Honest Doubt

It was only a matter of being willing to believe in a power greater than myself.  Nothing more was required of me to make my beginning.   (Bill W.)

Step 1 brought me to an understanding that my life was unmanageable and that left to my own devices I was powerless to do anything about it.  So the next question was:  Where’s the hope?  Step 2 suggests that I look for a power greater than myself.  Ok, let’s look at it.

Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves…    The founders (at least some of them) did not start with belief; they came to a belief.  And they  reinforced this in Step 12 where they said, “Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps…”  Their belief, their faith, came after they took the steps.  I might have saved myself a little time if I had understood that all that was being asked of me in Step 2 was to be open-minded enough to allow for the possibility that there is a power greater than myself that can deliver the goods.  And when I asked myself  the question, “Is there a power greater than me?” it seemed pretty ludicrous to answer “No” regardless of whether I had a clear idea what it might be.

…could restore us…   Here again, I’m only asked to be open-minded enough to allow for the possibility that this power greater than me will have the power to help; an actual belief in such a thing can wait until later.  I needed to open my mind to the two ideas that there was a power greater than myself and that this power could restore me.  Step 2 doesn’t promise restoration, it just asks me to stay open to the possibility.

…to sanity.    Insane?….You callin’ me insane?….You wanna piece of me, bring it on!”  That was pretty much my attitude for a long time.  But really, it was insane to continue trying to find ways that I could drink when I knew the inevitable, predictable result would be more despair and unmanageability than before.  The analogy of the jaywalker on pages 37-38 of Alcoholics Anonymous (the Big Book or BB), makes it quite clear.  Insane is the only way to describe this behavior–going back to the bottle again and again, each time thinking I’d be able to control it and knowing each time I’d end up worse than before.

To be continued…

There lives more faith in honest doubt, believe me, than in half the creeds.    (Alfred,  Lord Tennyson)

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