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

Well, if you look through this site, you’ll know that I believe in God, so if you don’t agree with that outlook, you’ll have to figure out how to work out this one without that construct. Just hear me out for a moment: When people have been subjected to terrible pain, it is logical and natural to say, “There can’t be a God in the universe.” After all, if there is a God, how in the world can He or She allow such things to happen? I sure can’t answer that question–no one can. We are all limited by our humanness. Humans, after all, only have 5 senses. We can’t see the future; we really can’t understand the past the way people who lived it did; we can’t see too far away even with good eyesight; we can’t understand other cultures too well; we can’t even understand our family, for goodness sakes.

Don’t Try To Understand God

So, yeah, we are intensely limited. Naturally, we can’t understand the concept of God, let alone how a God that is supposed to be good can cause pain. Many times I’ve talked to Holocaust survivors who say they gave up on God and I don’t argue with them. Who am I to do so? The pain you suffered to get where you are now was just as great. It was your personal Holocaust.

I learned, as a therapist, that if I focus on the unanswerable questions, I spin my head into a pretzel and lose more sleep than is good for me. The strong of this world, I’ve discovered, don’t bother with questions they just can’t answer. Acknowledging our human limitation is what this Step program is all about. We just can’t answer God-existing questions. But not answering them doesn’t mean He/She doesn’t exist either. We can’t say why God allows pain into this otherwise-beautiful world, but the fact that the pain is there does not prove God isn’t. And it doesn’t prove God isn’t a good God. We absolutely just don’t know.

Instead Find A Solvable Problem To Solve

The way I cope with the unanswerable questions is I let them go and try to focus on the questions I can answer. A brilliant family therapist, Jay Haley, once listened to a convoluted case with an impossible problem to solve and simplified everything by saying, “I wouldn’t let that be the problem!” In other words, it is actually possible to redefine the problem so that it is solvable. The problem for an alcoholic, therefore, is not really too helpful if it is constructed as: How could there be a God if I’m suffering so badly? It is far more useful to frame the problem as: If there is a God, how can I get Him/Her to help me because, baby, I need some help? When you get out of that mood, you will agree I’m right. God could be like that too. Lots of people would say so. You can get mad at Him/Her and this Power would still be there for you once you realize you can turn to Him.

God Is A Resource In Your Recovery

The point of this Step is to come to the awareness that you can utlize God as a resource in your recovery. Now, you are entitled to ask a really good question: If this Power was not there for me before when I was abused or neglected, why should He be there for me now all of a sudden? The answer lies in you, in your own consciousness. It is all together possible that God was there for you when you were getting hurt. Did you not learn to numb out? Did you not learn to “disappear”? Did you not learn to soothe yourself with addictions? Perhaps things would have been worse had you not.

For a small child, the things you suffered and the way you coped might have been the best that you could learn at the time. Perhaps that was God in your life. Who knows? We’re back to those impossible questions. Let’s refocus, as I keep saying, on what you can do for yourself. Let’s refocus on the possible. So return to the question: How can I use God as a resource in my recovery? Which leads to Step 3.

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