Step Two: Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity.
At an early age I came to believe that, if I tried hard enough and prayed long enough I could mend my relationships — and yours as well. In trying to be a a perfect friend, I didn't realize that perfection is not only impossible but is a sure way to neurosis.
Working with Step 2 has brought me a renewed understanding of God and God's will for me. I now realize that, in my early years, well-intentioned teachers and family members steered me onto a dangerous "moral" path, a path that caused me to stumble in my efforts at love and forgiveness. And it made the "fearless moral inventory" of Step 4 more difficult, too.
As I continue to grow into Step 2, I see forgiveness more sanely than I was conditioned to see it. The "moral high ground" I now seek makes forgiveness of myself and others a realizable goal.
Join us on November 12, when I will share more about these issues.
Step 2: Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
In reflecting on what I want to speak about on November 14, I felt grateful because a few new insights came to me.
My participation in our 12 Step Spirituality program at Colonial Church, with its focus on Step 11, began as a teacher of Centering Prayer. Inspired by the humility and honesty of the many folks who share their stories at Colonial, I began to feel safe enough to speak about my long history dealing with some self-defeating and relationship-harming qualities which might be called codependent.
On October 14, I want to speak about how, through wanting to be in control and in charge of my life, I painfully discovered the delusional quality of some of my efforts at showing love. I saw how faulty expectations of myself, which had become habitual, often stemmed from a false self that sought approval and affection. I needed, and then found, a new perspective, which came from realizing my self’s center is not in myself but in God.
The 12 Steps of AA are built on a trusting relationship with a Higher Power — because human resources alone are not enough to bring about the changes we need.
“To one who feels he is an atheist or agnostic such an experience seems impossible, but to continue as he is means disaster…. If a mere code of morals or a better philosophy of life were sufficient to overcome alcoholism, many of us would have recovered long ago. But we found that such codes and philosophies did not save us, no matter how much we tried…. Our human resources, as marshaled by the will, were not sufficient; they failed utterly…. We had to find a power by which we could live, and it had to be a Power greater than ourselves.” --Alcoholics Anonymous, fourth edition
Many of us in recovery today have accepted the challenge of discovering and relating to the “God of our understanding” as the 11th Step says: "Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.”
On May 9, I’ll present simple and everyday ways to practice this step throughout the day. I’ll share my belief in the power of these practices through one’s Higher Power. Folks who pray on a regular basis, and I define “prayer” broadly, will find some of these practices familiar.
I believe that to receive the fruit of these prayers you need at least two things:
I believe that there is one Supreme Deity Who continually lures seekers, from all of the world’s great cultures and faith traditions. A close look at those traditions reveals that there are many precepts for life and healing that they all hold in common.
Here is what my own Judeo-Christian tradition has to say about God’s promise to all people:
“Yes, I know what plans I have in mind for you. Plans for peace, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. When you call to me and come and pray to me, I shall listen to you. When you search for me, you will find me; when you search wholeheartedly for me, I shall let you find me.” --Jeremiah 29
As a Christian, I believe that Jesus’ saving works and invitation to salvation extend to all people of all times and all places. All people share a common destiny. The God of my understanding teaches that unconditional love is the highest and only supreme law; it is this God Who offers the power to love through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, all-inclusively.
“...and in that image there is no room for distinction between Greek and Jew, between the circumcised and uncircumcised, or between barbarian and Scythian, slave and free. There is only Christ: he is everything and he is in everything.” --Colossians 3:11
Whatever your faith tradition or spiritual orientation, I hope you will join me on May 9 to explore the 11th Step and how we can keep it alive in our minds and hearts all day long.