The second step declares, “came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity”. We had turned to this step when we discovered the truisms from the first step; that our lives had become unmanageable and that we were powerless. For many years we had attempted to make changes in our lives. Utilizing different strategies, we ended up with the same results. We ended up back in the same hole with the same problems. In the program we learned to surrender and to admit our powerlessness. Instead of depending on our failed strategies, we asked our Higher Power for assistance. Then something miraculous began to happen. The more we were able to let go of controlling situations, the more positive the outcome. The more willing we were to let G-d drive the car, the smoother the trip began to be. Of course, we needed to test the waters. When we attempted to take back control, our lives started to become more unmanageable once again. When we allowed our egos to reclaim control, we lost our contact with our Higher Power. It was then that we realized that ego was little more than easing G-d out.
Personal Reflection: Who’s in charge today; G-d or me?
Many of us felt we were one of the hopeless cases. We had tried countless times to stop from giving into our addictions. We had oft repeated, “tomorrow will be better. I promise that this is my last one”. Our lives had become one long string of broken promises. Along the way we had deeply hurt many friends and family members. When we finally entered the program, all of that began to change. Miraculously, our obsession to use began to lift. Days of sobriety turned into weeks and then months. For the first time in a long time we felt that when we said, “tomorrow will be better”, we really believed it. Our hope grew as we began to mend all of those broken promises to ourselves and others. We began to truly be a trustworthy member of the community. In sobriety we discovered that there were still going to be a lot of dark moments. We also knew that during those times, we could tap into our inner light of hope.
Personal Reflection : How did I make contact with hope today?
Early on in our sobriety, many of us didn’t get this G-d or Higher Power thing. We claimed that given our track records, it was impossible for us to believe in a Higher Power. If there was a G-d, we had never seen him in our lives. How could G-d have allowed us to lose our spouses, get fired from jobs, suffer from sickness and face bankruptcy. If there was a G-d he certainly wasn’t a part of our lives.
In sobriety we have come to realize that our Higher Power was with us all along. As we recount our stories we begin to see that there were countless incidents of G-d’s intervention which we had chalked up to coincidence. Today, we think differently. We no longer believe in the law of accident. In fact, our experience has shown us that the more we pay attention to the travails of life, the more we see G-d’s hand. The more closely we listen, the more frequently we hear G-d talking to us through other people. We realize how blessed our lives truly are.
Personal Reflection: How can I create the space for G-d to enter my life?
Many of us came into the rooms dazed and confused. As we began to practice the principles of the program, our minds began to clear. At that point we came to realize that we barely had a clue as to who we truly were. While we were active in our addictions, we often exhibited a persona which was fueled by drugs and alcohol and other substances. Now that we were sober, we wanted to connect with who we truly were; our original self. The person we had been before we began to act out. For many of us this was a person we had “never found to begin with”. We were beyond blaming our parents, spouses, teachers, employers or friends for our situation. Our interest now was to connect with that beautiful person who had been lost so many years before. Many of us had to dig deep to reunite with that higher self. As we began to gain glimpses of that person, it helped us to move forward and connect on a deeper level to our authentic self. We had truly been found.
Personal Reflection: What parts of you still need to be found?
I recently heard a young women tell the following story about herself at one of my meetings:
At the time I was in my early twenties and was waiting in a hospital to go into a rehab. I was flooded with a lot of emotions and feelings. There was resentment over the fact that I had reached the point where a rehab was necessary. I had anger towards my family who were insisting on my going. There was fear about whether this time I would finally be able to stop using. A kindly man in the waiting room attempted to engage me in conversation. Feeling incredibly raw, talking to some middle aged guy was the last thing I wanted. I brusquely informed him that I wanted to be left alone. When he once again attempted to speak with me, I shouted “just leave me alone”. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a small flashlight. He smiled and said to me, “this is for you”. I angrily replied, “What the hell do I need that for”? In a soft voice he said, “this is for you when you have trouble seeing the light”. On that day I began my recovery journey.
Personal Reflection: What do you do to help others see the light?
Many of us have been practitioners of the blame game, rarely taking responsibility for our actions or for their results. Somehow, it was always another person, place or thing which was at fault. I couldn’t get somewhere because my car broke down. The fact that I hadn’t put oil in it for 20,000 miles was beside the point. I lost my job because my boss didn’t like me. The fact that I was late 20 times this month fails to get mentioned. You get the point
In program, we heard that “when you point your finger at someone else, you have three fingers pointing back at you”. Whenever we point our finger at someone else, we need to acknowledge those three fingers pointing back at us. Those fingers remind us to do some self-examination. We need to carefully examine our actions and see what our contribution to the event was. How did our character defects play a role in creating a problem? You also need to remember that when you point fingers, your thumb is always pointing upwards. I like to think that this is a reminder that you can always call upon your Higher Power for direction.
Personal Refection: Do I need to acknowledge my part?