Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
The moment they read Step Two, most A.A. newcomers are confronted by a dilemma, sometimes a serious one. How often have we heard them cry out, “Look what you people have done to us! You have convinced us that we are alcoholics and that our lives are unmanageable. Having reduced us to a state of absolute helplessness, you now declare that none but a Higher Power can remove our obsession. Some of us won’t believe in God, others can’t, and still others who do believe that God exists have no faith whatever He will perform this miracle. Yes, you’ve got us over a barrel, all right–but where do we go from here?”
I was extremely fortunate at the beginning of my AA experience that I saw with wisdom in the concept of making the group my higher power. I cringe when I hear people say were told that a doorknob or a rock could substitute, in the beginning. I have never heard this suggest nor condoned. The group, I believe, is suggested as a collection of people who have solved their alcohol problem. In that way, they were a power far, far greater than me. I understood it and I accepted it. I had turned away from the church in a big way and at first I didn’t pray with the people at meetings or pray at all. Not until I was desperate. Now it seems to me that the belief in a higher power is necessary for newcomers to stop thinking they know everything, and that they can run their own lives. We show up at AA because we are desperate for help, then we refuse to accept the help offered because we can do it ourselves. Such is often the dilemma of the chronic relapser, a group I belonged to for a long time. So now, oldtimer that I am, having had the alcohol problem removed from my life, how do I let my higher power restore me to sanity? I think of it in terms of other physical things that bind me and make me unhealthy and unhappy. I stopped smoking ten years ago now after many many attempts and partial victories. I battle food now in a way that really isn’t very sane. I also have to record that my little corner of AA suffered yet another loss, though this time the gentleman was older than the aforementioned Shaums, and this time he was sick. He died sober, a victory. They show me I can hope for this, and that is amazing.