Feb 01 2013

Using Step Two

Published by at 11:01 am under Using the Steps

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

Welcome to Using Al-Anon’s Twelve Steps in Our Personal Lives. This is a series of podcasts to discuss how Al-Anon members use the basic principles of Al-Anon.

Today we’re going to ask Al-Anon members how they used Step Two to help them overcome the impacts of a loved one’s drinking.

How to locate an Al-Anon meeting

The following tags are aids to navigation for other podcasts in this series.


23 comments on “Using Step Two”

  1. Sally says:

    I was wondering if any Christian long term has decided to join another faith. I have been in Catholic (growing up), Baptist (with young children), Pentecostal (young family) Anglican (mature and single), and a short time in 7th day Adventist lately (they are nice my group) and I have been involved with meeting with Bahai’s and worshipping God at their fireside chats. I hope I am not denying my Christ if I join them to celebrate my ‘Higher Power’ which I have been trained to accept as the bridge to God by accepting Him into my heart and following Jesus ways. Am I denying Him like Peter in bible if I enjoy this fellowship as well? I believe in a Higher Power from the steps. Majority of religions believe in the One God like me. I don’t discriminate but feel I can go anywhere. I am being nagged inside myself that I am denying Jesus. Any help here as I don’t want to be rejected by God. I had a miracle in my heart at a Al-Anon, AA conference and awakened to the loving God where I had a conflict of two faces of God with a punishing face and also a loving face. I could never trust myself or God. I am a new person from this miracle of heart and something that had hurt my life inside me disappeared. This verbal reaction defect I had doesn’t appear any more in my reactions to other people’s ugliness. Consequently, I don’t want God to feel denied. Thanks from an old Al-Anon member in NZ.

  2. Diane says:

    Hearing this podcast tonight really helped me to cope. Ive been going to Alanon meetings for 6 years. Today I am home alone in an ice storm and have been feeling very alone and depressed. I have missed going to my meeting. It is so easy to turn to darkness and not see your higher power is right there next to you. It was because an Alanon friend called and said there are phone meetings available that I was able to pull myself up out of a depressed state. I listened to the meeting and to this podcast and it has given me hope once again. The second step reinforces to me that I am not in charge. God is in charge. Once I truly accepted that I feel at peace. God uses others to reach out to me when I need it. I hope writing this may be of use to someone.

  3. Elizabeth says:

    The podcast is powerful. Wish it could be updated.
    I find it difficult to go to a face to face meeting. What if someone knows me at the meeting? I don’t know if I am ready for that. I was taught that admitting to a weakness or something not perfect in my life is to open myself to criticism and annihilation of my personhood by criticism.
    I come from an evangelical christian family and I just don’t fit that mold. I am very skeptical about the whole male god notion. I have read much about the sacred feminine and I believe a very different kind of theology. I will have to think how to fit this “higher power” concept into my life.
    After reading these comments I am surprised at how many people have relatives who are drug and alcohol abusers. Not just one person but many and many generations. It is depressing.
    I see the need to let go of control. Silence my mind.

  4. Mor says:

    I am currently dealing with trying not to to control AH’s family in the way they deal with trying to make him get better. When i asked some Al-Anon friends how to deal, and not do it, or waht to do about it because it seems they are cushioning his fall to rock bottom, I was told this, and it really seeped in,
    “So youre trying to control his recovery by controlling his forcing relatives? It may make sense to try to do so, but isnt it just fears, and control, again?
    If I dont know whats best for them, and only know whats best for me, Ill keep doing what I need to do. They might surprse me and do something useful. He might surprise me and admit he needs help. Many things can happen when I let go. But when I force my solution I always get chaos and grave emotional pain.”

  5. Mary says:

    I’m new to Al-Anon, attended my 1st meeting last night. I do realize I cannot control my husband’s habits of 40 years. Thank the lord, he is in a program now for 22 days sober. My own stress level is at times unmanageable.

    My children want me to learn how to talk to my husband. I feel they have no understanding for my issues. I pray for strength & guidance. I’m feeling abandoned, angry & sad. Hopefully this can change. I wonder if I still get to have these feelings.

  6. Sam says:

    I’m working Step 2 for the first time. I have already discovered and admitted that my life has become unmanageable, as difficult as that was.

