Step two of the Big Book, the foundation of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and later Narcotics Anonymous (NA), suggests people should believe in more than just themselves. Step two states, “We came to believe that a power greater than us can restore to sanity.” The idea here is the belief in a higher power beyond what we can see. The big book isn’t implying if you don’t believe in God then you are insane. Rather it suggests humbling yourself towards this new outlook in your recovery.
Step Two: Higher Power
The backbone to step two — the idea that a higher power can restore sanity — suggests that we open our minds, either religion-based or spiritual-based, and embrace a higher power. Think of this step as a tool to contemplate how its mere existence can alter your outlook, relationships, and life.
Think about what a higher power means to you. Indeed, attending AA or NA groups can provide you a sense of spirituality and support, but so can activities like surfing, spending time in nature, reading, and being creative. So how do you define spirituality as personal?
Step two encourages you to build on what you learned in step one. For example, in step one, you accept you are powerless. Step two bridges off of step one by accepting you can’t recover independently; you need some form of help. Your version of a higher power can aid you in your recovery.
A higher power is defined as a spirit (or god) that has divine power over people’s lives and nature. This definition, however, is subjective. Bill W., the co-founder of AA, found he could accept the concept of a higher power if it did not connect spiritual belief and religion. AA specifies that it isn’t affiliated with any sect, politics, denomination, organization, or institution.
Your own definition of spirituality means you receive something in return from your devotion to your practice — for example, yoga aids in connecting the mind and body. When you practice yoga, you learn to interpret messages from your body and quiet your mind. Quieting your mind gives you the time to process feelings of stress, anxiety, anger, and depression.
We are all individually responsible for finding and connecting with our spirituality. Let’s say you engage in detoxification, inpatient, or outpatient program. During a therapy session, your therapist may ask you to think about what makes you tick, or how you connect with yourself. The best answer would be what brings the most joy, peace, and purpose to your life.
Unfortunately, addiction often leads to a lack of joy, peace, and purpose. A comprehensive substance addiction program can change that through alternative therapies that encourage you to explore what makes you happy. Throughout your treatment, you will work with a therapist in private and group settings to find ways to implement these practices into your life. When you integrate healthy habits into your daily routine, you use spirituality to aid your recovery. So when you consider what a higher power can restore, think about how you can incorporate spirituality with a lasting recovery.
A 12-step program will help repair the damage caused by addiction to both you and those around you. Remember, step two doesn’t mean you’re insane. The behaviors you display, mixed with an impaired and negative mindset, are a result of addiction and not indicative of your mental state. Belief and acceptance in a higher power in recovery will help you “restore sanity.”
Damaged relationships come with the territory of substance addiction. Your words and actions can cause pain, anger, or resentment in both yourself and others. Only with a 12-step program can your loved ones begin to express their emotions in a healthy environment. Step two of AA or NA enables you to assess your behaviors and recognize the damage caused by your substance addiction.
While processing your actions, look within yourself. Consider how you mistreated yourself through self-destruction. Recognizing, accepting, and changing your thoughts will restore — or instill for the first time — a sense of self-worth.
Finding a higher power that resonates with you will help you discover a better version of yourself. “Sanity” occurs when you accept sobriety as a process, not a means to an end; sobriety ebbs and flows. For example, there are days when you are balanced in yoga and when you are tasked with finding balance. Each day is an opportunity for improvement by accepting where you are, where you want to go, and how embracing step two can get you there.
The twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous ask you to accept that you are on the path of improvement, trust, and faith within yourself. When you reach step two of the big book, the twelve steps, you begin to reflect on how a higher power can help restore sanity in your life. Rather than recommending a belief in a literal higher power, step two merely asks you to recognize that a higher power exists and can lead to accepting help. While you begin step two, ask yourself what can restore sanity in your life. Perhaps, the beginning of restoring sanity is entering a detox program. Alta Centers is a private substance addiction treatment center focused on our patient’s individual needs. We are a six-bed facility where you can immerse yourself in a serene environment while you heal and embrace your form of spirituality. To learn more, call (888) 202-2583.