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STEP 2: Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

How It Works

When, therefore, we speak to you of God, we mean your own conception of God. This applies, too, to other spiritual expressions which you find in this book. Do not let any prejudice you may have against spiritual terms deter you from honestly asking yourself what they mean to you. At the start, this was all we needed to commence spiritual growth, to effect our first conscious relation with God as we understood Him. Afterward, we found ourselves accepting many things which then seemed entirely out of reach. That was growth, but if we wished to grow we had to begin somewhere. So we used our own conception, however limited it was. We needed to ask ourselves but one short question. - "Do I now believe, or am I even willing to believe, that there is a Power greater than myself?" As soon as a man can say that he does believe, or is willing to believe, we emphatically assure him that he is on his way. It has been repeatedly proven among us that upon this simple cornerstone a wonderfully effective spiritual structure can be built.

--A.A. Big Book p.47

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Therefore, Step Two is the rallying point for all of us. Whether agnostic, atheist, or former believer, we can stand together on this Step. True humility and an open mind can lead us to faith, and every A.A. meeting is an assurance that God will restore us to sanity if we rightly relate ourselves to Him.

- Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, p. 33

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Through believing that a Higher Power can help, a man or a woman formerly eaten up with raging fear, anger, shame, doubt, guilt, and frustration may become calm and begin to grow spiritually by focusing on doing some simple steps, going to meetings, reading the Big Book, and talking to a sponsor. This person is not alone; there are other caring brothers and sisters who really do understand because they are dealing with the same problems the newcomer has. The simple act of believing that a Higher Power can restore us to sanity leads us into a family and into a new life where we can begin to see and experience a little sanity.

- A Hunger for Healing, p. 35

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The process of coming to believe is something that we seem to experience in similar ways. One thing most of us lacked was a working relationship with a Higher Power. We begin to develop this relationship by simply admitting to the possibility of a Power greater than ourselves. Most of us have no trouble admitting that addiction had become a destructive force in our lives. Our best efforts resulted in ever greater destruction and despair. At some point we realized we needed the help of some Power greater than our addiction. Our understanding of a Higher Power is up to us. No one is going to decide for us. We can call it the group, the program, or we can call it God. The only suggested guidelines are that this Power be loving, caring and greater than ourselves. We don't have to be religious to accept this idea. The point is that we open our minds to believe. We may have difficulty with this, but by keeping an open mind, sooner or later, we find the help we need.

- Narcotics Anonymous Basic Text, Chapter 4/Step 2

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The Step 2 phrase "came to believe" suggests a process and a progression of faith that evolves over time. A portion of A.A.'s oral tradition defines this as a three-part unfolding: First, we came, that is, we showed up and stumbled in the door. Second, we came to, that is, we sobered up, came to our senses, and began to experience emotional sobriety. Third, we came to believe. We began our real recovery process and our spiritual growth.

- Serenity, A Companion for Twelve Step Recovery, p. 29

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