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In Loving Memory of Vic

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Need to get to a meeting and speak to someone right away? Below is a list of online meetings and resources to help you find a meeting and fellowship.

+ Alcoholics Anonymous Online Meeting Finder
+ Overeaters Anonymous Meeting Finder
+ Narcotics Anonymous Meeting Finder
+ Al-Anon Online Meeting Finder

Step Two

Step Two

“We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”

Our surrender in the First Step leaves us with a deep need to believe that we can recover. This surrender makes it possible for us to feel hope. By admitting our own powerlessness, we open our minds to an entirely new idea: the possibility that something greater than ourselves might be powerful enough to relieve our obsession to use drugs. It is quite likely that, before coming to NA, we never believed in any power but our own willpower, and that had failed us. NA introduces us to a new understanding. We draw hope from this understanding and begin to comprehend what it means to believe that a Power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity. We find additional hope by listening to other recovering addicts. We can relate to where they’ve been and draw hope from who they’ve become. We listen closely at meetings and become willing to apply what we hear to our own lives. As we begin to believe that there is hope for us, we also begin to trust the process of recovery.

Our White Booklet states, “There is one thing more than anything else that will defeat us in our recovery: this is an attitude of indifference or intolerance toward spiritual principles. Three of these that are indispensable are honesty, open-mindedness, and willingness.” This doesn’t mean we must be unfailingly honest, open-minded, and willing. We just have to try as best we can to practice these principles. As we first approach Step Two, we can practice the principle of honesty by acknowledging and sharing what we do or don’t believe about a Power greater than ourselves. Developing our open-mindedness requires some effort, but we can practice this principle by listening to other recovering addicts share how they came to believe. For many of us, the willingness to try something new came about simply because we were so tired of our old ways. It seemed to us that, because our own power wasn’t sufficient to restore our sanity, perhaps something else could, if we let it.

Many of us felt that insanity was too harsh a word to describe our condition. However, if we take a realistic look at our active addition., we’ll see that we have been anything but sane. For the most part, our perceptions were not based in reality. We viewed the world around us as a hostile environment. Some of us withdrew physically and had little, if any, contact with anyone. Some of us went through the motions of life but allowed nothing to touch us emotionally. Either way, we ended up feeling isolated. Despite evidence to the contrary, we felt that we were in control. We ignored or didn’t believe the truths that were staring us in the face. We continued to do the same things and expected the results to be different. Worst of all was the fact that we continued to use drugs, regardless of the negative consequences we experienced. Despite the warning signs that our drug use was out of control, we continued trying to justify it. All to often, the result was that we could no longer face ourselves. When we take a realistic look at our lives, there can be no doubt that we desperately need a restoration to sanity.

Regardless of our individual interpretation of the term “restoration,” most of us agree that, for us, it means changing to a point where addition and its accompanying insanity are not controlling our lives. Being restored to sanity is a life-long process. Individually, we experience it differently at varying stages of our recovery, but we all can see some results of this process right from the beginning of our recovery. Initially, being restored to sanity means that we no longer have to use drugs. We go to meetings rather than isolating. We call our sponsor rather than sitting alone with painful feelings. We ask for our sponsor’s guidance in working the steps, a real demonstration of sanity. We begin to believe that a powerful force can restore us to sanity. At long last, we feel hope for ourselves.

“We came to believe” implies a process. For some, this process is simple, and it may bring immediate results. Many of us arrived in NA so completely defeated that we were willing to try anything. Seeking help from a Power greater than ourselves may have been the best idea we had ever heard. However, the process of coming to believe can be difficult, even painful. Many of us have found that acting as if we believe is helpful. This does not mean we should be dishonest. Rather, it means that if we have doubts, we practice the program as if we believe we can be restored to sanity.

Belief in a Power greater than ourselves does not come easily to all of us. However, we have found an open mind indispensable when we approach this step. If we look around us, we find many reasons to believe. Our belief may simply be that we can recover from a life of active addiction. The freedom from the obsession to use may be our first experience of a Power greater than ourselves at work in our lives. Perhaps for the first time in many years, our obsession with drugs no longer controls our every waking moment. Knowing that we don’t have to use today is a powerful belief in and of itself.

We start to develop faith through the process of coming to believe. It starts with hope. For some of us, this may be only a faint spark at first, perhaps just the thought that maybe, if we work this program, our lives will get better. Our hope turns to faith as our lives begin to improve. For many of us, faith can be described as a belief in something intangible. After all, who can logically explain the sudden lifting of an obsession to use drugs, yet this has happened for many of us. With our hope for a different life and the beginnings of our faith that recovery is possible, we start the process of coming to believe in a Power greater than ourselves.

We come from various walks of life and experiences, so it is natural that we bring with us differing concepts of spirituality. In NA, no one is forced to believe any set ideas. Each one of us can believe in anything in which we want to believe. This is a spiritual program, not a religion. Individually, we cultivate our own beliefs about a Power greater than we are. No matter what we understand this Power to be, help is available to us all.

