Came To Believe
Why do we require a power greater than ourselves as a solution to our addiction? We have discovered that alcohol/drugs is merely a symptom, our real dilemma is that we lack power over alcohol/drugs. Lack of power is the alcoholic’s/addicts problem.
Why did we lack power in the first place? At a certain stage of our drinking, alcohol had become our master and we had developed a manner of living that revolved entirely around serving our master king alcohol. Everything else became secondary.
In my case I believe that at certain stages of my drinking, alcohol had become a powerful tool in my search for God, my search for a solution to the emptiness inside of me. Once I started drinking and the euphoric effect of ease and comfort was experienced, I had no need for God. Why would I need God if alcohol delivered my solution? It is at this point where I believe that, subconsciously I separated from God and lack of power became my problem without me even knowing it.
So we need a new power and obviously it has to be a power greater than ourselves.
All Step Two requires of us is the willingness to consciously turn our attention towards a higher power, regardless of what that power may be. Remember you have an obsession of the mind that is desperately seeking ease and comfort which used to come from alcohol. It is now time to seek that ease and comfort in something that will save your life and not destroy it.
In my case before I agreed to sign up for any kind of program, I first needed assurance that I would gain ease and comfort from this higher power and this effect would be available whenever I desired it. As an alcoholic and addict there is no other way I could imagine life without knowing as fact that my ravenous mind’s insatiable appetite would be satisfied constantly by whatever was on offer to feed it. The extraordinary power that I have accessed through my connection to God has not only satisfied my obsession, it has delivered a manner of living beyond my own capabilities and wildest dreams.
My higher power who I choose to call God without apology, is the reason I still walk this earth sober and clean and the world is a better place because of that.
I was agnostic in the beginning and I am now a believer beyond any shadow of a doubt.
At this point it is crucial to understand that Step Two does NOT require you to develop a belief in a higher power immediately. For most of us this would be impossible and improbable. Step Two is asking us to become willing to believe that a force bigger than ourselves can pull us past the pain and suffering taking place in our minds right now. Our belief in a higher power will manifest and grow in us as we work through the rest of the steps and the good news is, this belief just comes automatically if we stick to the task ahead.
So please do not put yourself under any kind of pressure to develop a faith or belief. Let the program do that for you, it’s what the program is designed to do. The reason I mention this, is because all too often I have witnessed alcoholics in recovery completely misunderstand this step, put pressure on themselves to engage a belief (an almost impossible task on your own) and end up frustrated and hopeless and as a result they give up on the program and drink again. To drink is to die.
In the beginning we begged of you to cast aside your prejudice and approach this program with an open, honest and willing mind. It is now time to deploy that mental blank canvas and understand that by doing so you have just stepped assertively towards your fears, your hopelessness and that feeling of uselessness. This is a We program of action. You are no longer alone and there is now the gift of hope as you start to engage the power you have lacked all along. Who in their right mind would not want power? the power essential to overcome such traumatic adversity like alcoholism? In the beginning I didn’t care who or what that higher power was, all I wanted was peace from the war raging in my mind, body and soul. If this higher power could save me from this horrendous way of life, then sign me up! Let’s get going!
I didn’t ask to become an alcoholic, but it was at this stage for the first time ever I came to realize that it was now my responsibility to accept the help on offer and to do something about my addiction. Only I could make this happen with help from above and others around me. Gradually my self-pity and fear began to fade and acceptance started to very subtly work its way into my heart. My rebirth had begun.
I have come to love the simplicity of the 12 Steps. All Step Two is asking of us is to make a commitment to be willing to now turn our attention away from the self-directed life we have been living and to now focus on a God-directed life instead.
Walking The Steps Towards Faith
This is not about magically gaining faith and belief out of nowhere. Remember just for today hope is our form of belief here. Hope is our driver. Step Two uses the description “came to believe”, this describes a process of action that will take place as we progress through the 12 Steps.
Ask me to suddenly develop a belief in God and I will tell you that just isn’t going to happen. But what does happen here is as we work through the steps we start having a profound experience with the steps. The steps are designed to help us enlist the help of a power greater than ourselves. Therefore if we end up having an experience with the steps, we will start having an experience with God. Once we start having an experience with God, we start accessing his power. If we work the steps this just happens automatically. We don’t have to do anything else but the work required. God’s power just comes! How cool is that.
Remember this is a God, a higher power of your own understanding. A lot of people get confused here. Please understand that the 12 Step program is no one’s religion. It is entirely up to you who or what your higher power becomes. Let no man or woman try and convince you otherwise.
The great fact is this and nothing less, deep down in every man, woman and child the idea of God exists. You can walk out onto the street right now and ask complete strangers of different ages and from various walks of life if they have heard of God. I don’t think any will say no. All people have an idea of God. Whether they believe in God or not is not the issue here. What is crucial is that we become willing to turn our consciousness towards a God of our own understanding.
If you have no idea or maybe you have a negative and fearful conception of God, then why not do what I did in the beginning. I first asked myself how would I like my God to be? I immediately put pen to paper and wrote the following:
I would like the God of my understanding to be the following;
- Must love alcoholics like me
This was to become my conception of God in my life and still is to this day. Nothing less and so much more that is good and powerful.
Anyone is capable of developing and coming to believe in their own conception of God. For folks like us alcoholics this is our only chance at life. Do not fool yourself here. Your life from this moment on is entirely reliant on connecting with the God of your understanding and accessing his power. Nothing short of achieving this will overcome your problem, nothing!
As a result of our alcoholic way of life we now find ourselves staring down the barrel of our Self – imposed crisis that we can longer out run. Our backs are against the wall and there is no escape.
It is at this point of no return that we have no choice but to accept that either God is everything now or he is nothing. Either he is or he isn’t. What was our choice to be?
Paul Nobes – Author and Addictions Specialist