by Beth Livingston
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Link to Step 12
Certified Recovery Specialist
“We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”
When I read this second step from Alcoholics Anonymous, I feel a bit uncomfortable. In the first step, we admit we are powerless over our addiction or compulsive behavior and that our lives have become unmanageable. Makes sense. We can’t stop on our own = it’s out of control. In this second step, the goal of “sanity” enters the picture. Hey, wait a minute! I never said I was lacking sanity!
Let’s take a look at insanity by asking ourselves some questions.* What things have we done in our addiction that we can hardly believe when we look back at them? Have we put ourselves or others in dangerous situations? How have we behaved in ways of which we’re now ashamed? Have we quit jobs, avoided family, left friendships or church because those things interfered with our addictions?
When I think of the risks that I took behind the wheel and under the influence, literally seeing double, I shudder. That was crazy, senseless behavior, but typical of an addicted person. I could have killed someone. How about the choice to smoke or take illegal drugs while my young children were at home with a babysitter? Was that sane? I thought it was. After all, the responsibility for child care was checked off in my mind. In fact, my actions could have resulted in me going to jail and my children being put in foster care. That just seemed too far-fetched, so I ignored it. Disregarding the truth is not smart or sane. Now that my children are young adults and hindsight is so clear, my thinking that they would not be affected by Mommy having her “night out” was whacked out too. Oh, so much restoring to sanity needed to take place in my life.
Do you have any trouble with the goal of being restored to sanity? You’ve admitted you are powerless over your addiction or behavior; are you ready to admit your need to be restored to sanity? What will sanity look like for you?
What could restore us all to sanity? The second step says, “A Power greater than ourselves.” No power other than Jesus Christ, our Redeemer, our Savior, our Lord can restore us to sanity. There is no greater power. There is no other God. He is so capable and so willing!
However, not everyone believes in Christ. It can be a scary thing to believe in a God that we cannot see. What fears might you have about believing in Christ? Has your belief in God and hope for recovery grown since you started trying to change? What things have you done that you feel are an indication that you are trusting God for your recovery?
For me, it was and still is reading the Bible, praying, and believing that God is able and willing to work this out of my life, as well as, being truthful with myself, God and others.
Belief is the key. If I believe a chair will hold me up, then I can sit in that chair. If I believe that God will help me get free from my addiction, then I can seek Him and keep seeking Him. This is a process for most of us. That’s why we call them “steps.” Believing God loves you and is bigger than your addiction is a great step. Are you taking this step? What can you tell others about your personal story in taking the step to believe that God is greater than you and can restore you to sanity?
*Used with permission from materials provided by Recovery for Life Ministries