Step 2 Keeping it Simple

The 12 Steps are the AA program of recovery from alcoholism.
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Wiganman
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Step 2 Keeping it Simple

Post by Wiganman » Fri Dec 28, 2018 9:58 am

Step Two...keeping is simple.

Step Two: Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

Step one is our problem and step two is our solution. Alcohol was a power greater than us we are now looking to change that power for something else. Some people look at this step and think they have to find a Higher Power at this step before they can move on. That isnt the case we are merely asking ourselves if we are willing to believe there us something greater than us that we can turn to.

The word sanity in this step refers to the obsession of the mind we admitted to in step one. Doing something over and over again expecting a different outcome when we know the outcome in advance.

When I took step 2 I described myself as an athiest. This wasnt a stumbling block. I did not have to believe in anything I just had to believe in the possibility of there being something greater than myself. I didn’t have to define it. I just had to accept that other people had recovered using these 12 steps. A belief in the 12 steps was all I needed to continue. A belief on the basis of my own experiences and those around me.

My sponsor gave me some questions to answer to form the basis of a discussion. We discussed the good parts of religion and the bad parts from my perspective. It was an open discussion there are no right or wrong answers in this step. I was asked to describe the qualities of my friends from childhood. I answered not really understanding the point of the question. It came clear when I wrote that the friends I chose were kind, empathetic, and good-natured. I disliked bullies and unkind people. If anyone showed those qualities I moved away from them. That was me at the age of 6 or 7 knowing the difference between a good and a bad person. My instincts at that age were guiding me in the right direction. As I moved through life those instincts were still there but I chose to modify or ignore them. The Big Book says the fundamental idea of God is within all of us. As an athiest I was willing to say the fundamental idea of what is right or wrong is within all of us. This was me making my beginning. Step 2 is all about making a beginning.

For me, step 2 shouldnt be lngered on for too long. Just a willingness is required then onwards to step 3.

Theo50
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Re: Step 2 Keeping it Simple

Post by Theo50 » Fri Jan 04, 2019 3:34 pm

I often wonder why there are so many posts explaining the Steps of what so many refer to as a simple program. If the steps were simple, there would not be any need for guidance as they would be so simple to understand. I, on the other hand, do not view AA as a simple program. Since the program requires an almost complete change in my thinking it will neither be quick or simple. I am however now becoming OK with that now as I realize it will need to be a program for living the rest of my life.
I appreciate your opinion on the meaning of step 2 as I find it confusing as the phrase "Came to believe" insinuates that it has already occurred in the past. By rephrasing it as "Be willing and open to the possibility that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity", it no longer requires me to wait until I have already come to believe it, in order to move on to step 3.

Sick Alcoholic Humor for the day...
If, as you stated, "Alcohol was a power greater than us", can I use another substance as my HP to restore me to sanity?

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Tosh
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Re: Step 2 Keeping it Simple

Post by Tosh » Sat Jan 05, 2019 1:11 pm

Theo50 wrote:If the steps were simple, there would not be any need for guidance as they would be so simple to understand. I, on the other hand, do not view AA as a simple program. Since the program requires an almost complete change in my thinking it will neither be quick or simple. I am however now becoming OK with that now as I realize it will need to be a program for living the rest of my life.
The steps are simple because it's a program of action - not a program of thinking or study.

I believe Dr Bob used to do the first three steps with a newcomer in a matter of minutes.

1. Are you an alcoholic?
2. Do you believe in God?
3. Step 3 prayer.

Then onto Step 4.

Steps 5, 6, 7, and 8 can all be done in one evening.

Step 9 may or may not be complex, depending on the amends. A sponsor can help with that.

Steps 10, 11, and 12 are fairly simple too - but there's enough there to keep learning and growing for a lifetime.

At no stage am I required to change my thinking; I just take the actions and the changes in my thinking happen - all by itself - without any effort. It's a bit like getting fit. I don't make myself fit, I just take a series of actions (like run or lift weights) and fitness happens, all by itself.
Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn't matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again, come, come.” Rumi (No sniggering from the sex addicts)

Wiganman
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Re: Step 2 Keeping it Simple

Post by Wiganman » Sun Jan 06, 2019 7:59 am

Theo50 wrote: If the steps were simple, there would not be any need for guidance as they would be so simple to understand. I, on the other hand, do not view AA as a simple program.
In my opinion the steps can be as simple or as complicated as we want to make them. Sure, we can study, philosophize, intellectualize, and go into great depths with each and every step. Or we can keep them as simple as possible and follow each step with some simple actions. In the case of the last three steps these will be lifetime daily actions but again very simple actions.

