by: Staci Stallings
Last time we talked about the first step in the 12-Steps of the A.A. program which is summed up as: I can’t do this anymore. In that step, we realize that we are powerless to effect change over ourselves. Many people call this “rock bottom.” And we all get there though often by different roads.
You see, although the 12-Steps are for those who are alcoholics, I too reached this point of “I can’t” though alcohol was never an issue for me. In my life, my addiction was to other people’s approval and accomplishing things. I looked really good on the outside, but I, like the alcoholics, was dying on the inside. I was frustrated and exhausted from trying to be perfect. I was lonely and sad and doing much of what I did out of fear. It was a miserable place to be.
Honestly, I think I did step 2 before step 1 because at the time, I was reaching out for something to make things better. I wasn’t trashed out in the corner. No one was doing interventions for me because my bondage, my problem was emotional and spiritual, not physical. And the one place I reached out to was God.
The second step is: Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
That means: There is a Higher Power than me, and He can help bring me to peace and sanity if I let Him.
Now truthfully, at first in the steps, you simply “believe” in Him. “Yes, I believe there is Someone in this situation that is Higher than me.”
You see, I think before we get to this step, we have been conned like Adam and Eve into believing that WE are the center of the universe. Like the people who used to believe that the sun revolved around the earth, we grow up thinking that others and the world revolve around us. Reorienting our focus reorients everything else in our lives. We begin to see that we are a part of something else, that others have worth, dignity, and meaning as well. We’re not “all that.”
Of course, you can look around in society to see people who believe they are “all that,” and sooner or later they will learn differently. In fact, it’s kind of what starts the behavior that leads to needing the 12-Steps. You begin to understand that everything doesn’t always go your way, no matter how much you want it to or how much effort you put toward it. As you begin to see this, pain enters and with pain the need to get out of pain.
That starts the cycle we talked about last time. (See here.)
What gets us out of that pain cycle is realizing we can’t do it and beginning to believe in Someone Who can.
So do you believe in a God Who can restore your sanity? The more you believe in Him, the easier it will be to begin to trust Him which is your ultimate path out of the cycle of pain. The first step is to believe.
In the story, “Left to Tell” by Immaculee, her first step of escaping the confines of the bathroom was her willingness to open her heart to God. In fact, much of the book details how it was in her prayer time that she was able to let go of this world and allow God to hold and comfort her during what otherwise would surely have been unendurable pain. It is the Answer for us too, no matter what the reason for our pain cycle.
Today, take a step out of your pain cycle by quietly taking time to reflect on the One God Who is above all things and can restore you to sanity.