- Step Two

Step Two




12 Steps: Discussions related to the 12 Steps and using them as a treatment to recover from alcohol and drug addiction.

Step Two

Postby relieved63 » Tue May 15, 2012 12:45 am

My name is Mike and I'm an alcoholic. My drinking c.v.- 48 yrs. age. I started drinking very young. I danced with AA for a few years in early twenties. I abandoned AA until last week. I am back and happy to be so. Sober seven days now.
Step One- No problemo. Step Two- I've read and re-read step two. I understand much of what is said, but it seems to me that ultimately, AA's goal is for every member to believe in God- Ultimately. It states there can be 'transitional beliefs', and I can dig it. It says just take it easy and it will come.
Here is my question and problem. (Let me preface- I feel blessed and relieved [hence my moniker] to be back in AA. I have every belief that I will stay in AA and will not drink again. I can feel it in my bones, because I know that I cannot personally accept any more degradation of my spirit. I could go on, but suffice it to say that I am happier than I've been in 30 years; just because I have a week under my belt and know I will never go back to that life.)
I do not believe in any sort of "God" in any organizational religious sense.
I do believe in ancient aliens that created us. (Call me nuts- I don't care. Read “The God's of Eden” and then talk to me.)
I do believe that we humans are endowed with a spiritual essence in each of us that is powerful in its life force.
One could say, "Well, there you go! You have your higher power! Yea!"
My problem is that while they are indeed a 'higher power' in a scientific sense, they are not a higher power in any other sense.
Ergo Sum, these Greys (Aliens) are not worthy of my veneration. They are not WORTHY to be prayed to and sought after for strength. They created humans to work and be slaves, in a sense, to their domination of this world. Again, read The God's of Eden lest you think me mad. I tell you this- there is logic and fact and correlation of common sense in that book on a level far greater than the bible and tales of God, or Yahweh, or Allah, or Shiva, or Zeus.....they are all the same for humans- answers to riddles of existence that change according to geographical cultures. I ask you this- Does a burning bush and a parted sea...wine to water and a virgin birth......a staff that turns into a snake, a man swallowed by a whale.....a firestorm of brimstone destroying cities, one basket of fish and bread feeding thousands.....a healing of the blind and a resurrection from death sound logical and feasible to you? This is obviously where faith comes in...this is why one must have FAITH to believe in God.
Anyway, I digress....if what I know to be a higher power is not worthy of that honorific, then is it feasible for me to employ myself as my higher power? More specifically, what I want for my higher power is the "idea of a sober, happy secure self, or 'me'". I feel this is at odds with the required (and I agree totally) humility needed to succeed in AA.
My conundrum is that if I have myself as my higher power then I am not submitting my will to anything other than myself.
But at the same time, I feel this is my only option to get through step two.

I would be grateful for any thought anyone might wish to share with me on this subject. Please bear in mind I've read step two and three many times over and know all the arguments in there. I'm on this forum specifically because there are no easy answers found relating to my particular belief system (mainly the fact that what I know to be a higher power is not worthy to be prayed to). I need help on this. I'm not going to drink either way- my heart is strong and my mind is firm and my will power is null and void- I KNOW I am powerless over alcohol and I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired.
It WOULD be nice to solve this riddle of belief, though. Thanks in advance.
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Re: Step Two

Postby Toast » Tue May 15, 2012 1:41 am

Hi Mike,

To each his own i suppose.

I once read a quote from the author Jack London who said he believed in the ' Lordship' of the human mind over the human body. Think he wrote this shortly before he put a gun in his mouth and blew his brains out.

Best of luck.
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Re: Step Two

Postby Frananne » Tue May 15, 2012 9:29 am

If you look around you at all the people in the world perhaps you can make them your higher power. The idea is to stop the selfishness that you have engaged in. The idea is to make amends with those persons in 8 and 9. The idea is to identify your faults that you want to stop practicing in steps 4 and 5.

