* This blog is dedicated to my daughter and anyone who suffers from an addiction, as well as the loved ones that are standing by watching, loving and encouraging them to wholeness again.**
The 12 steps are a group of principles, spiritual in nature, that are to be practiced as a way of life for those suffering from addiction. The idea is to help expel the obsessive behavior (drinking, drugs, or any addiction) so the person can feel and become happy and whole again. These principles are so powerful they can be used to overcome not only addiction, but limiting beliefs and harmful thoughts and behaviors in the non-addict as well.
Reference: Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions (1981), Alcoholics Anonymous World Service, Inc.
Step #2: Come to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
As most of you who are regular readers know, I am working my way through the 12 steps in honor of my daughter who is a recovering addict. In order to better understand her and the process, I decided to do the 12 steps myself and as I did, write a blog about my experience with each one.
Step #2, to me, is all about believing in miracles. We all have had moments in our lives where we are faced with something so big or so terrible that we have no choice but to surrender. Surrender to whom? Surrender to that power that you know exists but cannot define, see or touch. We all feel that power. We all know there is something that exists that is greater than we are. Some call that power God; others may call it the Universe. All that matters is that you feel that something else is with you watching out for you…willing to take on what you feel you cannot do yourself.
My lesson during this step was not so much believing in my higher Power, but trusting my higher Power. I have had enough spiritual experiences in my lifetime that I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we are not alone in this journey through life. My struggle exists with feeling worthy enough that my Power knows I exist. It sounds kind of silly when I say it out loud to myself, now that I think about it…but true none-the-less. Letting go and letting God was never something that I really could understand. We recovering control freaks think we can control and handle anything that comes our way…usually a side effect of having to deal with a lot of life situations on our own. Once I was able to realize that I really do not have control and stopped fighting it, I began to see more clearly and really feel that Power in my life. I, for the first time, felt as if God had my back. When I looked back at my life challenges, I realized I was never alone to begin with…he was there the whole time. I am reminded of the poem “Footprints,” which is a perfect metaphor for Step #2. It is through our most challenging times that God does not leave us…he carries us. Michael, a facilitator in one of the Nar-Anon meetings I attend has us say a prayer at the end of every meeting. It is very simple yet powerful: “Your will God, not mine. Your time God, not mine.” I slowly came to realize that it is not about MY will, it is about God’s will for me and my life. And let me tell you, when you finally realize that, it is a huge relief!
It does not matter if your beliefs match mine. What matters is that you know your own beliefs and they need to work for you. They must be yours. It does not matter what anyone else in your world believes…only what you believe. Your beliefs are the blueprint from which you live your life and make your choices.
I will share with you several questions I pondered and answered as I worked through this step:
- What higher Power do I believe in?
- Do I trust my higher Power? If not, why not?
- Do I feel worthy of help from my higher Power?
- Do I have an open mind? Am I willing to change my beliefs if my current ones are not working for me?
- If my higher Power “has my back,” why do I sometimes not get what I pray for?
- Do I believe that my higher Power believes in me?
- Am I able to receive?
- What is my bottom? Do I have to hit bottom in order to have faith in my higher Power?
Your relationship with your higher Power starts and ends with your relationship with yourself. God is in you, works through you and IS you. He is expressing himself through you.
Ernest Holmes, the author of The Science of Mind, says the following about treatment and your own personal role in it which I think is a perfect summation for Step #2:
Treatment is not willing things to happen; it is to provide within ourselves an avenue through which they may happen. Treatment opens up avenues of thought, expands the consciousness, and lets reality through; it clarifies the mentality, removes doubt and fear, in the realization of the presence of Spirit (your higher Power), and is necessary while we are confronted by obstructions or obstacles. We already live in a Perfect Universe, but it needs to be seen mentally before it can become a part of our experience. Every problem is primarily mental, and the answer to all problems will be found in Spiritual realization…(your own personal relationship with your higher Power).
Chris Sopa is founder and owner of Chris Sopa International, Inc. You can learn more about her at www.ChrisSopa.com. Find her at Facebook.com/ChrisSopaInternational, Twitter @ChrisSopa, LinkedIn, and Google+.