Step 2: Twelve-Step Program

A note on language: At Renascent we help people recover from substance use addiction and integrate 12-Step facilitation into our programming. We recognize that the substances our clients are recovering from and the 12-Step groups they connect with may vary. Throughout our website you may see general terms relating to the 12 Steps as we are inclusive of all recovery programs, including AA, CA, and OA.

“We came to be aware that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”

Like every step in the 12 principles, each one prepares you to move forward in your recovery and ensures that you are ready for each phase. The first Step is to accept that your life has become unmanageable, once you do this you can move forward into Step 2. 

The second Step in the 12 principles is meant to encourage you to accept guidance from someone other than yourself. 

Accepting guidance

Step 2 asks you to look to a Higher Power for guidance. For some, they look towards a Higher Power from their religion, culture or other spiritual beliefs. However, it is more than looking towards a spiritual power or purpose. This is a chance for you to explore and to define what a Higher Power looks like for you. It can be anything that you believe in. This step encourages you to accept help. During this step, the Higher Power you choose to look to for guidance is your decision. Afterall, this is the step that gives you hope. It relies on the foundation of your willingness and trust in something other than yourself. 

Where to start

Step 2 may seem confusing at first, especially if you have never looked to a Higher Power. Start with going into Step 2 with an open mind. The definition of Step 2 is “we came to be aware that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” It is not asking you to believe in a God, it is simply drawing on your willingness and openness to believe. 

What your Higher Power can look like

A stigma that surrounds the 12 principles is the belief that you are going to be pressured into joining a religion or to believe in something spiritual. However, that is a generalized misconception with this step. We’ve discussed spirituality in a past blog post where we define spirituality as something that gives us “hope, strength, peace and enhances your humanity.”

Starting to believe

In the beginning, approaching the 12 Steps can feel uncertain, overwhelming and scary. These are all feelings that are normal and validated by us at Renascent. It’s normal to be doubtful and to wonder what the future holds. 

Many who approach the 12 Steps may be wondering if they can do them if they don’t believe in any religion or anything traditionally spiritual. Let us go back to the initial definition, “we came to be aware that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” The power that you define does not have to be related to religion or spiritual practices. It can be as direct as your group, or a therapist. Anyone can go through the 12 Steps. 

Colin, a Renascent alumni, first came to one of our centres overwhelmed, uncertain and resentful. Maybe similar feelings to how you are feeling at this moment. In Colin’s story, he talks about his journey in embracing Step 2. He experienced many feelings that made him feel doubtful of those wanting to help him. One of our counsellors asked him, “Do you want my help this time?” This question might seem jarring – Colin thought so at first. He was defensive but soon after, he accepted that he did indeed want help. He realized that embracing Step 2 means being willing to accept it. Eventually, he understood that his trust in the 12 Steps is what encourages belief and hope. 

You’ll notice in Colin’s story that he doesn’t detail any specific spiritual practice or religion. Instead, he acknowledges that he wanted help from a power greater than himself. He said that, “I stopped believing in coincidences, and just started believing, and the miracles keep coming.” 

Another Renascent alumni Ashleigh expressed her skepticism when approaching Step 2, and how this made her feel uncertain. It wasn’t until her Dad shared with her how he recovered from his own addiction, and told her, “Ashleigh, the Sun is situated so far from the Earth and we don’t burn to death in the summer; we don’t freeze to death in the winter. I don’t know who did that, but it wasn’t me; therefore, there is a Power greater than me,” it was here that she decided to find a higher power. She herself defined what her higher power meant to her and let herself be willing to trust in it. Ashleigh found her spark of hope, and followed it.

Trust the process

Once you find and accept help from others, you are one step further in your recovery journey. Finding something or someone to give you hope is the most important part of Step 2. During this step, you are not confined in your beliefs. Choose what inspires you the most and what motivates you to get, and stay sober.  

How Renascent helps

Renascent deeply understands that unique individual journey that is necessary for you. We are here to support you and guide you to define what your recovery means to you. Your Road to Recovery starts here. 

About the Authors

Renascent Staff
The staff at Renascent is passionate about helping people with substance addictions so they can reach their full recovery – with compassion, respect, empathy and understanding. Our staff includes our counsellors, all of whom have lived experience of addiction and recovery.