If the community you live in is your higher power than every day meditate on how you can better serve them. Meditate not pray.

Come to believe that doing good for the higher power of community will remove your desire to drink. Your goal is to be loving and tolerant.

Your higher power cannot be yourself.

These are suggestions of course and opinions of one alcoholic.
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Re: Step Two

Postby Dallas » Tue May 15, 2012 3:19 pm

Welcome to the forum. I wish you well.

I wish that self-knowledge, 12 Step knowledge, an all-knowing knowledge of God, and all the knowledge in the world about alcohol-ism, would keep me sober. But, my own experience has proven that it won't -- for me. Believe me, I've tried it. :-)

I love the kinds of questions you asked -- because I've asked them, too.
And, I came up w/ some wonderful intelligent, rationally, logical and scientific answers to the questions.
But, even with all those answers -- I couldn't stay sober.

My problem is not a lack of knowledge and it isn't faith. My problem is not alcohol or other drugs. My problem is: Alcohol-ism.

First, I'd like to mention, that AA itself, does not give a hoot about what anyone believes or disbelieves. It has no "Ultimate Goals" of anything other than "staying sober and helping other alcoholics to achieve & maintain sobriety."

There is an AA Way to achieve this objective. It's called the 12 Steps. That's the AA solution. AA doesn't have a monopoly on anything, sobriety, God, Higher Power, alcohol-ism, or the treatment of it. It is simply a "way" that has worked for AA's. It's a program of recovery -- that came about by experiment and experience. It has worked for millions of alcoholics -- for going on 80 years. It works for those that work it and it doesn't work for those who attempt to work it, or for those who attempt to figure out their own program of recovery. Those are my observations based upon my personal experience.

Leaving the question of God, aside, and Higher Power aside -- I'd like to ask a few logic questions on one of your ideas that you are exploring. You mentioned:

(mainly the fact that what I know to be a higher power is not worthy to be prayed to).


and:

My conundrum is that if I have myself as my higher power then I am not submitting my will to anything other than myself. But at the same time, I feel this is my only option to get through step two.


My question would be: 1. Do you HAVE and POSSESS what it takes to consider YOURSELF to be honorific enough to pray to? 2. If the answer is "Yes", then why don't you try praying to yourself -- and see if that will fix your problems and keep you sober? Also -- 3. Have any of the books that you've read, and any of the knowledge and ideas that you currently have -- been able to keep you sober?

IF it has worked for you and does work for you -- then hang on to those ideas. You don't need AA's way. You've already found what works for you. Just continue doing what you're doing. And, do it for as long as you can do it and for as long as it works for you.

My ultimate suggestion for you -- (ULTIMATE. LOL)... would be, to have a back-up plan. It's ALWAYS ULTIMATELY a good idea to have a back-up plan -- until we reach the place where there are no other ultimate back-up plans.

That's what I did. Then, when all of my back-up plans, and even AA's Plan -- failed to work for me -- I became willing to let go of ALL my old ideas (about AA and everything else) -- absolutely and ultimately. It was only then, that I could start over -- with a fresh drawing board in my mind to try do-ing something different.

