Step Two: Came to Believe that a Power Accessible to Me Could Restore My Sanity (Clarity.)
Concepts of Authority/God/Power were not “a loving father” for me in my dysfunctional family of origin! Far, far from it. One of the things that gave me hope when I discovered twelve step recovery was the phrase, “God as we understand God,” because, until I saw that written down as a permission granted to me personally, I was steeped in the bitter tea of threats and prohibitions I’d been served with at the table of my mom’s futility and failing health. I rejected all of that and trusted . . .what?
Not some three-faced male God who wasn’t there for anyone I knew or cared about. My parents died. My older brother who abused me was never called to account. He also died and left a mess of unresolved misunderstandings. I saw the concept of religion as irrelevant, or as a place where I didn’t fit, was either damned, condemned or held up to contempt by people I didn’t want to be and didn’t trust.
That’s what I thought, back when my inner child was a fugitive in a world where I was just a target, not a member of a tribe or welcomed as a guest. Twelve Step recovery was a cathedral for me. It introduced me to a Loving Higher Power that I could call by any name or none, so long as I was willing to identify it as a possibility that I could try—and see what came of that. The real me could come out from under the family dining table and go out into the yard and look a flower in the eye, and say, “Here’s how I feel. Can you restore serenity to me?” And, if it were to happen that my anxiety subsided and my breathing smoothed out, I was asked to just admit it to myself. If I got helped, they said, just notice that. Admit my feelings when this source of power brought me peace, or courage or a sense of joy. That’s how we “come to believe,” my fellow travelers told me. They said, “Don’t take our word for it. Try it. And see what happens. And if it works, admit it.”
It’s been an experimental process for me, all the way. Starting with saying the original Serenity Prayer, a dozen times or more, when stuck in traffic jams in San Francisco’s dangerous steep streets where managing the brakes and gas are nerve-racking added stressors. I found it worked. I’d find myself relaxing and looking at the building and the trees however long it took to get a block or two. I found a safe connection to myself in doing this, by taking action to be my own loving parent, increasingly in a relationship with a Source of Power I have come to trust.