New Light on the Twelve Steps
Step 2: Came to believe a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity
I am the youngest of five children born to an Italian father and Scottish mother and have lived in the city of Glasgow, Scotland all my life. I was baptized in the Catholic church as an infant and for the early part of my life reluctantly performed the outer religious requirements of the Catholic faith. The God I understood at that time was an awful, fearful, vengeful God who said He loved me, but the insanity of my life proved He didn’t. I knew I was totally bad and hellbound by the time I was eight.
At ten I left the Catholic church and became a ‘Protestant.’ In essence, I turned my back on God completely, put Him out of my mind and only entered a church for weddings or if there was a compulsory outing at school.
My childhood was full of contradictions. Significant people in my life were saying one thing, yet living out another. My father said he loved me but we were strangers and he told me nothing about himself. My mother said I came first and she’d take care of me, yet whenever there was conflict, she looked after herself.
As a child, I could not bear to believe what I saw, so chose to believe what I was told. By my early teens I had completely lost the ability to distinguish between the lie (what was said to me) and the truth (what actually happened). Insanity has been defined as ‘the inability to see the truth’ so therefore, I was insane.
When I was nineteen, I experienced what is loosely termed a nervous breakdown and spent the next seven years on an emotional roller coaster of good times, bad times. I became heavily dependent upon valium, anti-depressants and developed a food addiction. I attended group psychotherapy for the latter two of the seven years and left in denial, saying I was cured.
I had carefully structured a web of lies to keep me from reality because I basically did not know what to do about it. The selfsufficiency I relied upon was letting me down and there was nowhere to run. I spent my time trying to fix myself by being perfect. I told myself I had a perfect marriage, I tried to be perfect at my job, to be the nicest person, the most popular person, the most fun person, the most capable and emotionally stable person, but in fact, I was living out the opposite of all these things and I knew it. No matter what I tried to do, the inner and outer chaos increased.
Years later, in 1986, I became a Christian and after a further two years, my life was still totally unmanageable on the inside. Outside I looked great, but no matter how hard I tried to be emotionally stable and do the right thing, the more I failed-which left me feeling frustrated and crazy. I hated myself.
One day a Christian friend suggested I try the 12 step program. I was so desperate I agreed. I attended group meetings and over the first few months came to believe that a Power greater than myself could restore me to sanity.
Soon after, I was given an Intercessor magazine which proclaimed the truth of Christ in you. It seemed too good to he true, but it fit that the reason I couldn’t make it was that I wasn’t created to make it on my own. In fact, it was Satan as me who was the lunatic and since as a Christian I was joined to the spirit of Christ, He lived the life and wasn’t crazy so neither was Iif I would only believe it.
Choosing to believe was the hard part. The outer evidence screamed at me that I could not possibly be restored to sanity. However, God said different, and who was I to argue with God?
Over a period of time and continually choosing, I came to believe that God not only would but already had restored me to sanity. On a moment by moment basis, if necessary, I continue to choose to believe that Christ lives life as me and as long as I do this, I live in sanity.