    This Step is about releasing control over things. I feel like that is the message at it’s heart. You are not the center of the universe. Very little in this world rests solely upon your shoulders and it’s not your responsibility. This is a freeing thought! I don’t have to control everything? Awesome!

    The “Higher Power,” then, is a statement of the fact that if you don’t do it, the world will not stop in rotation and we all fly off. It’s the fact that you can release control to the universe and it will take a natural path.

    It does not guarantee the path that will be taken if you release something, so it’s up to you to believe that a kind power is at work.

    So now, instead of trying to control people, it’s time to understand that I can’t. I shouldn’t. Let go and let God. You know what will happen when I release control? Maybe not much in my day-to-day life, but I feel so much better! By taking the time to master releasing control, I am giving it my all — because it feels so good.

  7. Lynn says:

    Having been raised in a strict religious household, Step 2 has been a very hard one for me to grasp. I’d been struggling so hard, until I realized all I had to do was believe that there was a power greater than ourselves — in this case, me!

    For so long I felt the need to control every aspect of my life and my family’s life, and I don’t know how to let go. Now my children are all grown and moved out. Unfortunately, two have alcohol and or drug addictions. My husband has been sober for two years and i catch myself getting jealous of all the texting and meetings with other AA members. Especially, the women.

    I guess it wouldn’t be an issue but, a few years back he admitted he’d been cheating on our 20+ marriage for 11 years of it, with multiple women. We just recently got our marriage back on track, so trust is hard for me. Sometimes, I catch myself falling into the old self, and I want to control the situations, make him only talk to men. Make my children stop being addicts, you know, fix it. Right? So I struggle each day. I read the 12 Steps and I pray to a Higher Power to please restore my sanity.

  8. Steve says:

    I came into the program somewhere between agnosticism & atheism, but I still feel I’ve greatly benefited from working the “God Steps,” as I call them.

    I was a little afraid at first of being “not right” for the program, due to my beliefs (or lack of beliefs). When I shared honestly at my meetings, members (some with similar spiritual backgrounds, some without) quickly provided me with acceptance, encouragement, ideas and validation. It was suggested that I could look at the “group collective” as my Higher Power and this really helped me. What also helped was several program literature reading suggestions that the experienced members provided.

    After working this Step for a little while, I realized that I had, in fact, had a Higher Power when I walked into the doors of my first meeting. That Higher Power had been me! This just wasn’t cutting it, so I soon recognized that I had to make something else my Higher Power.

    In the 3 years since, my life has gotten so much better with me using the collective wisdom and conscience of the program. I’m thankful now, in retrospect, that I was desperate enough in my “rock bottom” to maintain an open mind, to keep coming back, to listen and learn from those who had gone before me.

    My spiritualism is continuing to evolve. I read something in the program literature where someone explained that they had “an understanding of their Higher Power that they didn’t fully understand.” That sounds like where I am now. I am “acting as if” I believe, and it really seems to be helping me.

  9. Darlene says:

    Without a doubt, I know a “higher power” can restore me to sanity because I have used this program to recover from my own addictions and have had a daily reprieve for almost 7 years! Amazing how applying these Steps can be life-changing.

    Mind you, I have an alcoholic husband and 2 sons as well, 23 and 26, and a daughter using, who just left treatment early and is 3 months pregnant. But as a member of Al-Anon, among all the dysfunction I can “choose” peace.

    I’m not ignorant to the trauma and drama these people who are my family create, but I refuse to surrender my serenity to them! With Step Two I can trust a source that I know is out for my best interest, and be a productive and sane member of society. Stepping out on faith and believing this higher power exists was a challenge at first, but when it took the weight of “fixing” everything off my shoulders I returned to it again and again.

    Meeting with others who helped me understand, I could set boundaries and know they weren’t brick walls, but I could manage them as I saw fit! Wow, what an amazing concept! The power of the Serenity Prayer helped me as well. This program is not a quick fix. After all, every beautiful thing takes time to blossom. My prayers are with you, and enjoy the journey!

  10. Ida says:

    Today I am trying to focus on myself. It is hard since I am always looking after someone else. I am grateful to be able to do things I used to do. My life has become unmanageable. I thank you for your service.

  11. Rose says:

    I came across these podcasts today as I am reaching out to regain my sanity. These Steps work. I practiced them with my dad, and then an alcoholic husband 20+ years ago. Life as a single parent got too busy to keep up with meetings, then remarriage brought new joy and I thought I’d be fine with just prayer.

