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Posted by on in Alcoholism

In recovery, we go through the steps with our sponsor.  However, the steps also must be worked in our daily lives.  As the Twelfth Step of Alcoholics Anonymous suggests, we must practice these principles in all our affairs.

Hope and Faith

As the second step offers us a beginning to the solution for our problem, we must maintain this attitude in our daily lives. We learn to never lose hope, to have faith that things will work out, and to continue believing that there are powers that are working for us if we embrace them.

In order to work this step, which states, "Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity," we must be in constant belief that our spiritual program will work for us. The essence of the hope behind this step is that we must have faith in the path laid out before us. When we encounter difficult situations, fear, or we don't know what we should do, we must use the tools we have. We reach out to others, take a deep breath, or sleep on it. We begin to trust in our fellows and in the Twelve Steps.

Working this step in our daily lives is not easy at first, as we have to go against how we have been living in our addiction. We learn to believe in the Power greater than ourselves through taking action. This step is the beginning of taking contrary action. Where we once made impulsive decisions in the heat of our emotions, we now consult our sponsors and the program.

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Posted by on in Alcoholism

The Second Step of Alcoholics Anonymous states, "Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity." The principle behind Step Two is hope. The 2nd Step is also closely related to the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism, especially the Third Noble Truth.

Step Two and Hope

In Step One, we admit powerlessness over drugs and alcohol. We concede to our innermost selves that we are addicts, and practice rigorous self-honesty. In Step Two, we essentially do the opposite. We are offered hope for a seemingly hopeless state. The phrase, "Came to believe" tells us that our faith does not always happen instantly. It takes time. We slowly open our minds and hearts to see what the Twelve Steps have to offer us. As we know we are powerless over things and our lives are unmanageable, we are being offered a way to live a life manageable by a power greater than ourselves.

Step Two not only gives us hope in terms of a power greater than ourselves. In the Second Step, we are offered hope in a more general sense. We feel quite hopeless and as if there is nothing that will help us. Step Two is the door that once we begin to open, we are presented with a beautiful path of work toward a joyous and free life.

Step Two and the Third Noble Truth

In the First Step, we have our limits brought to light, and are practicing Right View. We recognize the first two Noble Truths of suffering and the causes of our suffering, which are our addiction and own powerlessness. In Step Two, we are presented with the reality of the Third Noble Truth: that the cessation of this suffering is possible. Just as the Second Step is beginning to open the door to the rest of the steps, the Third Noble Truth leads us into the Fourth Noble Truth of the Noble Eightfold Path.

The Third Noble Truth teaches us that ending suffering is indeed possible. Once we have learned to understand our suffering and see it clearly, we have the potential to eradicate it completely. The Third Noble Truth, like Step Two, is of hope. The possibility to progress and leave behind the suffering is a reality for each and every one of us.

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Posted by on in Alcoholism

Willingness is one of the keys to my sobriety.  In early recovery as much as today, I must maintain an open mind and a willingness to learn something new.  Whether it is accepting a Higher Power into my life, letting character defects go, getting a sponsor, or listening to the experience of others, willingness is an essential quality of my spiritual growth.

Willingness in Early Recovery

When I was newly sober, willingness was one of the qualities that saved my life.  Although I did not immediately want quality sobriety at first, I was willing to go to treatment.  I did not see it as willingness at the time, but I had enough of an openness to consider an alternative to the way I was living.  Unfortunately, the only reason I had this amount of willingness was because of where I was emotionally; I had become emotionally exhausted, confused, and completely afraid of life.

Attending twelve-step meetings, I had the slightest amount of willingness, and was able to listen to speakers and fellows share their experiences.  With the little amount of willingness I did have, I heard enough to help me grow.  I did not have the most open mind, nor the most willingness in the room, but I was reminded that I only needed a little to begin.

I heard repeatedly to get a sponsor, even if it was a temporary sponsor.  I heard I needed to work the steps, help others, get commitments, and go to a meeting every day.  All the cliche pieces of advice for newcomers, I took in.  I had enough willingness to get a sponsor on my fourth day of sobriety.  He told me he would be my sponsor one day at a time until I found a new one, and that I should call him the next day so we could start working together.  With over 30 years of sobriety, I had enough willingness to believe in what this man was telling me.  He is still my sponsor today, and we have grown extremely close over the past several years.

Being a newcomer, willingness is not an easy quality to come in contact with always.  My ego was in the way, telling me that I could do it differently.  Spending my whole life "knowing everything, always," it was a dramatic shift to have it brought to my attention that I needed help.  However, my sponsor asked me in my first 30 days one simple question, "Are you willing to just entertain the idea that maybe there is a different way for you to interact with life?"  My answer was that I was, and this was and still is a great reminder to remain open-minded and willing.

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