Dallas
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Re: Step Two

Postby relieved63 » Wed May 16, 2012 12:53 pm

Hi Dallas and Fran. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Dallas, what you said about 'try praying to yourself'..brilliant and made me stand still and think. That will not work, of course. I do not and cannot pray to myself. Sounds like the ultimate narcissist act to me. LOL. I was at a meeting last night and the old adage of 'you can have a doorknob as your higher power if you want' was chucked out there. After the meeting, an old timer said "The problem with a doorknob as a higher power is that it can turn on you". Very funny and wise and true , in the larger allegorical sense.
I am seeking God, 'as I understand him', and that is very difficult for me. I'm really trying here- my life and my wife and future qualioty of life are on felt. I feel now very strong in my conviction, but having been around AA, I know I need more. A doorknob is stupid. I have issues with the word 'God', as many AA's do, or did. I'm not trying to reinvent the wheel here. Or even look for a new way to skin the cat. I will (as I've heard so many state) continue to follow in the traditions of those before me- traditions that have been proven successful, time and time again. It may take me a while to get there; but, my body being my house; and, like an actual house, it's an ongoing project the entire time you live with it. Thanks again for your great advice, all three of you. And poster # 1, I didn't know Jack London killed himself. "Seawolf" is one of my favorite books of all time. For not beliveing in 'God', per se', I do invoke his name twenty times a day (and not in a cuss word), and I also say I'll pray for you quyite a bit....I may not be so far from the path as I think I am. I just have to get over this "Sunday school Idea" of God...blood of the lamb thing and I can probably get further along the path. Thanks again.
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Re: Step Two

Postby Dallas » Wed May 16, 2012 4:23 pm

Great to hear from you and thank you for sharing.

My struggles were very similar to yours. Except -- I figured that IF there was a God, why did He hate me so much? I was extremely angry at God, and figured He was just as angry w/ me. I thought that I was God's punching bag. So, I didn't want to believe. Yet, I knew for sure -- that if there was no God -- I was screwed, too. I KNEW that I could not stay sober. And, I knew that drinking I was dead. And, sober -- I couldn't deal with Life. It was too painful and too miserable to be alive while sober.

Here's a few things that helped me get over the hoop.

My sponsor asked me "Are you willing -- to become willing -- to become willing to be willing to become willing to believe in a Power Greater than yourself?"

That made me dizzy. LOL. And, I figured that I'd really have to be dumb to not be able to at least do this. :-)

I said, "I think -- I might be able to do that."

He said, "Well I'll be damned! Maybe there is a God!" LOL.

He said, "Here's what I want you to do. Take one of those yellow tablets of paper that you seem to always have -- and try to forget EVERYTHING that you know, about God, AA, and everything else in Life. And, I want you to do some writing."

I asked "EVERYTHING?" He said, yes, everything. Then, he pointed me to a sentence at the bottom of page 58 of the Big Book, that read: "Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely."

He said, "You know too much and you're too smart to be able to get this deal. In your case -- you'll have to get rid of ALL your old ideas -- to have any hope at all of getting this. And, I don't believe you'll be able to do this. You're too smart. Self-made. Self-taught. And, it's served you very well in life. I don't believe you CAN let go of ALL your old ideas."

As I see it now -- looking back -- for the first time, the table was turned on me. The problem was no longer God. The problem was me. My ideas were mine. It was up to me, if I could let them go or not. I didn't want to let them go. Many times, those old ideas kept me alive. The helped me survive. They were my Ace in the hole! I figured that the only thing more scary than believing in some kind of God would have been to try living as a grown man -- without having all my brilliant ideas! I had doubts. I thought it was insane. But, my only option was "try this or die drinking."

He went on to say, "God as YOU understand God, HAS to be a God of your OWN conception. It can't be my conception or someone else's conception. It can't be something you were taught or read about in a book -- or else, your using someone elses conception and NOT your OWN conception. It MUST be a God of your OWN conception -- or else, you'll never understand it anyway. You'll never be able to fully believe in it because it's not yours."

That's a huge difference. "A God of your OWN conception -- as you understand God" vs "Your thoughts about God -- as you understand your thoughts about God."

I was to take my pad of paper, and write down MY OWN conception of what God would be like "IF" there was a God.

So, the heat was once again on me.

Rather than jump to what I wrote down as "my conception of what God would be like" and polute your thinking with it, LOL... I'll share some things that I considered:


Make a list of stuff -- that I consider to be a Power greater than myself?

1. Ropes & pulleys: When I was about 5 yrs old -- I watched two small skinny guys lift a huge piano that weighed more than both of them. They lifted it two stories high -- from the ground up to a balcony window -- where they took the piano into an apartment.

