Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
Have you ever come close to drowning? Or maybe you know somebody that did. I remember going to Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia, about 40 kilometers south of Brisbane.
As its name implies, it is a paradise for surfers with ample waves, plenty of sunshine and no off-season. However, from time-to-time there is a deadly warning given to anyone wanting to venture into the water—heavy undertow. Call it riptide or whatever, it literally sucks you under the water and pulls you out to sea. It’s not really that hard to imagine how a large wave can create this condition. If you’ve ever been caught in one, you know what I mean. The fortunate ones find their way to the surface, but others don’t. They are helpless.
Perhaps another person sees what is going on and comes to the rescue, pulling the person out, like the life guard at the beach. For those who have had life saving class, you know that a drowning person isn’t always the most cooperative individual and will often fight the rescuer, trying to get air or get back to “sanity.” There’s a good comparison to make between the drowning person and the person suffering from addiction. They both need help, but quite possibly they will both resist help, whether knowingly or unknowingly.
When a person comes to the realization that they are caught in the undertow of addiction
(Step One), they need to form a game plan. They can either try to fight their way out of trouble, or they can seek help, a power greater than their own. They can’t do it alone, so they are going to get someone else to come along side and help.
If you don’t think you need help, step two is not going to be helpful. But it’s vital to the process. Once a person realizes that they have a problem and that they are not in control, then they have to either decide to either fix the problem themselves, or get help. If they decide they need help, other than their own will power or determination, then they have taken that next step towards recovery and are ready to move on they have completed Step Two.
We don’t like to admit that we are powerless. Step 1 is hard, because admitting that our lives are out of control is like admitting defeat. Step two is hard because any discussion about allowing a power greater than ourselves can’t take place until we finish Step 1 and begin Step 2. It’s human nature to resist help. We all want to be self-sufficient. Admitting we need help is like admitting defeat. But instead of thinking of reaching out for help as defeat, think of it more as plugging into a power source. If you’re doing a roofing job, or framing a house, you want to use a nail gun. No more blue thumbs, bent nails and best of all, you can get a whole lot more done in a fraction of the time. Sure, you could hammer nails all day, but using a power greater than your own is a whole lot easier.
Another way to look at this is to examine human nature. The Apostle Paul wrote quite a dissertation on the subject in the Book of Romans. In Chapter 7 Paul, who wrote half of the New Testament, is being honest with himself and his human nature. He sees that he makes bad choices, but he is also admitting that he is powerless to overcome those bad choices on his own. In verses 15-20, he offers an explanation.
“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do — this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.”
Paul is not avoiding personal responsibility for his actions, but like drug addiction, the sin living within him, that part of human nature that has a destructive characteristic, is overcoming his determination to do the right thing, or act according to his true beliefs and values. He realizes that his life is out of control, and he realizes that he is powerless to overcome his faults on his own and that only a power greater than himself will do this. He concludes the chapter by asking,
“What a wretched man I am. Who will save me from this body of death?”/
Then he goes on to identify the power in verse 25, “Thanks be to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
So what is this power greater than yourself? Maybe it’s a friend you can call at 2:00 a.m., who can help you through a rough night. Maybe it’s someone who regulates your life and can prevent you from harming yourself. Maybe it’s Jesus Christ? If you have arrived at the point in your life where you understand you have a problem, and you understand that you need strength outside of yourself to solve that problem, then you’re ready to move to Step Three.