    Today I realize I have slipped back to the insanity of control and worry for my adult children who are active in the disease. I did my best job parenting and now my job is to live my life and not try to control or save theirs. It hurts more to see the kids fall in the same pit. The pain reminds me this problem is so unmanageable and I can’t control it. Al-Anon worked before to help me see I didn’t cause it, can’t cure it or control it. I’m coming back to the Steps in action. Thank you.

  12. debra says:

    Surrender and serenity are my higher power today!

  13. Denise says:

    I just found Al-Anon, and am listening to this, the Second Step.

    I have a strong religious background from my childhood, but left after my baby girl died, my (now ex) husband had a mental breakdown, both grandfathers died, we were the first ones to move into a new subdivision where I became the “go to” person for the next 10 new neighbors moving in for loaning out playpens, extra blankets, babysitting service, and hot food while people were waiting on their furniture to arrive. I was also the landscaping manager for my dad’s business, which I did out of my home, and my youngest brother was in a wreck that broke every bone in his body and ended up living with my husband and I while he recovered which involved having a day nurse and physical therapist come to my house every single day for 3 months. All of that took place in the span of one year. I hardly remember even being able to escape to the bathroom for some private time! My husband also had weekend parties every weekend, and I had two little ones to take care of while he and his buddies were busy drinking and trashing the house, and then fussed and cussed if the house wasn’t spit-polished clean by the time he sobered up enough to go to work Monday morning.

    My 28-year-old son is an alcoholic, and his 30-year-old half-sister is on meth. Their father is an alcoholic, as were both of his parents, my dad, and one of my older brothers. I am a control freak, as were my parents. Due to my disability, I live with my mother, who has borderline personality disorder, so we are just a bunch of mental crazies, and I am so tired of it all!

    I do not attend church because of a physical disability, so found an online church I attend that is helping to increase my faith. It is just a relief to know that I am not alone — That I do not have to “deal” with anything on my own. Maybe something “out there” can help me learn how to get my crazy life straightened out.

    Thank you for this site. I’ll be looking for a local Al-Anon group to join.

  14. Lesley says:

    I have just listened to the podcast on Step Two. I am going to my Al-Anon meeting tomorrow night and am doing the introductory share on the subject of my Higher Power and on the subject of The Things I Cannot Change. It was really useful to hear the podcast and to read the comments posted by other people. I am glad I looked at the comment guidelines as I thought I could just share other people’s comments when really what I need to remember is I can share about me. Many of the points people are making in the podcast and in the comments resonate with me–so, thank you. It is good to know I am not alone.

  15. Jen says:

    I’m so grateful to have this available to me whenever I need a meeting.

    I was dealing today with my daughter and her fiancé, both in recovery and new parents of twins.

    I needed to Let Go and Let God this morning, but also felt my heartstrings pulled. After getting off the phone with her, I went to this pod cast and heard exactly what I needed to hear.

    Thank you, Al-Anon, for being here for me today.

  16. Nina says:

    I hear this all the time. I am a 20+ member of Al-Anon. What I mean when I said that I hear this all the time is my Higher Power, who I call God, is there. This podcast proved it to me.

    I’ve been struggling lately with life in general, loneliness, physical ailments that have not allowed me to get to my regular meeting and I have become quite isolated, even at work. I just posted on Facebook how I’m feeling low. I can’t even get up the courage to call someone. Always has been a problem for me. All of a sudden I see this podcast in my e-mail. My Higher Power is there!! Thank you for your comments.

    What hit me most was the comment about not being able to still my mind. I do believe in my Higher Power, but I just don’t feel like He is helping me. I keep telling Him to shout the answers to me–my mind is so jumbled.

    I began Al-Anon in the mid 80’s when I was married to an active alcoholic. We have been divorced approx. 10 years. He is now sober and clean and still has much contact with me and his 2 sons. So, that is a bit of my background.

  17. Laura says:

    My recent experience with Step Two brought me to clarity and a personal awakening. I was given a red dice with the numbers 1 through 12 on it by a loving 12-Step person going into a weekend of spiritual recovery. I was surprised by this gift, but quickly stayed open for the message.

