AA Step 2! Came to Believe… Restore Us to Sanity in Alcoholics Anonymous

Are you ready to learn about Step 2 in Alcoholics Anonymous here with me, an alcoholic and a full-time YouTuber Jerry Banfield?

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What is Step 2 in Alcoholics Anonymous, and in my opinion, and my experience, and what stories do I have related to it? The last post we talked about in Step 1 got us ready for Step 2.

At the end of Step 1 the idea is…

“We realize we are insane, that we are consciously sabotaging our own lives, that we are wanting and craving alcohol, sober, even though we know it hurts us”.

We are consciously desiring something that is to our own worst interest.

We realized that we must be insane, to want to hurt ourselves and the people around us in this way that we crave something that is hurting all of us. That’s insanity.

AA Step 2

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Step 2 is as follows.

“Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity”.

The idea with Step 2 is that we believe we begin to believe and come to believe that something greater than ourselves could remove this insanity from us and restore us back to sanity.

We began to see in Step 2, that if this insanity would go away, maybe a happy sober life would be possible.

We saw that as long as we wanted and desired and craved a drink, that life was going to be miserable, because we knew we couldn’t keep drinking anymore. And yet, how are we supposed to relieve this insanity, we got to a point in Step 2, where we don’t know how we can do it ourselves, that we just open up and say “Look, something out there, whatever you want to call it, God, Love, Universe, Alcoholics Anonymous, Faith… Something, there must be something that could help us get rid of this insanity”.

That some of the power out there, that’s greater than us, is capable of getting rid of this insanity. That’s where we really started working on the Alcoholics Anonymous program.

While in Step 1, we are looking around at our lives, getting to know ourselves in Step 2 is where we start doing something new.

We’re starting to open up a little bit of hope and belief. For me, I’ll tell you exactly how this played out for me, because I didn’t stand there and say, I’m going to do step two right now. No, I’ll tell you exactly how this played out.

Restore Us to Sanity in Alcoholics Anonymous

I went to Alcoholics Anonymous in April 2014 just after my father’s memorial service, I was wide open, just wrecked with pain. And yet I had tried sobriety I had found I couldn’t stay sober, with any consistency. I went to Alcoholics Anonymous after a desperate prayer to God because I knew I would change my mind that at some point, I would change my mind about sobriety.

I had certainty based on all the other times I had tried to quit drinking, that if you gave it enough time, and I felt good enough in my relationship with my wife got better and my business picked up, I knew I would change my mind about sobriety, I’d say, “All right, I’m back. Let’s go, we can drink again”.

I knew that I didn’t have any more chances left, I’ve done that cycle a bunch of times, let my life break down, hit a bottom, just struggle through and stay sober, then as soon as the struggle is over, I relax a little bit, I decide or I think I decide that I could have a drink again.

And that’s insanity, to forget all that stuff. It’s insane. When you’ve got something like a bottom, whatever it is for you.

For me, my bottoms often involve not wanting to live anymore, or involved crimes committed, even though I didn’t get caught for them, or involved things of losing relationships.

It’s insane when one day you’re saying I’m never going to drink again and two weeks later, you’re saying “I’m going to go out to the bar with my friends” and I started off. I knew I was insane, I knew I couldn’t stay sober even if I wanted to and I made a desperate prayer to God, I said, Please, God will do anything to stay sober.

Even before I went to Alcoholics Anonymous, I had kind of done Step 1 and Step 2, I realized I was insane. And I said, God, please don’t do anything, help to stay sober. That is Step 2 and its most basic form is to just…

… God, please, I’ll do anything to stay sober today.

Restore Us to Sanity in Alcoholics Anonymous

And from there, it was suggested in my mind, it felt like it came from God for an angel felt like it was a thought that didn’t feel like it was my own. And it said this “Well, going to those AA meetings might be part of anything that you just offer.”

I started going to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, and I continued to stick with the original state of desperation when I came to AA.

What happened was this, as I continued to stay sober, and I started to get my health back and feel better. I started to forget a bit of the pain from before. And then the desire to drink came back and it came back as hard as it ever had.

I wasn’t praying to God on a daily basis, I had forgotten that a power greater than myself could restore me to sanity and started to forget some of step one that my life had become unmanageable.

I started thinking, “I’m sober, I’ve got this, I can run my life, I go to a couple of AA meetings a week and I can run my life.”

And then when the desire to drink came back, I realized “Oh my god, I’m insane, I’m insane, sober”.

Something is really messed up here sober and I clearly don’t know how to fix it and I started just desperately praying to God to stay sober almost constantly. In fact, my head was so crazy and it went like this.

-God, please. I want to stay sober today.

One second pass, —You know what, maybe I can have a drink before my wife comes home from work.

—God please like to do really I do want to stay sober

—But maybe I could have another drink and it’d be okay.

—God, please help. I’m so screwed up right now. I don’t even know what to do.

—But a drink would probably fix there wouldn’t be a yeah, I’d be fine. If I could just go get a

—No, no, I’m not going to get a bottle of vodka. God, please.

