Monday, July 26, 2004

Step Two: Higher Power

To see my other stepwork online visit Index of Stepwork.

Step Two: Came to believe that a Power greater than myself could restore me to sanity.

Before I start this step I am going to invite the Goddess into this:

Good Morning Goddess Brigit, my name is Andy and I am an alcoholic. I have been kept sober since Imbolc, 2001 by Your grace and Your grace alone. I’d like to thank You, my Higher Power for this my daily reprieve. Today is a good day to be sober.

Please, Gracious Goddess, be with me today all day long and help me to stay sober all day long. Show me Your will for me and grant me the power to carry that out. Thy will not mine be done. Blessed Be!

The way things are today, this step is easy, almost reflexive. I do believe in a Power greater than myself that can restore me to sanity. Some days I have more belief than others. Other days I am more in touch with that Power than others. I know I am not all here, so I know that I am not fully sane when left on my own, so I have no quarrel with that part of step two. If I do, I can look back over my step one writings and work and see that yes, I do need to be restored to sanity.

One note about Higher Powers: using an AA group as a Higher Power can work for a while—I do believe that, and I am evidence of that. I think, however, that in the long term, that does not work. Sooner or later you come to realize that your Higher Power is a roomful of people who are just as powerless as you are when it comes to alcohol. That’s when you need something bigger than a human as a Higher Power. Just my two cents—take it or leave it, your choice.

When I first entered Alcoholics Anonymous it did not work that way. I called myself an agnostic and could proudly recite the etymology of the word along with the history of the gentleman who coined it. But that was a lie, because I did believe in God. The God I believed in was a hateful, wrathful, judgmental God (Similar to the one in the Left Behind series). I thought of God as being malicious and hateful. This God put us here to torment us; he gave us brains to know and understand our suffering. There was no redemption.

God it seemed, had taken a personal interest in destroying my life. I really believe that.

My first sponsor had me read all of the those wonderful passages in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous about the second step, but I really did not understand any of that. I will go through those passages here at some point, but for now all I want to relate is that none of the things I was reading made sense to me.

My sponsor told me that I was a smart guy and I started to feel all proud because I thought, even as bad off as I am, people can still see I am smart! My sponsor then went on to say that being smart was a bad thing because the program of Alcoholics Anonymous was not something you figured out or understood, it was something you felt. He told me that smart people tended to overanalyze the program and they usually wound up drunk. That frightened me because I already assumed that I could not do step two.

I remember well the next thing my sponsor told me, because he repeated it to me constantly and I think it saved my life.

The only things I needed to complete step two, he told me, were honesty, willingness and an open mind.

He also told me that if I could not be completely honest, that was okay, just do the very best I could. If I could not be completely open minded, fine, just keep trying. Willingness was the start of the whole deal.

Are you willing to work the program of Alcoholics Anonymous? Yes, yes I am.

Are you willing to try to find a Higher Power? Yes I am.

Are you willing to get on your knees in the morning and pray, even if you don’t know what is listening to your prayers, if anything is listening, pray to be kept sober for today? Yes. I can do that.

And at night, are you willing to pray and say Thank You for keeping me sober today? I can do that.

Okay, he said, that’s it. You have completed step two for the time being. That’s all that is required is that you make and effort, do the best you can. Don’t worry he said. You’re doing fine. You aren’t thinking about it. You’re trying to feel it. I have a good feeling about you.

I am still willing to do all of those things. I still do all of those things. Last time I checked I was like 1,450 days sober, over three and a half years without a drink. Those things seem to be working for me. I like the life I have now. I think I will keep doing them. Who knows? Maybe I’ll wake up sober again tomorrow.