in us and want to help us for nothing in return. We can learn to trust in the process of recovery.
Finally, having a little more humility that we practiced in the First Step, will help us here, as well. Our best thinking was what got us here, to this treatment center or to our first meeting, or to jail or the hospital. By realizing that we can’t do this alone, we become humble enough to throw our hands up in surrender and ask for help. We ask others who have gone before us for help. We ask a Power greater than ourselves for help. We learn to become reliant upon this Power and get the evidence we need to go on to Step Three.
We made a decision to turn our will and lives over to the care of God, as we understood Him.
Picture this: There are three frogs on a log. One makes a decision to jump off. How many frogs are left on the log? Three! One only made a decision to jump off. In Step Three we find out about making the decision to let go and let God.
“Our will and lives,” What does this mean? Our will are our thoughts, our lives are our actions. In other words, our will and thoughts also means our obsession. Our lives and actions is the compulsion. When we were drinking and drugging, we were constantly thinking about using, OBSESSING, especially the times in between. The compulsion is the inability to stop using once we’ve begun. Thus begins the vicious cycle of obsession and compulsion. By the time we’ve reached Step Three, the desire to drink and drug has hopefully been lifted. If not, then this is the step we take to be relieved of this fatal behavior.The first Spiritual Principle behind the Third Step is Faith. In Step Two, we were introduced to the idea of Power greater than ourselves, and began relying upon that Power to restore us to sanity. We started to believe that this Power had our backs; we were given evidence. This Power was proving Itself on a regular basis, meeting our needs and maybe even answering a prayer or two. In Step Three, we build upon this little bit of faith even further.
“The care of God, as we understood Him,” God can and WILL relieve this obsession and compulsion. All we have to do is ask. An easy prayer may be something like this: “God, please take my will and my life, guide me in my recovery, show me how to live.” (NA Third Step Prayer) If we have a puppy and go away for the weekend, we trust our neighbor will feed, love and walk our dog, in other words TAKE CARE. God is no different!
We start turning our will and lives over by Surrendering. The next Spiritual Principle in Step Three. We continue to build on the Surrender we practiced in Steps One and Two. Getting out of God’s way, allowing Him to work in our live, this is Letting Go! What a great place to be, in a state of Surrender, allowing a loving, caring God to take care of us.
Once again, Willingness is a big part of the Third Step, as well. Isn’t it wonderful how each Spiritual Principle we learn in the previous step, helps us with the next step? We can be that frog that jumps off the log! We continue to show our willingness by letting go and letting God.
Next, a little bit of Hope from Step One, turned to Faith in Step Two and now in Step Three, we begin to Trust. The rewards of recovery are evident. Maybe we’re employable for the first time in a long time. Our wives, husbands and children talk to us! We have folding money in our pocket! Things are looking good! We smell better, look better and most of all, FEEL better. The God of our understanding has been taking care of us, and we can Trust Him and the people whose suggestions we’d been following. Our lives can only continue to improve from this point forward, as long we as we make healthy decisions based upon Hope, Faith and Trust.
Finally, the Spiritual Principle of Commitment plays a big part in the Third Step. We must continue to have Faith, our needs are being met. Trust in the process of recovery and taking action by working the rest of the steps and continuing to let go, on a constant basis. Remember, our way does not work! God has great plans for us, if we let Him.