This post is part of a series of modern love letters to the 12 Steps. To start at the very beginning, read To Whom We Owe Our Recovery: Modern Love Letters to the Twelve Steps.
In Step One we acknowledge our powerlessness over addiction. But the steps don’t leave us there, at the bottom of the stairway to heaven! This is just the beginning. Onward, dear friends, to Step Two, in which we recover hope.
Dear Step Two,
You read as follows: “We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”
Step Two, my dear friend, I will always love you deeply. You bloomed out of a tender, aching spot, and I still feel soft where you bloomed. Through the delicate, exquisite portal of vulnerability you come riding in. A rainbow energy, a pleasant field of light, a fragrance, a radiance.
Step Two, with you I relax into a longing I’ve always had, which is to believe, on a very profound level, that everything is ok, including me. You come into this world through the defeat of the ego, that armor against love, and you surround us with peace, you gather us up into your warmth.
Step Two says, it’s going to be OK. There is a solution. There is a cure. We will have to learn to collaborate with this cure. We will need to learn respect and humility as we relate to what is fathomless and beautiful within us. We will need to change our perceptions, our understanding, to contain a new paradigm, in which there is a benevolent force who can extinguish the fires of our personal hells, if only we are willing to turn to it.
Every day across every platform, the world is pumped full of fear and judgment. We are taught so many things to be afraid of. Whether we fear what lurks within ourselves, or experience our terrors as coming at us from “out there”, we are encouraged to live our earthly lives as though fear is king. Fear, we are taught, will keep us safe.
Never mind that fear also makes live in a degraded state, as a little, faint shadow of our human potential. Never mind that fear got us where we are now, which is powerless over a cunning, baffling, and powerful disease that corrodes mind, body and soul.
Step Two, you are the beginning of the end of fear. The entire notion of “a power greater than ourselves” tells us, maybe this endless management project, of trying to be different from what we actually are in our innermost nature, or else we will suffer terrible consequences, doesn’t need to be undergone at all.
Through you, dear Step Two, I can glimpse the land beyond.
In Step One we were forced to surrender. Yes, against our will. The ego, like a bankrobber, surrounded at last, with his back against a cliff, said “Ok, it’s true, I can’t manage my addiction, I have lost control, I admit it.”
And in the willingness to give up addiction and all its pleasures – at last seen for what they are – diminishing highs followed by increasingly deadly lows – we are released into a spiritual life.
My beloved Step Two, right after these dramatic events, these defeats, the phantom death of a phantom self, you are right there to offer a hand, to bring a warm blanket, to lay a fever-drawing hand on our foreheads, to draw out the poisons.
Thank you God that my Self is not all there is. That there is an infinity beyond me, a freshness and a source that knows no death, is not confined or contained in that which I know. Thank you God that I can always open up the hatch on the roof of my universe, and find your loving face right there, ready to respond to anything I might ask.
Thank you that you are gigantic, and that therefore it is ok that I am so small in this big world. Thank you that belief, in and of itself, has its purpose and meaning. Beliefs are powerful, and world-building, life-creating. If I believe that a power greater than myself can restore me to sanity, then this is possible. If I do not believe it is possible, it might still be possible outside of my universe, but it will have a hard time reaching me.
So thank you, Step Two, for making this bridge, this opening, this spaciousness. For reminding me that when I look left, right, front and back and see no possibilities, I can always look up. Or look inside, where the source of everything is.