There was no power in the rope. There was no power in the pulleys. The two guys didn't have enough power combined in the two of them to lift that piano two stories in the air -- so how was it done? It took a Power greater than those two guys!

Did the guys "create" or make the rope? Yes. Was the rope the Higher Power? No. No power in the rope.
Did the guys "create" or make the pulleys? Probably not. The probably bought them from someone else that made them. Power in the pulleys? No.

Oh, what's this about Physics? Physics you say? LOL. Did the guys create the Physics? No. LOL.
Did the guys use the physics? Yes.
Was there power in the physics? No.
Physics are only an idea with no power -- unless they are used and applied.

Then, where did the physics come from? Hmmm?
Probably the same place as Gravity came from (Gravity is also a Power greater than me).
Can you SEE gravity? No.
So, to believe in gravity -- you're believing in something you can't see. Right?
Is gravity present -- regardless if you believe in gravity or not? Yes.

Is gravity a power greater than yourself? If you don't believe that it is -- try jumping up in the air -- and stay suspended in air -- without coming down. :-) Can you do it?

So, gravity is a Power greater than you? It's greater than me -- or, I wouldn't have fallen off a ladder & broke my leg! I would have suspended myself in air and gently let me down! :-)

Would it take MY Power -- to jump up in the air? Yes. ALL of my power. :-)
Would it take MY Power -- to raise a piano w/ ropes & pulleys? Yes. ALL of my power.

So, what IF we think of the Ropes & Pulleys and Piano & Weight of the Piano (which is also a Power that I can't see -- but I could feel -- if the piano fell on me) -- and simply consider those things as "TOOLS."

I didn't create the tools. There is no power in the tools. But, there is a Power Greater than me -- that I did not create -- or make -- by using the tools. I don't create the Power. I simply USE the Power that becomes available to me, by using the tools -- and that Power is a Power greater than my own power -- even though I have to use ALL my OWN power to use the tools.

That made sense to me. Thus, there was a Power Greater than me -- that I don't understand (because I don't know all there is to know about physics) -- but it's undeniable that the power is there and it's greater than me.

And, Gravity is a power greater than me, that I didn't create or make -- doesn't care if I believe in it or not. And, doesn't care if I use it or not. Gravity uses me. :-)

So, "what if" the 12 Steps are "tools"? No power in the 12 Steps. I have to use ALL my own power to use them -- however, in using the tools -- it creates a Power Greater than me -- that changes me?"

I couldn't change myself. So, I used some tools. Any by using the tools "the application of applied action" in conjunction w/ the tools -- connects me to a Power -- greater than me -- that I don't understand -- changes me.

Sorry this got so long. There is more that I came up w/ but, that's enough for now.

Dallas
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Re: Step Two

Postby Dallas » Wed May 16, 2012 4:42 pm

Just came across an old post of mine, here, where I had already written some on this topic:


Then, one day I was doing some serious thinking while drinking, and trying to figure out the how and why those "less-than-me's" in AA could get sober and stay sober and I couldn't! :lol:

That was when I discovered that my drinking was a Power Greater than myself! Hmmmm... maybe... that's what those AA's had been trying to say to me in regards to "alcohol-ism"????

Up to that time, I had only been aware of them talking to me about a Higher Power, or Power Greater than myself -- in relationship to some kooky ideas about GOD! :lol: :lol:

I then, starting thinking along the lines of "Okay. So... maybe, just may be... I've created a Problem that's greater than me -- which means I'll be forced to find a Solution that's greater than the Problem! And, if I can find a Solution that's greater than the Problem -- that will obviously be a Power greater than me!

Then, an AA oldtimer slipped a riddle in my head that bugged the crap out of me! I couldn't stop thinking about it. A simple idea. He said "God, is the application of applied principles." And, that was all he said. He wouldn't discuss it with me and wouldn't answer any of my questions about it. It was like "I just gave you the riddle and the answer to the riddle is in the riddle -- go figure it out for yourself and leave me alone about it!" :lol:

Dallas


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