Many whose lives are affected by the family disease of alcoholism find hope again when they trust in a power greater than themselves. This is Step 2 of the 12 Steps:
Came to believe that a force greater than ourselves could make us healthy again.
Many members of Alcoholics Anonymous or Al-Anon Family Groups come to the program with a strong belief in God, and with the encouragement of other members of the community, they soon learn to apply that belief to the situations in their lives caused by alcoholism.
With the wisdom of the program, friendship and support from other members, the healing process begins with the help of a loving God as you understand Him.
Agnostics and Atheists and Step 2
Others who are introduced to the 12-step programs are agnostics or atheists who reject the concept of a deity. Many are even turned off by the mention of the word “God” and some bristles at even suggestion of something spiritual. But “Alcoholics Anonymous” in the chapter entitled We agnosticsstresses the importance of breaking down prejudice in order to give the program a chance.
The 12-step programs are spiritual and not religious. Religious beliefs, doctrines, or dogmas are not mentioned in the meetings or in the approved literature. Members need not accept someone else’s idea of God, just trust that there is a power “greater than themselves,” however they choose to describe or understand it.
It seems to be a spiritual truth that before a higher power can begin to work, one must first believe that it is possible. Believe it to receive it. Millions of program members who “came to believe” over the years have been amazed at the seemingly miraculous effects of this force in their lives.
The believers and step 2
For those who are strong in their religious beliefs, Step 2 can also be challenging. If you have a belief in the nature of God, it can be unsettling to hear that “higher power” is used in place of “God”. You may have difficulty accepting the nature of this higher power for other members of the group. Hearing that it’s okay to use a doorknob for higher performance when you understand it that way can be hard to accept. You may even find it offensive.
However, to give a 12-step program a chance, you need to limit that response and not block it with the 12-step process. Religious prejudice can get in the way.
Experience from step 2
Members of different 12-step groups shared their experiences, strengths, and hopes for each of the steps. Here are some of their stories.
- Carol shares how she grew up in a family that was active in her church. When she tried sobriety, she returned to her church. “Slowly I realized that the god in my religion has a special face that he only shows to drunkards. And I found him in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous. He is there waiting for us to ask for his help. Faith is the foundation of my AA life. “
- Sox was asked to attend a meeting by reading the booklet “This is AA”. “I called one of the big clubs in my area and went to a meeting that night. But I knew I turned to God first and then did Step 1. I knew my life was crazy and I knew there was a power there that was greater than myself, but until that moment I had always resented God for interfering where he was not wanted, now I wanted him and sure he was leading me wherever I had to be. “
- Buddy, an Al Anon member, says, “At my first meeting, after reading some of the literature, I made the comment that I had a problem with the ‘higher power’ references. After that meeting one came longtime member to me and said, “I’m not saying that you should forget your religious beliefs, just put them on hold for a while and give Al-Anon a chance.” It was great wisdom what she told me if she hadn’t taken the time to tell me I probably would never have come back, and it would have been me who would have missed so much of what God had in store for me – wisdom, help, friendship, encouragement, and the spiritual I would have missed growth that I found in Al-Anon because of my own religious prejudice, so my suggestion to newcomers is the same one I received: Put your religious beliefs, or disbelief in the Wa rte loop and give the entire program a try. Because Al-Anon is not a religious program, but a spiritual one. “