It’s been like one minute since the last prayer,

—Please help, help help.

And what happened is, I kept desperately praying to God, I literally got so afraid sometimes, I just stand, I wouldn’t move because I might go “Okay, okay, I’m save, I don’t know if I walk in my bedroom, if I’m going to then decide to go drink or if I go the bathroom, then I’ll go drink, I’ll just I’m just gonna stand here right now just just get stand right in this spot, I’m save and I’m not gonna move till till I feel a little bit better”.

It was like, there were two of me, and what happened and continuing to pray to God, I came to believe that, well, maybe God could actually fix this, that I might actually be able to stay sober, that maybe God could restore me to sanity, that may be something or whatever you want to call it, something whatever had created me so that I had got to this way would also respond to my request to be a different way.

I got desperate prayers for God and then wanted to drink what it helped me to do was then be ready for Step 3, that clearly, I can’t even get out of bed and have a decent day without arguing with myself all day about rather I’m going to drink or not and being almost completely ineffective for the rest of my life.

I came to believe that maybe something else. If God can help restore me to sanity, then that kind of God might be worth doing anything for turning my whole life over, for not just my drink problem, but the whole rest of my life and that I’m willing to do whatever it takes to be restored to sanity, because being that insane is miserable.

What started to happen is I started to move into Step 3. —Well, God clearly I don’t know what I’m doing here at all. I’ll take suggestions.

To me going from Step 2 to Step 3 is just saying —Okay, clearly I don’t know what I’m doing. If I’m going to be restored to insanity, if God can restore me to sanity, then I’m willing to do whatever it takes to make that happen.

When I believe that I’m able to be restored to sanity by a power greater than myself, which I do today, it’s nice because this process goes faster and faster.

The more times we went through it, it took me weeks of working on Step 2.

Weeks of praying to God and then trying plotting on getting a drink, praying to God to restore me to sanity plotting on a drink. Before I get into Step 3, like —Okay, God, I’ll do whatever you want today. Whatever you want, I’ll do it. Just help me see what it is you want. And I’ll do it. I don’t care about my plans. I don’t care about my whole idea of my life, do whatever you want God— And to me, that’s how we kind of once we know we’ve really done a good Step 2, is when we’re ready to do Step 3 and say —Okay, God, however may I help today, let me do that. Let me drop all these ideas of how I’m going to plot to get through the day. Allow me to be restored to sanity.

One tool that can be really helpful for this, if you just hate the God thing and you you’re atheist or agnostic —I said I was agnostic when I came into AA but when I got in pain, I was a firm believer in God. But if I felt good, then I was agnostic— What I started doing with Step 2 is that I started praying for something very specific.

Praying to God over and over all day got to feel a bit distant, like I was shouting up at the sky or something and not sure if my voice could get there. But fortunately for me, my dad died. When I started doing it, I tried to pray to Jesus. But again, Jesus didn’t feel real close to me, like I hadn’t met Jesus. I didn’t know if I really knew Jesus that well praying to Jesus felt about like praying to God. So I started to grab on to whoever listened and…

I grabbed on to my father, the spirit of my dead father, I felt very comfortable talking to my father. I felt that my father was really available and was listening to me.

AA Step 2! Came to Believe

Whereas I didn’t feel like my voice mattered that much to Jesus or a matter that much to God. I mean, you’ve got all these other people praying for you. But I felt like my prayers mattered a lot to my father, and my father could really be with me and help me.

So I started praying to my father directly. I said, Look, Dad, please help me stay sober today, Dad, I don’t have anything else to do here and I’m struggling and Dad, I gotta go to the liquor store right now. But maybe if you just possess my body, and take it over, —I was at the gym when the thing I’m thinking man, I was at the gym, I had had a whole day of negotiating at what point I was going to drink in that I rather I was going to stay sober. I negotiated that I just I’ll go to a personal training and then I was stopped in the liquor store on the way back, which is why I used to do it.

I was in the car just a mess. I’m like, I have to go to the liquor store right now I have to and just pray like, Dad, please, please, I know if you were in control my body. Or even if you were just in the car here with me, we would drive home right past the liquor store and it wouldn’t be any big deal. Please help me please, please, please help me, please help me.

When I started praying to my father, that felt very real to me that felt very strong. Like I knew he was listening and I just kept praying and praying and praying for Him, and I was asking him for help and being willing to accept any of his help.

praying to my father in step 2

From there, I started getting into Step 3, like okay, I don’t I’ll do whatever you want today, Dad, you know, show me what the right thing to do is today, help me do the right thing today guide me in the right thing to do today help me know God’s will.

I started taking suggestions and that’s when the miracles of the program happened.

The hard work was really only in Steps 1 and Step 2. Once you get through and say okay, you let go however, may serve today, like let go of what I want to do. And that’s how I’m here making these videos because these are things I want to remember and I intend to remember and I’m grateful to share them with you so that they may help you as well.

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Thank you very much for watching this.

I love you! You’re awesome and I wish you a peaceful sobriety and a happy journey into Step 3.

Jerry Banfield