Step 2, Part 1: “Came to believe…”

When I first came into program, I considered myself to be an atheist.  Through going to meetings and reading The Big Book, I discovered that I was really an agnostic.  This meant that I believed that the existence of God could not be proven, but that I was at least open to the possibility that some type of Creative Intelligence may exist.  That label aside, my first real belief in a Higher Power only came as a result of me experiencing God working in my life for myself.  I needed “hard evidence.”   For me, this took the form of grasping and understanding the indisputable fact that whenever I asked God to help me with my food addiction, He did.  Whenever I tried to conquer it on my own, I couldn’t.

For years, this was the extent of my relationship with my Higher Power.  I would ask for help with my food (only when I was in OA, of course) and He always gave it to me.  Then I would “forget” that it was Him keeping me abstinent, I would leave program, thinking I could do it all on my own, and I would be out of control again.  But how could this be, if every time I came back to OA I “took” Step 2?

The problem was that my belief was still tied-in to what I wanted from OA, and what I wanted from OA was to be thin.  Period.  I didn’t want to make it my way of life.  I didn’t want to make friends there.  I didn’t even really want a relationship with Higher Power, except as it could be exploited to get me to my goal weight.  I wasn’t consciously thinking that, but looking back, that was the cold, hard reality of it.  And to be completely honest, I don’t think this time around would have been any different, except that I did the steps the way they are written in The Big Book, and that process lead me to WANT to make The 12 Steps my way of life SO THAT I can have a close relationship with a Higher Power.

I don’t think I (or anyone else) can fully explain the ambiguity here.  On the one hand, in order to get through the steps that will lead you to a deeper relationship with a Higher Power, you have to take Step 2 (to get to Step 3, Step 4,…).  On the other hand, you will not feel the full impact of taking Step 2 until AFTER you have done the OTHER steps.  The best way I can describe it is that we take Step 2 based upon whatever belief we have at that time, and then we “trust the process” to strengthen that belief as we move forward in our recovery (by continuing to do the rest of the steps).

In many ways, the first part of Step 2 is similar to making the decision to join OA.  In order to do that, you have to at least have a tiny amount of hope that it will work for you, or else why would you even bother showing-up?  The same goes for seeking belief in a God of your understanding.  All it takes to begin this relationship is a tiny amount of hope that there may be something to this whole Higher Power thing.  This doesn’t mean that you have to be completely open-minded.  You just can’t be completely close-minded.


April 28, 2012 This post was written by Categories: On The 12 Steps Tagged with:
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