“Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”
1. We're now going to formally go through the Second Step.
2. In Part 1 of R.A.'s Step Presentation you read and discussed the chapter "We Agnostics" in R.A.'s Multilith Big Book. Therefore, you have read all the reasons why the pioneers "think it more sane and logical to believe than not to believe" in a Power greater than ourselves who can restore us to sanity.
3. Some people may still say that they don't understand God, they don't accept God; God isn't there for them. However, time has proven that this program will work for the atheist, for the agnostic, for anybody of any belief, or lack of belief.
4. In R.A.'s Multilith Big Book on page 21, in the second full paragraph it says:
"Much to our relief, we discovered we did not need to consider another’s conception of God. Our own conception, however inadequate, was sufficient to make the approach and to effect a contact with Him. As soon as we admitted the possible existence of a Creative Intelligence, A Spirit of the Universe underlying the totality of things, we began to be possessed of a new sense of power and direction, provided we took other simple steps. We found that God does not make hard terms with those who seek Him. To us, the Realm of Spirit is broad, roomy, all inclusive; never exclusive or forbidding. It is open, we believe, to all men."
5. If you still cannot admit the possible existence of a Creative Intelligence, A Spirit of the Universe underlying the totality of things, we can only suggest that you go back and re-read the chapter "We Agnostics" in R.A.'s Multilith Big Book.
6. If you do believe, or are at least willing to believe that there is a Power greater than yourself, you are ready to formally go through Step Two.
7. To do this, the pioneers ask that we move beyond a simple belief in a Higher Power. They ask that we come to believe in a very specific Higher Power, a Power greater than ourselves who can and will restore us to sanity.
8. This requires a change in the way many people look at God and at their own lives.
9. This can be difficult for some people.
10. In R.A.'s Multilith Big Book, on page 5, in the fifth paragraph, Bill Wilson writes:
"With ministers, and the world’s religions, I parted right there. When they talked of a God personal to me, who was love, superhuman strength and direction, I became irritated and my mind snapped shut against such a theory."
11. The Second Step asks that we consider that there is a God personal to us, a God who is love, superhuman strength and direction, a God who cares about us enough to restore us to sanity, a God who can and will actually restore us to sanity.
12. The Second Step also asks that we accept that our past behavior has been insane. Most of us don't like that word. But, it doesn't necessarily mean a certifiable or state hospital type of insanity.
13. In R.A.'s Multilith Big Book, on page 17, starting in the middle of the sixth paragraph, it says:
“However intelligent we may have been in other respects, where alcohol has been involved, we have been strangely insane. It's strong language—but isn't it true?”
14. This means that someone who drinks more than they want to is not acting in his or her own best interest. Someone who wants to be a healthy weight and is eating more food than is necessary to be at that weight is not acting in his or her own best interest. Someone who goes through extreme emotional swings is not acting in his or her own best interest.
15. We can be perfectly sane in some areas, but when it comes to certain aspects of our lives, we don't react in our own best interest. Somebody who does not react in his or her own best interest is not sane. An act that hurts you or others is an insane act. This is the type of insanity that the program refers to.
16. One of R.A.'s members shares:
"I was obsessed with how, when, and where I was going to hurt myself or others. Then I came into program and switched obsessions. I became obsessed with how, when, and where I DIDN'T hurt others or myself. What was the difference? For me there wasn't any. I still had the same disease, and my behavior was just as insane."
17. If we don't see that all the extremes of behavior, all the hurtful things we did, were insane, how can we recognize that we need to be restored to sanity?
18. If we don't first recognize the INSANITY, then how can we come to believe that a Power greater than ourselves is going to RESTORE us to sanity?
19. So, implicit in this step is the recognition and the admission that our behavior up to this point has been insane.
20. We can then recognize that, since we are powerless, we do not have the ability to restore our own sanity. We have to have God's help. God has to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves.
