2. Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
As I turned the page of my workbook I was excited. I felt a sense of progress and accomplishment. I even noticed that the overwhelming feeling of anger had lessened. I carefully smoothed the page down, glasses on and pen in hand. My eyes may have seen the words but my heart felt them. I felt myself shatter. An immediate feeling of defeat and hopelessness blanketed me. The words “Higher Power” instantly stole the air from my lungs. It was a shock to feel this way as I had already known that this step was among the other 11. I had already prepared myself and made adjustments to avoid this feeling to avoid this very moment.
Yet as I turned the page and read the words all my preparations meant nothing. Merely replacing the thought of God and concentrating on the vague term Higher Power did not remove the blaring implication. Even the Al-Anon text I read would constantly refer to God and did not bother to hide behind the term Higher Power. Guilt rained down on me. The repetitious questions of “Why can’t you believe? Why DON’T you believe? What is wrong with me?!” Shame suffocated me. I gave into the inevitable flow of tears that found themselves escaping from within me. My body felt heavy and stripped of any strength.
I have tried! So many times I have tried. Am I supposed to fake it? To go through the motions and appear as if I have an unquestionable faith? This I feel would be worse than admitting… I don’t know!
I don’t know. That is my step two. It may not be what is necessarily intended but I must do what is best for me. I cannot give the power to a faith I lack and I cannot substitute or create some omnipotent being for the purpose of completing a step. I can, however, admit that I don’t know. I give up the delusion that I can do it on own. In step one, I realized, admitted and accepted that I was powerless. I feel step two, for me, is a continuation and a more depth approach to my journey. When I find myself in a difficult situation I will take a moment to remind myself that I don’t know how to fix everything. I must turn to something or someone else.Whether it be a friend, a fellow Al-Anon, a parent or even the unknown. I seek for assistance and relinquish my control.
Throughout the process of trying to better myself and repair the damage I will occasionally , if not often, need to rely on external help. It may be a shoulder to lean on or it may be the beauty of rain falling from the cloud filled sky. Each instance will present itself differently and I will recognize my desire and willingness to progress. Even if that means I will have to ask for help.
I was asked what word or words hold the most meaning to me in step two. Without hesitation my voice spoke the word “Restore.” The weight of that singular word for me is life changing. I remember a time when I was happy, truly happy, and joyous. when life was fun and I could appreciate the wonderful things that surround me.
For the past 15 years, I have been convinced that joy, gratitude, and peace were merely things expressed for the benefit of others. When someone asks “How are you?” Isn’t it just the trained response “I am good. How are you?” In most cases are you really good? Or is that just the response we give because to say otherwise would just be putting an uninvited complaint on the party politely inquiring. Regardless of if my eyes are swollen from a night of little to no sleep, my stomach burns from retching as a result of stress and if I can barely form a full thought… I will respond “I’m good as well. Thank you for asking.”
I truly believe there is an alternate version of my life that I could be living. A version where when I say I am good that I will mean it. It is up to only me to live this alternate life and I feel I am taking those steps now. I will take a moment to celebrate the positives of today and look forward the possibilities of tomorrow.
“The alcoholic cannot heal our wounds, neither can our willpower, quick-wittedness or perseverance.”
“Step two is about possibility and that is why it is about hope.”
“Living life based on fear … is not the way to do it.”
How Al-ANon Works for Families and Friends of Alcoholics. Page 48.
Paths to Recovery. Page 24.