In the beginning, many of us turn to the group or the love we encounter in Narcotics Anonymous as our Higher Power. An NA group is a powerful example of a Power greater than ourselves at work. Often in desperation, we enter a room full of addicts who share their experience, strength, and hope with us. As we listen, we know with certainty that they have felt the hopelessness and remorse from which we, too, have suffered. As we observe other addicts practicing a new way of life without the use of drugs, we may come to believe that we, too can recover. Watching other addicts stay clean is compelling proof of the existence of a Power greater than ourselves. We notice acceptance that recovering addicts show each other. We watch as addicts celebrate lengths of clean time that we think will be impossible for us to attain. Perhaps someone hugs us and tells us to “keep coming back.” Members give us their phone numbers. We feel the power of the group, and this helps us start to heal.

Many of us use spiritual principles as a power greater than ourselves. We come to believe that, by practicing these principles in our lives, we can be restored to sanity. This makes sense to us because we have tried many times to think ourselves into a better way of life. We usually had good intentions, but our day-to-day existence rarely measured up to those intentions. Trying it the other way, practicing a better way of life eventually have an effect on our thinking.

It is not necessary that we define for ourselves the entire concept of a Power greater than ourselves. Those of us with many years of recovery find that our understanding of a Higher Power changes over time. Our belief grows, as does our faith. We come to believe in a Power which can help us far more than we originally thought.

As we search for understanding of a Higher Power, we can talk with our sponsor and other recovering addicts. We may ask them what their idea of a Higher Power is and how they arrived at it. This may open our minds to possibilities we hadn’t considered before.

While it is useful to question others about their spiritual beliefs, we must remember that our understanding of a Power greater than ourselves is up to each individual. Others can help us. We may even adopt the ideas of someone else for a while or just believe that they believe. Eventually, however, we need to come to believe for ourselves. The need for our own sense of spirituality is too vital to our recovery for us to neglect this highly personal process.

For us, part of the process of coming to believe is accepting the evidence we see. Our addiction caused us to deny the truths we saw. But now, in recovery, we can believe what we see. At first, we open our minds and try something new, somehow believing that what we try might work. After we take a few small steps toward belief and trust and see results, we become willing to take bigger steps. We find that we are no longer acting as if we believe. Our belief is now reinforced with our own personal expedience, some of which is unexplainable. We sometimes encounter remarkable coincidences in our lives that have no rational explanation. We don’t need to explain or analyze these occurrences. We can simply accept that they happen and be grateful for them.

The longer we stay clean, the more evident it becomes that our addiction goes much deeper than the drugs we used. Much of our problem seems to center in our search for something to make us feel whole. It is a tremendous struggle to stop relying on our own reasoning and ask for help, especially given the self-centered nature of our disease. However, we are becoming open-minded. In realizing that we don’t have all the answers, we begin to find some humility. We may not grasp the full impact of what being humble means, but our open-mindedness assures us that we have found and have begun to demonstrate this valuable quality.

Our humility and open-mindedness make us teachable. We allow others to share what has worked for them. This takes humility, for we must let go of our fears about how we may appear to others. Some of the strongest suggestions we may receive from other addicts are to attend meetings, ask for help, pray, and work the steps. Our experience has shown us that belief in a Higher Power leads us toward recovery in Narcotics Anonymous. People tent to live what they believe, and our newfound belief calls on us to live the program. No matter what we choose for our personal Higher Power, we’ve come to believe that NA works. We live what we believe by continuing on our path of recovery and working the Twelve Steps to the best of our ability.

Even after years clean, when we have been working a program of recovery and seeking change, we may at times experience periods when life seems meaningless. We may experience a sense of alienation too painful to ignore. At such times, we may find ourselves moving away from sanity, not toward it. We may begin to question our commitment to recovery. We can become obsessed with self-destructive thoughts. We may feel an urge to fall back on what seems easier: the familiar ways of our addition. During these times, we need to renew our commitment to recovery. We trust that we are undergoing a fundamental transformation, even though we may not yet understand its full implication for our lives. As painful as it seems, we must change. If we trust that there is growth despite the pain, we can walk through these difficult periods more readily.

During these times, relying on the Second Step provides us with hope and reminds us that we are not alone. If things don’t feel right, we take time to think and seek suggestions from our sponsor. We trust that, with help form other recovering addicts and a Power greater than ourselves, we can be restored to sanity in all areas of our lives. We draw upon what we have learned from going to meetings and following directions. We accept that life on life’s terms may not always be to our liking or, more importantly, to our understanding. Sanity often means, that we don’t act on our first impulse. We begin to make choices that help us rather than harm us. What worked for us in the beginning remains applicable, no matter how many years we have been clean. Once again, we reapply ourselves to the basics of the program: going to meetings, reaching out for help, and working the steps. Although we may feel despair, there is hope: a Power greater than ourselves is always available to us.

Along with the hope we derive from working Step Two, we find that our way of thinking is undergoing a radical change. The whole world looks different. Where before we had no reason to hope, we now have every reason to expect a dramatic difference in our lives. By being open-minded, we’ve opened ourselves to new ideas. We’ve stepped away from the problem and toward a spiritual solution.

This solution is evidenced by our open-mindedness and our willingness to believe in a Power greater than ourselves. We must now go on to Step Three to develop a relationship with the God of our understanding.

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