Two Powers

Two Powers Greater Than Me

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Recently, I was working Step Two with a sponsee of mine and God decided to grace me with a revelation that has completely changed how I see my recovery. As this revelation is still settling within me, I ask God to give me the clarity of thought, the presence of mind, and adequate words to be able to relate this spiritual experience. 

I often thought of Steps Two and Three as the first of the Steps dealing with a Higher Power. In Step Two I came to believe in a Higher Power that could restore me to sanity, and in Step Three I turned my will and my life over to that Power. 

However, if I had thought about it, I actually accepted a power greater than myself before taking Step Two. When I take an honest Step One, I am humbled into accepting the truth of a power greater than myself: lust. When I admit in Step One that I am powerless over lust, I am admitting too that lust is more powerful than I am. It is a “power greater than myself”—a “lower power” for sure, as opposed to a Higher Power, but a power greater than I am, nonetheless. If I reach Step Two and am still in any doubt about a power greater than I, then I need to consider my Step One again. 

So then, if I already accept a power greater than myself in Step One, what am I doing in Step Two? The answer, for me, lies in the wording at the end of the Step: “Came to believe in a Power greater than ourselves that could restore us to sanity.” And so at Step Two, I come to believe that there is a Power even more powerful than my addiction, but One which has an altogether different effect on me. 

But I began to wonder then if this is just a leap of faith—a Higher Power that can reach down into me and restore me to sanity. Or, I asked myself, is there something more than just faith that points to a Power, greater than my addiction, which could restore me to sanity? 

I began by considering the nature of my addictive process. I came to understand that the actions I took in my addiction—the sex, the drugs, the overeating—are really external manifestations of the addictive process; that the root of the addiction came from way deeper inside of me. It was here, at this root, where my powerlessness began—all the trauma, all the suffering, all the darkness and shame, all the guilt, the delusional beliefs and spiritual concealment, these were the roots which sustained my addiction which then, expressed itself outwardly in destructive behaviors. I started to see then, just how big the root was, lying at the very core of my self, sustaining itself in my beliefs, ideas, and attitudes, and it was ever clearer then just how poisonous this root was. I understood how utterly incapable I was to stop the addiction process within my own resources as it consumed me from the inside out. I understood my powerlessness. 

From that place of utter powerlessness came a question which rocked me. “How come I’m still here?” If this addictive process could destroy me to the extent that it has, where does the hope, the faith in recovery come from? What is this thing, this light deeper inside me that challenges the urges over which I am powerless? Why do I show up to meetings? Why do I go to therapy? Why do I work the Steps? Why do I not just succumb to the darker inner entity that tells me to go ahead and give up? How was this inner light that insists upon hope not extinguished long ago? 

Then it hit me like a ton of bricks. The fact that I still hope, have faith and show resilience, demonstrates an inner presence that has always been there and always more powerful than the darkness around it. On page 55 of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous it says that “we found the Great Reality deep down within us. In the last analysis it is only there that He may be found.” Whenever I read this line, a deep sense of chills runs right through me. The Great Reality, the Power that I’ve come to realize in Step Two, that is stronger than the darkness ever was, has always been with me, deeper inside of me. 

I choose to call this part of myself the Soul, and I choose to believe that this Soul, deep inside me, is inherently connected with the Infinite outside myself. The words I use to describe this experience don’t really matter and everyone has the liberty to choose their own words. 

The bottom line is that, after spending my whole life searching for something outside of myself that would make me feel whole and complete, what I was really looking for was within me all along. Covered and concealed with layers of brokenness, this inner point or inner light was never damaged by the addiction and remains completely pure. I shouldn’t still be in this fight and yet here I am,  trudging on in my own enlightened self-interest. To me, that demonstrates, beyond faith alone, a reason to come to believe in a Power that is stronger than my addiction and can therefore restore me to sanity. 

Daniel S., New York, USA

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