About the 12 Steps
The 12 steps of the Alcoholic Anonymous provide a step by step guide to people dealing with substance use disorder. Each step is a clear instruction to help patients start to cope with addiction – from the first step of acknowledging the problem and the need to seek help to recognizing that there is a way out of addiction and employing ways to stay sober. The 12 steps method also makes a responsible citizen out of the patients who finish all the steps of the AA rehab program by bringing the message of the 12 steps method to those who need them.
Alcoholics Anonymous is a global organization that has approximately 115,000 groups worldwide and around two million members. In the 1930s, it came up with one of the most preferred methods to help people with substance use disorders – the 12 steps. The success of the 12 steps method remains difficult to gauge as most of the members would prefer remaining anonymous. With a support group that has been around for almost 100 years now, it has to be working. In fact, many drug and alcohol rehab introduce the first 12 steps and discuss the others while patients are in treatment.
Come to believe that a Higher Power can help us overcome our weaknesses and restore our sanity
In particular, step 2 of the 12 steps is the step which gives the person hope after he acknowledged his powerlessness to overcome addiction by himself. There is recognition that help is needed to lead a sober life. The step 2 of the 12 steps guide to sobriety underscores the message that there is hope in recovery for someone suffering from substance use disorder.
There is a “Higher Power” than a person’s self that will help him get out from the abyss of addiction. There is hope if only he acknowledges that he or she cannot do it by just relying on themself. For some, they are immediately turned off by the 12 steps at the mention of the higher power because they associate it with religion. For those who adamantly refuse the 12 steps there are many non 12 step rehab options. However, the shift from Higher Power meaning God to Higher Power being anything from the group, the universe, or whatever you want it to be is becoming quite popular in modern times.
Who is the “Higher Power”?
Spiritual resources could come from other things that are outside one’s self. For some people, it could be their families or friends who support them. The expression of their spiritual resource referred to in step 2 could be the power of friendship and the love of their families. For some the Higher Power is AA and the people in their support group.
The concept of the “Higher Power,” also referred to as “God,” “Power,” and “Supreme Being” by Alcoholics Anonymous group in step 2 is understandably a spiritual concept used by the founders of AA – Bill Wilson and Dr. Robert Holbrook – who were both members of the First Century Christian Fellowship, an evangelical movement established by Frank Buchman. The group was more famously known as the Oxford Group and its members are advocates of a Christian living that encourages its members to stop drinking.
But AA’s 12 steps have been subjected to many interpretations that the concept of “Higher Power” has become more of a personal belief of something that is greater than himself. This concept is not limited to the religious image of a god. There is even the Secular Alcoholics Anonymous which helps the person recovering from alcohol addiction without pushing him to change his faith.
In 1991, the AA Agnostica also came up with the book titled “The Alternative Twelve Steps: A Secular Guide to Recovery” where it provided another interpretation for the 12 steps for those who are non-religious. Many non-religious treatment programs that adopted the 12 steps method associate the concept of “God” in step 2 with a personal expression of spirituality.
What Step 2 Means to the Religious
For those who are religious, some might think that it is very easy for them to embrace step 2, but it’s not. For someone who experienced failures, hatred, and disappointments despite keeping their faith, acknowledging the need to cling to the Higher Power could be difficult, too. When a religious person who blamed God for the pains he encountered which led him to abuse a substance, the recognition of a power greater than ourselves might be blocked by guilt.
But once a religious person battling with destructive behavior acknowledges that only with humility can he begin his religious growth, he will be on his way to recovery. Believing in that Higher Power stated in step 2 will help the religious person, who was once suffering from shame, doubt, and anger, to realize that he is not alone. The manifestation of the Higher Power’s care is shown to him by his friends and family and his brothers and sisters who face the same problem as he is.
Step 2 of the 12 Steps: Keep the Faith
No matter what you believe in, or what a Higher Power means to you, Step 2 of the 12 steps can best be summarized by keeping the faith. Have faith that something grater than yourself can lead you to a life of happiness without relying on drugs or alcohol. Have faith that doing the next right thing will ultimately lead you to a life you are proud of. Have faith that you can change and be an example to others who are struggling with addiction in the future. All this can be possible by putting your faith in something bigger than yourself and staying clean one day at a time.