Step Two: Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
What you have to do to work Step Two:
Like the first step, step 2 is about what’s happening inside our heads. Unlike the first step, we barely even need to be able to do what this step says: come to believe that a power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity.
All we really need is to open the door a crack to the possibility that what has worked for millions of other people, via the steps, might work for us too. That when they got so much out of working the steps, it was because they were connecting to some kind of mysterious source of power and guidance. Beyond that, it doesn’t matter whether we call that source God, Goddess, intuition, love, the Universe, nature, recovery, or Harvey. It just doesn’t.
Step Two promises:
We don’t have to worry at all about what others think the term “God” means, or what other terms or ideas about “a power greater than ourselves” they might have.
Whatever idea we individually have about it, no matter how limited, is enough to get us started in connecting with something that can help us.
If we believe, or are even willing to believe, that there is any kind of power that is greater than us individually, we are well on our way to having this step work for us. We have repeatedly found that (as the big book puts it), “upon this simple cornerstone a wonderfully effective spiritual structure can be built.”
Just this tiny step, becoming willing to consider the possibility that maybe there is something out there that might be able to heal what we, individually and from inside our own heads, can’t — that’s all we need for a new sense of power and direction to begin growing inside of us.
In the face of collapse and despair, in the face of the total failure of our human resources, we find that a new power, peace, happiness, and sense of direction begins to flow into us. It’s the experience of hope. This experience is available to anybody who works this step; nobody is excluded. It’s part of our very humanity.
Note that this step doesn’t even call it “God as we understood God” yet. All it’s saying is that we are willing to believe thatsomething might be able to do what we haven’t: lift the effects of compulsive sexual behavior from our lives, restoring us to sanity. Freeing us from the obsession, the pain, the rage, the fear, the denial — all of it.
We don’t have to worry about what that “power greater than ourselves” could be — for those of us who are triggered by even the idea of a “god” or a “higher power”, it is often easier to just think of it as the power of the steps, of recovery, of love, of good in the world. Or not to think of it as anything specific at all: after all, the step just says that we think SOMETHING bigger than us could do what we individually can’t.
For many people, the way that we “come to believe” is by coming to COSA meetings and seeing that there are other people there who have had similar experiences but are no longer suffering the way we are. It may simply be that they are able to laugh at experiences that seem to us to have been horrible, or that they exude a calm and peace that we can’t imagine feeling. Maybe they have relationships that seem joyful and healthy, while ours lie in shambles. Or it could be that they seem to intuitively understand how to handle situations that baffle us.
All of these things come from working the steps; in fact, they’re explicitly spelled out as promises of some of the steps we haven’t gotten to yet. Once we see that they have something we wish we had, and that they got it from working these same steps, it becomes much easier for us to believe that these promises can come true for us too, if we just take the same steps they did.
Other things people associate with this step:
Your own religious path, if you happen to have one, might have any number of things that it suggests or asks that you do, when you’re trying to understand what your higher power is, or whether it exists, or how you connect with it. Some people also have workbooks from various sources that walk them through things like looking at what their relationship has been with a higher power in the past, or what they believe their higher power is like.
All of that stuff is extraneous; it is not part of the second step itself. That doesn’t mean it might not help you. There are many things that can help people get to the point where they can “come to believe that a power greater than themselves can restore them to sanity.” Some will work for some people, some for others, and many people won’t need them at all. That’s why they’re not part of the step.
If you feel led to try an outside exercise that helps you, that is great! We are not suggesting that you ignore any suggestions or inner guidance you get on the topic. We are just clarifying that if you do such things, they are not PART OF the step; they are just what you are doing so that YOU can work this step. The steps themselves are the actions that work for everybody.