Monday, July 27, 2009

Step Two.

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

There's a certain arrogance in those of us who are control freaks - there has to be, otherwise we wouldn't be so convinced of our own rightness, and so determined to change the actions and thinking of other people. This arrogance is part of the "insanity" of which Al-Anon speaks. (As a program friend says, it's why business meetings can be so interesting, watching a table full of control freaks trying to achieve a result through consensus.)

One of the difficulties in treating true insanity, is the disbelief upon the part of the sufferer, that anything is wrong with them. Many of us, when new to program, are carrying that same stubborn belief that we are fine, it's the rest of the world, and chiefly the alcoholic, who demonstrate a problem. I believe that's why the word "insanity" is used in the 12-Steps of Al-Anon, because the founders truly believed that those of us who walk this path are occasionally dancing around the edges of that particular bonfire.

Before I can accept help, I must admit my need for it. Before I can admit my need for it, I must admit to my part in the craziness. We are all insane in our own way, and we all have insanity in common. I've sat in meetings and cringed in recognition, as a member describes a choice made in the heat of anger or resentment, which, when examined in a calmer moment, can be labelled nothing if not "insane."

It's a blessing of this program that no-one will force upon me, their own beliefs in a Higher Power - I'm free to find my own.
My "Power greater than myself" was, before my spiritual awakening, my Al-Anon group. We use whatever handholds work for us, as we scramble to pull ourselves up and out of the pit into which we have fallen.

I couldn't believe in a God, at first, and was grateful to hear that belief wasn't a prerequisite - when I walked through the door to a meeting, they'd pull up a chair for me, regardless of my spiritual beliefs, progress, or lack thereof. My program is entirely up to me, there are no tests to evaluate my advancement.

Even when I was very new to program, I could see how attending the meetings, even though I barely heard or grasped the program, had an immediate positive effect upon me and my coping abilities. That kept me coming back, for long enough, to learn enough, to be open to the idea of a spiritual awakening.


  1. When I get it in my mind that I know exactly how someone else should proceed with their life, I often have to step back and ask myself how well did I do it myself? My best thinking got me near death's door.

    I can share my experience, strength, and hope - what I have learned. I can support and encourage, but it needs to be God in charge, in control of my life and the other person's life.


  2. I didn't realize how much I tried to control things. I think that I may still try to do so in insidious ways. It is a defect born of fear. But it hinders my progress in life. Thanks for a great post. I too recognize myself in what you write.