Previous | | Next | | E-Mail | | Contents | | V&FT

The Second Step
The Gift of Belief

In the First Step we admitted we were powerless over our sins, and that we could not manage our lives autonomously, being our own god, making up our own rules.

Being powerless, it is clear that this realization was itself the gift of God.

Step Two

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

Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, NY: A.A. World Services, 1981, p. 32. This Second Step has an interesting parallel with the Second Commandment. Both are concerned with false worship.

America is said to be one of the most religious nations in the industrialized West. We are said to be a nation of faith, and truly, there is a lot of religion and a lot of faith in our land. But there was a lot of religion in ancient Israel, and this was the basis for God's judgment of the nation. Many addicts can tell you:

To clergymen, doctors, friends and families, the alcoholic who means well and tires hard is a heartbreaking riddle. To most A.A.'s, he is not. There are too many of us who have been just like him, and have found the riddle's answer. This answer has to do with the quality of faith rather than its quantity. This has been our blind spot., We supposed we had humility when really we hadn't. We supposed we had been serious about religious practices when, upon honest appraisal, we found we had been only superficial. Or, going to the other extreme, we had wallowed in emotionalism and had mistaken it for true religious feeling. In both cases, we had been asking something for nothing. The fact was we really hadn't cleaned house so that the grace of God could enter us and expel the obsession. In no deep or meaningful sense had we ever taken stock of our selves, made amends to those we had harmed, or freely given to any other human being without any demand for reward. We had not even prayed rightly. We had always said, "Grant me my wishes," instead of "Thy will be done." The love of God and man we understood not at all. Therefore we remained self-deceived, and so incapable of receiving enough grace to restore us to sanity.

You may have noticed that the links above take you to Steps 4, 9, and 12. In other words, you may need to suspend judgment on Step Two and go on to the rest of the Steps. You may not be able to relinquish your autonomy until you have done a "fearless and searching moral inventory" and taken responsibility for your actions. It's easy to say "I have the right to decide for myself what is good and what is bad behavior, and my decision is always right." Forcing yourself to repair the damage caused by your autonomy will cause you to re-evaluate your faith in yourself.

This link will take you to the next Step.

Join a Mailing List Dedicated to
Developing Virtue
Enter your e-mail address:
virtue archive
An e-group hosted by

Vine & Fig Tree
12314 Palm Dr. #107
Desert Hot Springs, CA 92240
[e-mail to V&FT]
[V&FT Home Page]