Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Step Two, etc

 And here it is, February, time to focus on Step Two, being restored to sanity. Actually, Step Two is about believing I can be restored. It was pointed out to me that the line, "For by this time sanity will have returned," isn't until the discussion of Step Ten. 

I'll buy that. Despite coming to believe, I was all kinds of insane in the early days and years, mostly around confusion about what I could and couldn't control, which is what still gets me! When working Step Two today, I take a look at how insanity is showing up, as well as asking what would sane behavior or thoughts look like?  And I was taught that talking with another program person about what's going on in my head is a form of Step Two, the Power Greater being exposing whatever it is to the light of day and of reason.

I recently unearthed a magazine from January 2023 that had gotten buried (me who vowed to never give up print journalism now routinely reads newspapers and newsletters online). An article in this new year edition asked a series of questions, some silly and some thought provoking. Oh, how I loved a magazine quiz or questionnaire when I was growing up, those that purported to give insight into one's personality or the future. In retrospect, I see that I was hungry for guidance, for direction, even if from the Ladie's Home Journal. We weren't a church family, I didn't belong to any clubs or anything that would've provided the structure I unconsciously craved, which lead me to permanently borrowing (i.e. stealing) a book from our grade school library called, "Put Your Best Foot Forward," chock full of advice on skin care, wardrobe and how to talk to boys. It was dated by the time I discovered it buried on a shelf, but was my bible for a couple of years. 

I remember feeling so very grateful when I first saw the twelve Steps. OK, grateful and a little apprehensive - I need to do what?? But deep inside I felt the exhale of "Ahhhh, this is what I've been looking for my entire life."  Funny how so much of recovery has been like that - finding something, whether a truth about life or about myself, that I didn't even know I was seeking. But I guess that's how it is with the "ah-ha" moments - I can't force the awakening or surrender, but I can do my best to stay open, one day at a time.

I got to spend time with a dear friend this weekend, a friend since treatment over 38 years ago. As another long-term friend pointed out, we are very fortunate in that we were able to stay sober, and how that lead to staying connected. I live in the town where I hit bottom and have spent my recovery, so perhaps I'm more inclined to connections over time, but part of it is intention. Intention, and picking up the phone for a call or text check-in, at least some contact over the year, though with good, old friends, we can pick up where we left off, no matter how much time has passed. I appreciate shared history, especially as I get older in both recovery and years on the planet. Fortunate indeed.

How do you know when you're crossing the line towards insane behavior or attitudes? Who do you talk with to get back on the beam? How have you incorporated the Steps into how you face the world (and yourself)? Is there a friend you might want to reach out to this week?

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Thinking of a new year's inventory or small group discussion? Check out my workbook "I've Been Sober a Long Time - Now What?" with 78 pages of topics, member's views, and processing questions. (See the Jan 13, 2023 post for a sample.) Available in PDF format ($12.95) for those of you outside the US (or who prefer that format) or hardcopy ($19.95 mailed to you). Email me at with questions.  You can order from the WEB VERSION of this page, payment link on top right. Note that the workbook is also available at Portland Area Intergroup at 825 NE 20th 

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