21. In R.A.'s Multilith Big Book on page 23, in the fifth full paragraph it says:
"When we saw others solve their problems by simple reliance upon the Spirit of this universe, we had to stop doubting the power of God. Our ideas did not work. But the God idea did."
22. The fact that the pioneers recovered is the basis for our faith that the program will work for us. Their example gives us the faith we need to start working the steps.
23. This is not blind faith. It is faith by example.
24. One of R.A.'s members shares:
"There's the story about a man who is running blindly through the night, and in the pitch blackness, goes over the edge of a cliff. On the way down he somehow manages to grab onto a branch which is protruding from the face of the cliff. And hanging onto that branch, he starts calling for help, getting no answer.
"Eventually, he starts calling for God to help, and in time a voice rumbles down and asks, 'DO YOU BELIEVE IN ME?' And he answers, 'Yes, yes, I believe.' And the voice rumbles down and says, 'DO YOU HAVE COMPLETE FAITH IN ME?' And he says, 'Yes, God, yes, I have complete faith in You.' And the voice rumbles down, 'DO YOU HAVE TOTAL TRUST IN ME?' And he says, 'Yes, God, yes, I have total trust in You.' And the voice rumbles down again, 'IF YOU BELIEVE IN ME, IF YOU HAVE FAITH IN ME, IF YOU TRUST ME, THEN LET GO.'
"Looking down and seeing only the pitch black beneath his feet, he looks up again and yells, 'Is there anyone else up there?'
"There's no answer. But somehow, in agony, he manages to hold onto that branch all through the night. His arms are being wrenched out of their sockets. He's in excruciating pain, but somehow he manages to hold on.
"Then in the growing light of dawn, he looks down and sees that the ground is just six inches beneath his feet. If he actually had the belief, the faith, the trust that he had professed to have, and if he had let go, he would have landed just six inches down and been safe.
"But that would have required blind faith, and our program does not work on blind faith.
"Picture, if you will, two people running blindly through that night, two people going off the edge of the cliff, two people hanging from that branch, and when God says, 'LET GO,' one of them does let go, and lands six inches down.
"He then walks over to his friend who is still hanging from the branch and pokes him. He says, 'Hey, the ground is only six inches down. You can let go!' The chances are that the same person who would not let go with blind faith, IS going to let go now, because he has faith by example. He has the example of the person who let go before him.
"Once he lets go, and lands safely only six inches down, he has the strongest faith of all. He has faith by experience."
25. This is how Recoveries Anonymous works. First, when we are new to R.A. we start out with blind faith. Then, when we read about the people who wrote the Big Book, when we hear the people who have worked the program successfully, when we see those who have let go absolutely and have recovered, we have faith by example. Finally, when R.A. works for us, we have the strongest faith of all. We have faith based on our own experience.
26. In R.A.'s Multilith Big Book, on page 11, in the eighth paragraph, starting in the third sentence, it says:
“But we saw that it really worked in others, and we had come to believe in the hopelessness and futility of life as we had been living it. When, therefore, we were approached by those in whom the problem had been solved, there was nothing left for us but to pick up the simple kit of spiritual tools laid at our feet.”
27. The spiritual tools laid at our feet are the Twelve Steps.
28. It is very important to remember that the Big Book was not written as a theoretical exercise in what the pioneers hoped might someday help an alcoholic. It was written as an explicit instruction manual containing "clear-cut directions." The Big Book was based on the pioneers' years of experience; what they believed would work for others because they had actually gone through it, and it HAD worked for them. They left out what didn't work.
29. In R.A., we want the program that's in this book, the one that produces the recovery described in the "Hidden Promises."
30. In R.A.'s Multilith Big Book on page 38, starting with the last line of the fifth full paragraph, it says:
"Love and tolerance of others is your code.
