step 2 of aa

What Does Step 2 in AA Mean?

Step 2 of A.A: Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

Since the 1930s, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) has been a vital resource for people in recovery seeking peer support and fellowship. As most people know, A.A. is built upon 12 Steps and 12 Traditions. The program offers a systematic approach toward achieving and maintaining sobriety via an eventual spiritual awakening.

Because the 12 steps are set up in an intentional order, before we discuss Step 2 we need to first look at Step 1: We admitted we were powerless over alcohol and that our lives had become unmanageable.” This is self-explanatory; the disease has taken over one’s life and wreaked havoc.

Step 2 of AA naturally evolves from Step 1. This is the step that you realize you need divine help in order to restore any semblance of sanity. This is the point at which the program introduces the concept of a Higher Power.

While the spiritual aspect of AA’s 12-Step Program may not resonate with everyone, it is good to remember that one’s Higher Power can be whatever you deem it to be. It does not have to pertain to a Judeo-Christian belief system. Keep reading to learn more about Step 2 and how it may hold the key to moving ahead in your recovery process.

What is Alcoholics Anonymous?

Alcoholics Anonymous is a free, non-denominational peer-based network, serving members worldwide. It was founded by two men from Ohio in 1935 and was based on spiritual values that could be practiced in daily life. Through this practice, it was believed that a person could overcome alcoholism.

The book Alcoholics Anonymous, or “The Big Book,” was published in 1939. It contained both a description of the Twelve Step program and the personal stories of people who had overcome alcoholism through the program.

What Are The 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous?

The 12 Steps of AA:

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The Twelve Steps, as published by Alcoholics Anonymous, include:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understood Him. 
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when doing so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us, and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

About Step 2 of AA

That short 14-word sentence in Step Two is extremely deep. While Step Two is a spiritual step, it has nothing to do with religion. By “spiritual,” AA refers to the inherent need we all have to be inspired by something or someone larger than ourselves. It’s about something to believe in; something that can work wonders in our lives to help right the ship.

Working on this step means asking some hard questions. A Step Two worksheet invites us to ponder questions such as these:

  • What does the phrase come to believe mean to me? What do I believe in?
  • What are my grievances against a higher power?
  • What are my negative thoughts, feelings, attitudes, or beliefs that block my spirituality?
  • How have I sought help from a higher power today?

Step 2 of AA involves many important elements. Consider how one “comes to believe” that they really can change, that they can be restored to wellness. Are we truly willing to believe we can get better? And what is meant by the word “sanity”?

Tips to Connect with a Higher Power

To help maintain and grow your connection with a Higher Power, consider these tips:

  1. Continue Searching. It takes time to truly connect with your Higher Power. In your spiritual journey, you will seek and learn, distill, and discern different viewpoints and belief systems. Sift through them to find the elements that you can relate to.
  2. Find Time to Pray or Meditate. Because life is full of distractions, it can be hard to hear the prompts of our Higher Power. Set aside some special time each day, to convene with your Higher Power. Add some spiritual reading or journaling, too.
  3. Practice Spiritual Principles. Behind each of the 12 Steps is a spiritual principle. These include such things as honesty, courage, forgiveness, hope, humility, and acceptance, just to name a few. Get to know the twelve principles and make it a point to practice them.
  4. Be of Service to Others. When we focus our attention on someone other than ourselves, we also grow spiritually. Volunteering your time to help others in need can be very rewarding on many levels.

Step 2 of A.A. requires us to humbly accept help from a Higher Power. Decide who or what your Higher Power is and use that connection to help you succeed in recovery.

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