    I thought I was doing well with a situation, but I knew down deep inside insanity was circling her ugly head again. I’ve had experience with serenity and sanity and longed to feel that again. I was seeking guidance in my own personal recovery and I knew that I had to stay open. So I tossed the red dice and the number two popped up.

    I was actually delighted to have a direction to seek some guidance about my situation now. I also knew that the unmanageability was creeping back in. So I opened up my book, “Paths to Recovery,” with my journal and a pen. What became clear was I was still in my distorted thinking of taking on someone else’s problems and life. I had started to own it. And by owning someone else’s life it had clicked in all my defects of character I had thought were removed.

    Well, with the understanding of my personal insanity of the repeated behavior of taking on someone else’s problems, I became judgemental, controlling, frustrated, angry, catty, and negative. All behaviors that robbed me of the gifts of this program–which are sanity, serenity, peace joy and hope.

    The relief I felt with the understanding that I had picked up my disease again and that I could work though this with Step Two was comforting–a renewed sense of peace. Being guided by a power greater then myself and restored to sanity was welcome. Just because one has been in the program for a few years doesn’t guarantee that sanity and serenity will stay.

    The sanity I experience when working the Steps is a daily practice, much like the loving family members work on their recovery and sobriety. I’m grateful for the moments that I don’t always get it, for then comes the clarity afterward when the sanity is restored. I’m a work-in-progress and grateful for that. Always a member of this wonderful fellowship of Al-Anon.

  18. Cynthia says:

    Out of town helping daughter with new baby. It was great to have the podcast when I am away from my meetings for 2 weeks. I had always had a belief in a higher power. But for some reason I felt I was lacking in faith if I felt I could not handle my problems as well as all of those around me.

    Because of working Step Two, I was finally able to recognize that my higher power was indeed stronger and more powerful than me. I recognized and accepted that only by realizing not only was I not alone, but I was trying to be the higher power when I tried to do it all myself.

  19. Adriana says:

    I am from Brazil and I hope my English is good enough to be understood. First of all, I want to thank you for sending me this podcast. My father is an alcoholic, but he hasn’t been drinking for almost 20 years. Today I am 42, so he quit drinking when I was 22 years old. My childhood was terrible because of my father’s sickness. He used to drink too much and he used to break thinks at home if we disagreed with his opinions.

    I started going to Al-Anon meetings here in Brazil when I was 39 or 40 years old because my mother asked me to go. She thought that the program could be useful for me because I was very affected by my father’s alcoholism, but my group didn’t have alcoholics’ children to share experiences with me. So I quit going after a year, however I still try to have the Twelve Steps working in my life. And Step Two is very important for everybody and at the same time it is very difficult, for me. I am grateful to God. I thank Him every day for everything I have in life, but sometimes it is so difficult. Thank you all. And good night!

  20. Sheila says:

    I have just started listening to the pod cast and have attended 1 Al-Anon meeting this week. I have admitted I am powerless over alcohol not sure I have accepted it. Just have questions about a situation I am in today. My son is the alcoholic in my life. He is 35 yrs old going through a divorce, has 3 children which he should be getting today for his visit, his weekend, I have a feeling he is drinking. I have left 2 phone messages and no return calls to me and I am concerned he may be drinking and driving but I don’t know any of that for sure. I guess I just want someone to tell me I am suppose to let go of this. I cannot control the situation, I know, but it is very difficult.

  21. Hana says:

    My qualifier left my life almost a year ago. Although I did not stop coming to Al-Anon meetings, somehow I thought that the crazy part of everyday dealing with an alcoholic is over.

    Today I realized that there is another alcoholic in my life–he has always been there, he was just overshadowed by the more active, crazier one. Deep sadness entered my day. But then I realized that I am ok, I have my Higher Power to turn to. I can put a prayer for my newly discovered alcoholic out there and let it go.

    I am very grateful for my journey in Al-Anon and the Steps that help me to deal with everyday life. There will always be alcoholics around me, but I can deal with their disease now. I have my Higher Power to turn to and do not have to make my life unmanageable. Thank you for this podcast.

  22. Amy C. says:

    I am so grateful for the opportunity to hear this recording today. I’m a newcomer working Step Two for the first time and even though I really need to, I can’t get to a meeting today. This helped a lot and felt like going to a mini meeting. Thank you!

  23. marilee p says:

    Most interesting! Thank you.

Leave a Comment

View comment guidelines

[Do not use your full name]