"And you have ceased fighting anything or anyone—even alcohol. For by this time your sanity will have returned. You will seldom be interested in liquor. If tempted, you will recoil from it as you would from a hot flame. You will react sanely and normally. You will find this has happened automatically. You will see that your new attitude toward liquor has been given you without any thought or effort on your part. It just comes! That is the miracle of it. You are not fighting it, neither are you avoiding temptation. You feel as though you had been placed in a position of neutrality. You feel safe and protected. You have not even sworn off. Instead, the problem has been removed. It does not exist for you. You are neither cocky nor are you afraid. That is our experience. That is how we react so long as we keep in fit spiritual condition."
31. In R.A., we want the recovery where our "sanity has returned," the recovery that allows us to "react sanely and normally" in the same situations that used to baffle us. We want the recovery that promises that our "problem has been removed."
32. If we're willing to do what this program says to do, we can get the results that this program promises. The result of formally going through these steps is that we no longer hurt ourselves or others. That is nothing less than a miracle.
33. In R.A.'s experience, the reason some of us didn't get these results is not because there was anything wrong with the program. It was because we were not working THIS program. We did not follow the pioneers' "clear-cut directions" from R.A.'s Multilith Big Book.
34. Formally going through the steps involves a mental process, an attitude change, demonstrated by a willingness to go from saying; “No, never!” to “yes” or “maybe.”
35. In other words, as we previously read in the middle of page 108, in the 12 & 12:
“This I cannot do today, perhaps, but I can stop crying out “No, never!”
36. In R.A.'s Multilith Big Book, on page 21, the fourth full paragraph says:
“You need ask yourself but one short question. "Do I now believe, or am I even willing to believe, that there is a Power greater than myself?" As soon as a man can say that he does believe, or is willing to believe, we emphatically assure him that he is on his way. It has been repeatedly proven among us that upon this simple cornerstone a wonderfully effective spiritual structure can be built."
37. Please open R.A.'s Step Presentation Workbook to page 16. Please look at the box labeled Step Two on R.A.'S STEP WORKSHEET “A.”
38. Do you now believe that there is a Power greater than yourself?
a. If you do believe that there is a Power greater than yourself, then circle “yes.”
b. If you have come to believe that maybe, someday, simply because this program exists, because you have the example of it working for others, that maybe, someday, possibly, it will work for you, then circle “maybe.” If you now believe you may eventually become willing to believe in a Power greater than yourself, then you can also circle “maybe.”
c. If you believe that defiance, disbelief and control are going to work for you, then circle “no.”
39. The second part of this step involves the same mental process as the first.
a. If you now believe that God can, and will, restore you to sanity, then circle “yes.”
b. If you believe, or can come to believe, simply because this program promises it, that maybe someday, even if it's 5 or 10 years from now, God will restore you to sanity, then circle “maybe.”
c. If you believe that you are unique, that this program will not work for you, and that, in spite of all the evidence to the contrary, you can restore yourself to sanity, or, if you want to stay in the insanity, then circle “no.”
40. Please notice that these thoughts are being weighed quite heavily. The point is to go for that ATTITUDE change, from “No, never!” to “yes” or “maybe.” That is all that is required to take this step.
41. If you have circled the “yes” or the “maybe,” you have taken the Second Step in thoroughly following the pioneers' path to recovery.
42. The Second Step is the first promise of this program. It says that we will come to believe that a Power greater than ourselves CAN and WILL restore us to sanity. And sane people don't do things to hurt themselves or others.
43. If you still don't believe that God can restore you to sanity, that is all right. You will come to this belief as the result of the remaining steps. At this point, all you need is an open mind and the willingness to experiment, the willingness to move on and complete the rest of the steps.
44. When you can go from saying, “No, God will not restore me to sanity, God will not relieve the obsession, God will never work that way in MY life…I'm unique,” to saying “yes” or “maybe,” you will have taken this step.
45. Next, we suggest that you keep following Dr. Bob's example, and, if possible, immediately continue on by formally going through Step Three.
Please use R.A.'s Questions and Answers Forum to ask any questions or make any comments about any of this.