From Powerless to a Higher Power

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Step Two: The Journey to Sobriety

We took our most important step when we recognized that we were powerless over alcohol and that our lives had become unmanageable.

Having done that, the next step was to find a solution. Our own efforts had failed. We had tried to control the use of alcohol. We had tried to do without alcohol, and failed there, too. We had tried to trick ourselves into sobriety.

We tried off-again-on-again. We tried beer and wine. We tried three a day, and saw three jiggers grow to three glasses. We tried the pledge, without fingers crossed. And, yet we remained powerless in the presence of alcohol.

We still had “the strength of a bull in our necks,” and we wanted no one telling us how to order our lives, no doctors, no parents, no women, no men, and none of our fast disappearing friends.

Particularly, we rejected any suggestion that smacked our uplift. We wanted no advice from those we suspected of believing us to be “sinners”.

But at last, after many months of headstrong persistence in error, we came to the realization that we were powerless to deal with our situations. Then we were ready to look beyond ourselves.

In this, our experience has not been unique. It has been the experience of man throughout the ages that when he felt uneasy, that when he felt that something was wrong with him as he stood, he found his solution by looking beyond himself.

Man in all ages has turned to the realm of the spirit to find completeness, to find a way out of error. Man in all ages has come to the realization that he must place his faith in the Supreme Power that rules the universe and everything in it.

We took our second step. Then, when we came to believe that a power higher than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

Having taken that step, we are brought to the threshold of release. To obtain release we must cross the threshold.

To cross the threshold, we must exchange mere recognition of the existence of a Higher Power for firm conviction. For, to “believe” is to have firm conviction.

And with firm conviction in the existence of Supreme Power and in the saving grace of that power, we enable ourselves to break the bounds of sensuality, to get off the merry-go-round of nervous compulsion that made us powerless in the presence of alcohol.

We turn our faces toward God and prepare to lift ourselves up from the shallower sphere of life.

By the Editor, Central Bulletin, January 1943

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of the AA Cleveland District Office.