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The Big Twelve
Step 1
Step 2
Step 3
Step 4
Step 5
Step 6
Step 7
Step 8
Step 9
Step 10
Step 11
Step 12

Step 2

Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.



“We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity.”


1.      None but a higher power can remove our obsession (acquired defects of character and the controlling old thinking mind).


2.      Step Two is the beginning of the end of our old life (old ways of thinking—false self), and the beginning of our emergence into a new life (transformation of the false self through elimination and change of our old ways of thinking).


3.      Prerequisites for Step Two:


  1. Alcoholics Anonymous does not demand that we believe anything.
  2. To get sober and to stay sober, we don’t have to swallow all of Step Two right now.
  3. All you really need is a truly open mind.


4.      When we stop arguing over a higher power, Step Two will gently and very gradually begin to infiltrate our life.


5.      The road blocks of indifference, fancied self-sufficiency, prejudice and defiance will, if we allow them, impede our progress in Step Two.


6.      The dilemma of the wanderer from faith is that of profound confusion (the old thinking still controlling our lives).


7.      Humility and intellect can be compatible, provided we place humility first.  (The thinker is meant to be God’s servant, not our master.)


8.      Remember, winners are always positive, and losers negative.


9.      Defiance is the outstanding characteristic of many an alcoholic.  (So it’s not strange that we have defied also.)


10.  At few times had we asked what God’s will was for us; instead we had been telling God what it ought to be.


11.  Belief means reliance, not defiance.


12.  We supposed we had humility when really we hadn’t.


13.  We remained self-deceived (praying, if we did, for our wishes instead of “Thy will be done”) and so, incapable of receiving enough grace to restore us to sanity.





14.  “Sanity” is defined as “soundness of mind”.  Yet no addict/alcoholic soberly analyzing his destructive behavior can claim “soundness of mind” for himself.


15.  True humility and an open mind can lead us to faith which is an assurance that God will restore us to sanity if we rightly relate ourselves to God.


16.  The main problem of the addict/alcoholic centers in his mind rather than his body.


17.  Lack of power is our dilemma.  We have to find a power by which we can live, and it has to be a power greater than ourselves.


18.  We found that as soon as we were able to lay aside prejudice and express even a willingness to believe in a power greater than ourselves, we commenced to get results.


19.  Self-sufficiency cannot solve all our problems.  (The thinker can get us into situations but cannot get us out of them.)






In Step One, we first made the admission that we were, are now, and will remain powerless over our addiction/alcoholism.  This implies, in no uncertain terms, that we have an obsession to use/drink and an allergy of the body that leads to either death or insanity.  Secondly, and more importantly, we came to recognize that our lives are unmanageable by us alone and this leads us naturally into Step Two.


Once again, step two can be viewed as having two aspects.  The first aspect concerns the beginning of our spiritual development, which is the foundation of the program.  Since we recognized that our lives have been, are now, and will remain unmanageable by us alone (having completed a thorough Step One), we must now come to grips with the fact that we need a new manager.  The old manager (the thinking mind, with its acquired defects of character) led us into the depths of deep despair, self-centeredness, loneliness, and an apartness from our true self.  We found that the thinking mind could not solve our problems.  Thus, the conclusion that we must start to find a new manager of our life (a power greater than ourselves) is paramount if we want to become happy, positive and loving as we are meant to be.


We came to believe that a power exists which is greater than ourselves, and that this belief is absolutely necessary if we are to honestly complete the remaining ten steps.  At this point, all you really need is a truly open mind.




Thus, Step Two can become the springboard on which we can begin the journey toward spiritual awakening.  Remember, all that is needed is willingness, open-mindedness and rigorous honesty.


The second aspect of Step Two concerns sanity.  Sanity involves living sanely.  Since this step is about the restoration of sanity, how can this occur?  We may not relate with “soundness of mind”, but we surely can identify with insanity as being unsoundness of mind.  The true self is sane, whereas the false self (the thinker with its acquired character defects) has not usually been an example of sane living.  We are left with the true self and its sanity. 


Step Two, properly approached, worked, and lived, will start the beginning of the end of our old life, and the beginning of our emergence into a new life. 


The purpose of writing the Second Step is to help us become aware of the acquired, destructive thinking that has wrecked our lives.


Go through the following examples and be as honest and specific as you are able to at this time.  Give specific examples and situations from your own life.  You are after the destructive, acquired character defects.






Answer the questions below specifically.  Indicate how you are trying to understand your spiritual history or lack of it.


1.      Have you ever believed that the thinking mind is all-powerful and that it could solve all your problems? 


2.      Have you ever considered yourself an atheist or agnostic?   If so, describe why.


3.      Have you ever rejected organized religion?  If so, what were your reasons for doing so? 


4.      Did you, at any time, consider the idea that a power greater than yourself might exist?  If so, describe the attributes of that power.




Answer the questions below as honestly as you are able to at this point.  Remember, this power, greater than yourself, is your own concept.  All you really need is willingness and a truly open mind.



1.      Are any of the following roadblocks present in your life?

  1. Indifference
  2. Fancied self-sufficiency
  3. Prejudice
  4. Defiance


2.      Twelve step programs and their suggested twelve steps have a spiritual foundation.  What does this mean to you? 


3.      What do you consider the most important thing in your life today?


4.      Do you doubt the existence of a power greater than yourself? 


5.      What is your mental image of God? 


6.      Does a power greater than yourself play a part in your daily life? 




“Sanity” is defined as “soundness of mind” (Twelve Steps & Twelve Traditions).  What we are concerned with now, is becoming aware of the old patterns of insane thinking (the reaction toward people, places and things that caused havoc in our lives).  Answer the questions below honestly and with a truly open mind.  Remember that insanity is not a part of your true self.  Insanity exists in the acquired false self, which is not a part of the real you, so dig deep!


1.      Do you have any fears in your life today?  (fear of people, emotional insecurity, financial insecurity, etc.)  List these fears. 


2.      Can you recognize self-centeredness in your life?  If so, give examples. 


3.      Do you believe the “main problem of the alcoholic centers in his mind rather than his body”?  (Alcoholics Anonymous [Big Book], page 23)  Why or why not?  


4.      What areas of your life do you feel that you have little or no control over? (family, job, spiritual or emotional)  Why do you feel you have little or no control over these areas? 


5.      Describe how the following feelings or attitudes got you into trouble:

  1. Anger
  2. Resentment
  3. Jealousy
  4. Pride




6.      Do you consider yourself as being a positive person?  In what areas of your life are you positive?


7.      Do you consider yourself as being a negative person?  In what areas of your life are you negative? 


8.      What is your idea of the false self (the old self with its acquired defects of character that attempts to control your life)? 


9.      What do you think is your true self and how do you find it?


10.  Do you believe that a power greater than yourself could restore you to sanity?  How? 


11.  How am I going to live step two (came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity) in my life on a daily basis? 


12.  Write a summary or “picture” of yourself as you see yourself now (your good and bad points).  Remember, the good points (assets) are the real you and the bad points (liabilities) are the false you. 


Have you come to believe?

Work the steps, call your sponsor, just don't take that first drink, call before you fall, if you don't think about it, you'll drink about it.