Step Two "Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity."
I would have told you I was sane, I would have told you I was honest, I would have told you I was a kind and giving person. I would have told you that I had it mostly all figured out, but that I just had difficult, stubborn, unenlightened people surrounding me and because of that, my life sucked. If there was any insanity in my life it was only due to those people surrounding me, who didn't take my advice and who dragged me into an insane way of life. In fact you could have strapped me to a lie detector and asked me those questions with the result being that I was telling the truth because I really believed those things about myself. While I wasn't completely baffled by Step 2, I didn't get how it applied to me and so I simply dismissed it. Insane?....I wasn't insane! So if I wasn't insane I certainly didn't need to be restored to sanity and it appeared that I could move right on to Step 3. However, I had a slight problem. I hated god and certainly wasn't on speaking terms with god so Step 3 presented a whole new dilemma. I was beginning to have serious doubts about this whole Step thing and I could clearly see that I was going to have to rework the Steps if they were going to work for me. I could pretty much tell right from the beginning that a strict AA program was not the way to go. There would definitely need to be some adjustment involved but until I figured out how I was going to work it all out I kept going to meetings. It was my only option since I was all out of ideas, plans and schemes of how to handle the drinking. I went to meeting every day because I simply didn't know what else to do to find relief.
During those first two months I listened to people "share" who had 5 years, 7 years, 10 years or more of being sober. I was baffled. I thought "you have got to be kidding...why are they still here?!?" Ok, so this is who Step 2 must be for, those types of people who didn't have the intelligence necessary to get their life sorted out and back on track. Maybe they were insane, or just really dim, and didn't have what it took mentally to get this "drinking thing" under control. One thing was for sure, there was no way in hell I was going to be sitting in AA a year from now. Seriously? What losers! If people couldn't get this figured out after a years time max, or less than that, they were truly pathetic. Trust me, once I got the secret ingredient to this whole thing, whatever that was, I was out of there. I just wanted to be normal, to be able to drink "properly." All in all, I figured it might take me about 6 months to learn whatever it was I needed to learn and to get fixed. That was my plan but what happened was during those six months I realized just how much I needed my mind restored to sanity.
I looked up a few definitions of "sanity" and I began to gain a better understanding of just what it was that I was needing to be restored to. Apparently sanity is the "structural fit or lack of it between our reactions to the world and what is actually going on in the world." As I thought about that definition, it began to make sense to me.There seemed to be a huge lack in my ability to fit how I reacted to what was going on around me in the world. Despite what the evidence clearly showed there was a structural lack in how I reacted to life. Another definition of sanity that I found was "soundness of judgement." Once again the definition hit home as I saw a complete lack in soundness of judgement in all areas of my life. I could not argue one iota with the fact that I did not have soundness of judgement. I did not have sound judgement in regards to alcohol, where completely sober my mind could convince me that "this time it would be different" or that "I will just have one drink"). What was even more important for me to realize was that I also did not have sound judgement in every other area of my life; including but not limited to all my relationships, finances, family, activities, my motives, attitudes and even my past. I was lacking/insanity and I need to be made whole/sanity in all areas.
The one problem was that I could not change my thinking or restore myself to sanity. If I could have changed myself I would have years before. Trust me I tried for years. I use to think that if I just tried hard enough and set my mind to changing that presto I would have soundness of judgement and there would be a structural fit between my reactions to what was actually going on in the world. Over the years I read numerous self help books addressing various issues that were unmanageable in my life and that I knew needed changing. I would try to follow their directions, search to find myself, or focus on positive thinking, but nothing helped or changed in my life long term. Once in a while I determined ok this is it, I need to change, to get my life together and to "be good." I would focus on making changes in my life with all my might. I would intend to be really good, in fact I would be so good I would be better than good and I really meant it. I could never make any change what so ever last past for any significant time and often the end result was "screw it I can't do this anyway" and more rebellion, destruction, bad choices and chaos would follow. Towards the last five years of my drinking I think I even gave up on any effort to change. I knew I could not change because I had tried and failed time and time again. So I adjusted my efforts, values and life to match my mind and thinking. There was a complete disconnect between truth and my thinking and I could not even recognize what reality was, only my perceptions.
So as I listened to other people share in the meetings I begun to see how much I needed to understand the 2nd Step, that it did relate to me. There was hope, I could be restored to sanity but it was not up to me, my efforts or abilities. I began to see how I was in deep trouble if there was not some power greater than me because I desperately needed a solution. At that time all I had was a little willingness but that was enough to complete Step Two.
On a lighter note here are examples of my thinking without a Higher Power (I have talked about this with normal people so clearly realize now that this is not normal thinking ;)
Is it sane....
To ever leave a glass of alcohol half full? No.
To ever say no thanks, I'm good or I've had enough? No.
To stop by the bar for one drink after work and have just one drink? No.
To ever really need a wine stopper, other than for looks? No.
To consider a bottle of wine more than 3 drinks? No
To drink every evening? Yes
To always either be thinking of the next drink or thinking "I'm not going to drink today" Yes.
To watch how other people are drinking in order to gauge how soon I can order another? Yes.
To take alcohol in your bags on visits to family, but not tell anyone because you certainly are not going to share or there will not be enough and you don't want to have to go to the store to buy more and have them question the amounts you buy (As such you drink what they have first and then continue with what you brought)? Yes.
For entertainment do shots of tequila (dozens, hey if a little is good, more has got to be better) and since you don't have limes you use brownies as chasers. Which turn makes you sicker than you think is humanly possible, puking with such a headache that you are fairly sure you are bleeding out of your ears. You end up "sleeping" on the bathroom floor for about 12 hours and by about 4pm when you are only just beginning to feel as though you will live you think, "that was a blast! Next time I just won't eat brownies." Yes.
To drink time after time to the point of puking and not be fazed in the slightest? Yes.
To drink regularly until blackout, having conversations, going places and doing things which you have no memory of at all? Yes (inconvenient and at times scary, but it is what it is and just part of life).
To stop hanging out with friends because they don't want to have any fun and are so boring (aka, they don't drink like I do, as much or as often)? Yes.
To every morning wake up to the mental demons of, what did I do last night, what did I say, who did I call, how much did I spend, how did I get home, did I drive, where am I, why did I do this again when I promised myself I wouldn't? Yes.
To wake up in the morning feeling sick, disgusted, defeated and determined not to drink for a while but by 5pm you head to find a drink and have completely rationalized it in your mind? Yes.
To wish for death but to be too scared to do anything about it? Yes.
To live every day sick and tired? Yes.
To know that how you are living is killing you but completely unable to do anything to change? Yes.
To choose alcohol over two marriages, both to very good and loving men, all the while thinking that they are the problem and that they are the reason you aren't happy? Yes.
To not be able to be sober when three little step kids would show up to visit? Yes.
To reject family, friends and faith simply because they no longer fit into your life. Yes
To be completely ruled by fear in life and controlled by resentments and not have a clue? Yes.
The list goes on and on and on and on......