Friday, January 8, 2010

Step Two.

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

My understanding of this Step, as with so much of Al-Anon, continues to evolve. I began with a vague idea that this power greater than myself would do the Creator thing of waving a magic wand, and bing! I'd be sane, and wouldn't that be nice.

Since I wasn't sure I'd ever been sane to begin with, when I gazed down that thought path, it sort of faded away into the mist. I liked the idea of being "restored to sanity" but I wasn't sure what that would look or feel like - I felt I'd been bonkers in one way or another for my entire life, and I didn't want to go back to any of my previous states of mind, so where was I going to end up, sane? How would I recognise it? Would I be able to maintain it, or was it a now-you-see-it, now-you-don't sort of thing?

I definitely preferred the concept of sanity as being something I was awarded, rather than something requiring much effort on my part, but that's not how it has worked for me. I've had delicious moments of clarity that I know were God handing me knowledge on a plate, complete with silverware, napkin, and instructions.

Those moments are a precious gift, and I'd love to have more of them, but most of it has been work, of varying degrees of effort. Some has been fairly simple - if I want result B, I must take action A. Some has been a hard slog, shoving my way through my own confused belief systems, searching for some tiny area of clear ground on which to stand, so I could begin the clean-up,  shovelling it all into the dumpster marked "Old Attitudes," getting it into a sort of central clearing room, to be gone over at a later date with my sponsor.

I've had to truly, deeply, passionately desire change - when I have been half-hearted, so has my new sanity been half-hearted: moments of clarity in the mud and murk, but on the whole, not much different.

Only when I've wanted it badly enough, and been imbued with determination to achieve it, has the sanity become less of a shadowy figure haunting the backdrop of my days, and more of a rock solidly planted in the foreground, around which all else is happily arranged. My own personal focal point.


  1. I am a slow learner and a hard-headed student. It took me years to REALLY "GET" Step 2. I would have moments of clarity, usually when my ego and my will had me on a path that ended with pain...again...and again..I would let go and surrender, begrudgingly most of the time. But I kept at it, I kept coming back, I kept listening, I kept getting back up, brushed the dirt off my arse, and started again. It gets easier. And it gets better. Each time.

    I sooo understand.


  2. Yes, I needed to want to change too. It would be nice to stay in what behavioral patterns (the crazy ones) I was used to. But I chose to do something different in this program. I am grateful.