“Came to believe that a power greater the ourselves could restore us to sanity.”
One of my favorite recovery-related passages comes from literature published by Sexaholics Anonymous. In it, the author breaks down the first four words of Step Two like this:
We came to
We came to believe.
For many people fighting sex addiction or porn addiction, actually going to a meeting isn’t that hard. After all, they’ve been practicing first order change for a while! A family member calls them out on their behavior so they change temporarily. A boss disciplines them for not showing up, so they set their alarm for thirty minutes earlier for a month. So, someone tells them that the have a problem and, to get that person off of their back, they attend some meetings. They came.
Through the continued hearing of others’ stories and their vulnerable shares of what battles they’re fighting for their sobriety and recovery, the addict comes to. They have an awakening. They not only realize that they are powerless over their addiction and that they can’t manage their own life, they come to realize that there is something bigger than them.
The biggest shift in the mind and heart of an addict (really, not just an addict but a person) is when they move from believing that they are the center focal point of the universe to believing that there is something greater. It’s second order change!
At this point in the steps, God is not mentioned by name. The steps don’t name God until Step Three and that is for a reason. It’s because, for the addict, he or she has made them selves the god of their own universe. Their wants are placed high above anything else in their priorities. Therefore, it is not yet necessary for them to have a right understanding of God and who He is. It’s only necessary the the spotlight moves off of them as the star of the show and widens to reveal a world beyond their six feet of personal space.
The completion of the phrase, “we came to believe”, signifies the addict shifting from an inability to conceive of anything other than them being the source of their relief to understanding that they can and must admit the they can’t do it on their own and choose to cast themselves on the mercy of something bigger. The main idea is putting away the idea of a self-centered world. For some, the group gathered in the meeting becomes the “power greater the ourselves.”
It’s through the regular attendance and engagement in meetings the the addict begins to see change happening around him or her at first. Soon, courage comes to speak about their experience to the group. And after that, the belief that if the group could help others achieve sobriety and recovery (“sanity”), it could work for them.
These are truths that are helpful for everyone. Even if you’re not a sex addict or porn addict, have you ever had trouble dealing with hurt? Have you ever had trouble maintaining intimacy in relationships? Have you ever stumbled when trying to learn to share your true self with others because you were afraid of being rejected?