The second step of the 12-steps says that we came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. It is difficult to get behind the idea that we were insane when new to recovery. We may have an idea that comes to mind when we think of what an insane person looks like. How could we be insane? It’s essential to take a look at what we really mean by this.
The dictionary definition of insane is “the state of mind which prevents normal perception, behavior, or social interaction; seriously mentally ill.” It may seem like a harsh word at first, yet looking at the definition, it is clear that we had experienced this our whole lives.
What Is Insane Thinking?
Insane thinking is a common problem we, as substance users, all have. There is a good description of what that looks like in the big book of Alcoholics Anonymous. The book says that we are similar to having a passion for jaywalking. The jaywalker gets a rush out of running through traffic or crossing the street when there are many fast-moving vehicles.
The jaywalker is injured a few times and is then hospitalized because of his passion for danger. His loved ones explain how his behavior is dangerous and try to get the jaywalking obsession out of his head. However, the jaywalker continues his behavior immediately after getting out of the hospital, and he is met with more consequences.
He tries to get away from the idea entirely and isolate himself to avoid this obsession. Still, the day comes that he finds himself doing it again. This time, he is met with severe consequences, and his loved ones plead for him to stop, yet he cannot.
It then goes on to say anyone would see this idea as insane. We suggest you take a look at your history and replace the word “jaywalking” with “using” or “drinking”. When we do this, we see that we relate to this story exactly. We kept drinking and using, hoping for different results. Time and again, however, we found that we could never achieve the first drunk or high.
We experience escalating consequences, yet are unable to change our behaviors. That is what we call plain insane thinking. We came to terms with the fact that our bodies were sick, but our minds are, too. Every attempt we made to relieve the obsession and stay sober on our own would end in relapse. We needed something that was beyond human aid to help us.
A Higher Power
Once we are at this step, we are faced with a dilemma. We have already admitted we are powerless over alcohol and that our lives had become unmanageable. We have already stated we were willing to go to any lengths for victory over substance use. When we are told that a power greater than ourselves is what will restore our sanity, some of us become combative.
Some of us have a history of faith, while others have rejected spiritual concepts entirely. Either way, we must become willing to believe that something bigger than us exists. We must agree to at least this proposition. Once we agree to this, we can realize that we have been closed-minded about spiritual matters.
We come to this belief that something bigger than us is in control. We believe at once that with the help of that power, we can be returned to sanity. Our perception can change, and, over time, our behaviors follow suit. The key to having rational thoughts and thinking soundly is experiencing enough humility to admit that we don’t know.
For the first time, maybe ever, we are unsure how to stay sober and accept that someone else knows better. From there, we are open-minded enough to become willing and trust that recovery is possible for us. Even a small amount of willingness and trust is enough to make the first approach to recovery.
If you have gotten to this point, yet are still unsure about it, asking questions will result in success. Many people in 12-step fellowships can share their experiences, obstacles they have met, and how they got through them. If you don’t ask questions, nobody can help you through the challenges of early recovery. Remember that you are not the only one feeling the way you’re feeling.
At the beginning of their recovery journey, every person has been uncomfortable, afraid, and unsure of what the recovery program is or what it can do for them. There are plenty of people that come into sobriety with ideas about what a higher power is or is not. We have all felt this way and were unsure of how this could even work for us. Reach out to people with more time sober and those who have taken the 12 steps.
Your perception and behaviors will change as a result of the action you take in regards to your substance use disorder. As long as you remain willing, open-minded, and humble to the experience, you’ll be able to follow in the footsteps of other sober people.
It’s a staggering blow to the ego to admit that we have been insane. For many of us, it takes time to understand our own behavior, but the first step is always to ask for help. If you’re ready to get sober, it’s time to lean on the experience and strength of others who have come before you. Sobriety is not as uncharted as it may seem. Through a holistic recovery program, you can heal spiritually, mentally, and physically – you just need the time to do so. At Camelback Recovery, you’ll find the community you’re looking for and the experienced guidance you need. Give us a call at (602) 466-9880. Step Two is just one of the steps you’ll take in recovery, but you never have to do it alone. If you’re struggling to find a recovery program that works for you, Camelback Recovery can help.