“Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” — Narcotics Anonymous (NA) Step Two
Note: In this blog post, we reference Step Two as outlined in the NA Basic Text interchangeably with Step Two as outlined in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).
Step Two is about developing humility and restoring hope. In this step, we recognize that (however much we have tried) we do not have complete control over our lives. With this realization, we gain humility. And, through open-mindedness, we can become willing to accept the help of a higher power.
As we did with Step One in our previous post, let’s break the second step into two parts:
“Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves…”
For many, a common challenge with working Step Two stems from negative associations with God or organized religion. We suggest keeping in mind that the 12 Steps are not about religion. The beauty of the 12 Steps is that they do not dictate who or what your higher power should be. You can choose a higher power that makes sense to you (whether it might be nature or the spirit of a loved one or the 12-Step fellowship, etc.).
“Could restore us to sanity.”
Some people feel indignant that the 12 Steps could imply they suffer from insanity. They rationalize that if they can keep a job or succeed in school or pay their bills or keep their family together, then surely they must not be insane.
NA defines insanity as repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results. This definition includes anyone who continues addictive behavior with the delusion that “this time will be different.” According to “NA: An Introductory Guide,” “Insanity is using drugs, day after day, knowing that only physical and mental destruction comes when we use. The most obvious insanity of the disease of addiction is the obsession to use drugs.”
Deeper Thinking About Step Two
Asking yourself the following questions can encourage a deeper understanding of this step:
- What, if anything, is your perception of a higher power? Reflect on previous experiences or memories that might have impacted your perception.
- Are you willing to believe you are not the highest power in the universe (in which case, there is likely something/someone greater than yourself)? Why or why not?
- What does “sanity” mean to you? What does “insanity” mean to you?
- Where or when could your previous (or current) behavior be classified as “insane”?