If they weren't simple, then a simple person like myself from the North of England wouldn't have recovered.

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Re: Step 2 Keeping it Simple

Post by Wiganman » Sun Jan 06, 2019 8:02 am

Tosh wrote:
Theo50 wrote:At no stage am I required to change my thinking; I just take the actions and the changes in my thinking happen - all by itself - without any effort. It's a bit like getting fit. I don't make myself fit, I just take a series of actions (like run or lift weights) and fitness happens, all by itself.
I like that quote and it makes absolute sense to me. If I take the actions that each step asks me to make then I will change. I need to change to recover from alcoholism. It is so simple and yet so often over-complicated.

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Blue Moon
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Re: Step 2 Keeping it Simple

Post by Blue Moon » Mon Jan 07, 2019 4:21 am

[quote="Theo50"]I often wonder why there are so many posts explaining the Steps of what so many refer to as a simple program. [\quote]

It is a simple program for complicated people. It's not an easy program. Unfortunately, many overcomplicate it, and read into it words that are not written.

IMO part of the problem is with language comprehension. For example, many conflate "resentment" with "anger", or "amends" with "apology". Not comprehending the words makes them complicated.

Also, there's the fact that the book was written decades ago. Many words have a different meaning today. We need context. The book is an instruction manual to provide that context, and the list of steps are only a list of ingredients.

[quote]
I find it confusing as the phrase "Came to believe" insinuates that it has already occurred in the past.
[\quote]

All of them are written in the past tense. "Here are the steps we took". These are the things we did to recover. Even the ongoing Steps, 10, 11 and 12, are written that way.

All that Step 2 requires is to recognise that recovery through the Steps may be possible. Why else do them? Alcoholics are notorious for the mantra of "my case is different".
Ian S
AKA Blue Moon

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avaneesh912
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Re: Step 2 Keeping it Simple

Post by avaneesh912 » Mon Jan 07, 2019 4:39 am

One thing I observed, when people get desperate, a deeper surrender is at work and they tend to be more inclined to embrace the principles quicker without resistance. Until then, its complicated for many.
Show him, from your own experience, how the peculiar mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power (Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)

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Daelynn
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Re: Step 2 Keeping it Simple

Post by Daelynn » Wed Nov 13, 2019 8:14 am

Wiganman wrote:
Fri Dec 28, 2018 9:58 am
Step Two...keeping is simple.

Step Two: Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

Step one is our problem and step two is our solution. Alcohol was a power greater than us we are now looking to change that power for something else. Some people look at this step and think they have to find a Higher Power at this step before they can move on. That isnt the case we are merely asking ourselves if we are willing to believe there us something greater than us that we can turn to.....

The word sanity in this step refers to the obsession of the mind we admitted to in step one. Doing something over and over again expecting a different outcome when we know the outcome in advance.....
That was one of the most helpful explanations I've read. I've really struggling with this lately. I've had so many relapses. The people who seem to last in AA have a strong concept of their higher power, and often a fairly traditional one - the kind who intervenes and answers prayers. I'm scared I will never be able to believe this and wont be able to ever stay sober.

But your explanation helps me get a foot in the door.

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PaigeB
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Re: Step 2 Keeping it Simple

Post by PaigeB » Thu Nov 14, 2019 1:32 pm

Daelynn wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 8:14 am
But your explanation helps me get a foot in the door.
YES! You need to get a different view and get EXCITED & HOPEFUL about recovery! THERE IS a solution. Get a new viewpoint!
Step 6 is "AA's way of stating, the best possible attitude one can take in order to make a beginning on this lifetime job... with most of them we shall have to be content with patient improvement." 12&12 Step Six, p.65

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Re: Step 2 Keeping it Simple

Post by Layne » Thu Nov 14, 2019 3:39 pm

The people who seem to last in AA have a strong concept of their higher power, and often a fairly traditional one - the kind who intervenes and answers prayers. I'm scared I will never be able to believe this and wont be able to ever stay sober.
My higher power probably wouldn't fit in the traditional category and doesn't intervene per se. I still can't clearly define my beliefs nor my higher power, but I am continually striving to improve my conscious contact with my higher power. My concept of my higher power is constantly evolving and changing as time goes on and I am feeling more comfortable and feel a better contact as a result. People may not be able understand my train of thought, but it is only important that I do. I have 16 years of sobriety and what I feel is a pretty solid stance in recovery. My views are working for me. Yours can for you as well as long as you are willing and work on improving your conscious contact.

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