aa step 2

Step Two Of Alcoholics Anonymous: Broken Down & Explained

“Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” 

Step Two has a specific target in its crosshairs: the mind. 

On page 23 of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous this is abundantly clear. It states, 

“Therefore, the main problem of the alcoholic centers in his mind, rather than in his body. If you ask him why he started on that last bender, the chances are he will offer you any one of a hundred alibis. Sometimes these excuses have a certain plausibility, but none of them really makes sense in the light of the havoc an alcoholic’s drinking bout creates. They sound like the philosophy of the man who, having a headache, beats himself on the head with a hammer so that he can’t feel the ache.”

Something has gone haywire in the old cranial operating system and it needs immediate attention. 

You can take a deeper dive into the “problem that centers in the mind” here, here, and here.

However, the gist is this:

Every time you try to quit you invariably convince yourself to pick back up again. Sound familiar?

Additionally, once you do pick back up your body produces a craving that drives you to continue drinking or using until you end up in jail, an institution, or die. Does this sound near and dear?

The fact is this: if you can nip the mental aspect in the bud, then you don’t have to worry about the cravings of the body. 

This sounds easy, right?

Well, no. A sick mind cannot heal itself, therein lies the problem.

Step Two Is The Solution

Step 2 is specifically designed for this purpose: healing the sick mind. A sick mind is powerless to heal itself – that’s the basic premise. Actually, the entirety of the Big Book appears to be tailored to this specific purpose. 

“Lack of power, that was our dilemma. We had to find a power by which we could live, and it had to be a Power greater than ourselves. Obviously. But where and how were we to find this Power? Well, that’s exactly what this book is about. Its main object is to enable you to find a Power greater than yourself which will solve your problem.”

As The Cause

The second step begins by targeting the core concepts of “belief” and “Higher Power.”

The authors of A Program For You define belief as a cause, as in that which sets something in motion. 

It’s a belief that appears justified, but personally, no evidence has been experienced. 

For example, if I drive 150 miles to visit my brother in an unknown state and unfamiliar community and my car breaks down, what do I rely on? 

Well, a quick go-to would be to use my brother’s mechanic.

My brother has faith in this guy.

Why?

Because his belief is justified – each time he has brought his car into the shop the result has been immaculate. 

All I have to go on is my brother’s faith. I personally, have zero faith in the mechanic but I do have faith in my brother, so I believe the mechanic can get the job done. 

This type of belief brings the car into the shop.

When the mechanic does a killer job I now have personal evidence justifying my belief, namely, I have faith in the mechanic.

“Belief is the cause,” they say, “faith is the result.”

step two belief versus faith

So, metaphorically speaking, Step Two is merely asking thay you bring your car into the shop.

Opening The Door Ever So Slightly

To put it another way, the verb “believe” can mean “to allow.” 

That is, you are allowing the mechanic to wrench on your car. Same difference, but with a little more weight behind it in my opinion. 

To leave the land of analogies, being restored to sanity is the result of allowing something into your consciousness other than your own stinking thinking.

Brilliant, right?

So simple, so obvious if you’re looking you’d miss it. 

This “something” that you need to allow is a perspective – nothing more and nothing less. 

And what is the composition of this shift in perception? (Check out this article on my concept of “the shift”)

It’s starting with something greater than yourself. 

The Big Book is far more blunt than I. Look at the urgent language the original writers employed:

“If, when you honestly want to, you find you cannot quit entirely, or if when drinking, you have little control over the amount you take, you are probably alcoholic. If that be the case, you may be suffering from an illness which only a spiritual experience will conquer. To one who feels he is an atheist or agnostic such an experience seems impossible, but to continue as he is means disaster, especially if he is an alcoholic of the hopeless variety. To be doomed to an alcoholic death or to live on a spiritual basis are not always easy alternatives to face.”

This spiritual experience as noted is the result of allowing something new into your consciousness.

““Do I now believe, or am I even willing to believe,that there is a Power greater than myself?’’

This is the only request Step Two is making. It’s not even asking you to “allow” this new information into your neural network just yet, it just asks for willingness (read here for the power of willingness).

Certainly takes the pressure off. 

It counts on the rigorous honesty of Step One to arrive at the necessity of something new. 

For example:

Let’s say I am a football coach and my team, well, hasn’t been performing so hot. Each year, game in and game out, is to put it lightly, totally disastrous. 

The games are not even close. They’re colossal failures. 

Nonetheless, usually, there is one game during the season that my team absolutely kills it. 

And that’s basically all I focus on…

“Sure, we may have lost 13 games straight but did you see game 14? That was one hell of a game.” 

You’d think I was crazy. But just wait, it gets worse. 

Now, let’s say, Vince Lombardi, football coach legend, comes to me and says, “Hey bud, I see your playbook isn’t paying off. Here, take mine. These plays with a little bit of grit and hard work will guarantee victory.”  

And I respond, “listen here Vince, I’m not sure if you witnessed game 14 but the boys and I are on to something huge, thanks but no thanks, our time will come.”

Any onlooker would likely vomit in disbelief. Why? Because that’s freaking insanity!.

If I’m even slightly a result oriented person, then the results are in: my playbook needs to be retired.

It’s time I pick up one that is freely available and is tried, tested, and proven to produce results.

Does that make sense?

Step One is the understanding that the current playbook is doomed to fail. 

Step Two is mentally, emotionally, and volitionally opening up to the idea of using a new playbook. 

But not just any playbook, one that has been used by millions and has repeatedly resulted in victory. 

Seems like a no brainer, right?

  • Are you ready to bring your car into the shop?
  • Are you ready to throw out the old playbook?

If you said yes, you’re ready for Step Three. 

aa step two

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