Step 2 – Jamie’s Experience


Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity


My sobriety date is 28/01/2006. I would like to share my experience on this step.

Firstly, a quote from the big book, which I related to this step when I was very new to AA. “There are those too who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest” (pg. 58 BB)

I was suffering from a mental and emotional disorder, I thought, and that’s why I drank. I thought I had major depression, and a personality disorder, and I hated myself intensely!

When I saw step 2 on the wall, I thought it was making direct reference to my mental insanity. In my experience, it has proved to be the case. I no longer suffer the way I used to, when I was drinking.

However, I have come to learn about another element of this step, that of the mental insanity that precedes taking the first drink. If I burned my hand on a hot stove, I would know not to touch it again next time. I would have learned my lesson from this painful experience.

When I was drinking I would lose control of my consumption , once I started drinking e.g. if I had 2 cans I would get the physical craving/phenomenon of craving, and would be out of control, and drink as much alcohol as was physically possible. The end result was always bad.

The consequences of my drinking were painful. I would get in trouble with the police, get in to fights, fall over, cut myself open bleeding, take drugs, cause untold grief and pain to my close family etc. These experiences, however, would not stop me picking up the first drink again, and again. I became powerless over alcohol, and after a few  years I was totally out of control, I couldn’t stop picking up the 1st drink, and once that 1st one was inside my system, I couldn’t stop drinking more and more. I was an alcoholic!

The Big Book, and my Home group taught me what was wrong with me, and it made sense. I could identify with the experiences of other alcoholics, and I could relate my experience to the Big Book!  

When I had step 1, which to me just means, desperately defeated, and desperately in need of a life changing experience. When I understood the nature of my alcoholism, I had to go through with the 12 steps of recovery. There is strong, descriptive language used in the Big Book, like “as desperate as only the dying could be.” You have to be really, truly beaten at depth, and surrendered to take these 12 steps, and for those who are in that position the 12 steps are 100% successful. The steps don’t work for the unbeaten, unsurrendered, person/drinker.

I came to believe that there was a Power greater than me, because what power had I at that time!? I had the insanity explained to me, from the Big Book, and I went through with the programme. As a result of the 12 steps I had a spiritual awakening; a life changing, transforming experience. This experience removed the desire, and the insanity of picking up alcohol. Today, I don’t drink at all, I don’t think about drinking, and the desire to drink alcohol has been removed to such an extent, it’s as if it never even existed! That is the miracle of A.A.

For me I had mental torture, I never felt like I belonged in the world, I felt like a social outcast, lost and excluded from society. I had very negative, inferior, and self-hating thoughts all the time; I was nervous and paranoid whilst sober. No wonder I liked being drunk all the time!

The spiritual principles, and the experience of working the steps, and finding a Higher Power, connects you back to reality, and gives you a feeling of belonging, purpose, direction, happiness, peace and contentment. To cut a long story short, I have found God through A.A. – God of my understanding – and He has saved me from alcoholism.

The steps work, the age of miracles is still with us, my own experience proves that!

Step 2 is but a beginning of our wonderful programme, but it is there for a reason: we need to understand our condition, and the nature of alcoholism.

As I could not imagine life without alcohol before I came to A.A., now I can’t imagine life without A.A., the 12 steps and my Higher Power.

If you’re new to A.A. then read the Big Book, and get yourself a sponsor, and work through the 12 steps! Anyone who tells you you do not need to work the steps, are giving you deadly advice. Stay away from them! Read the Big Book “Alcoholics Anonymous”. Read it again, and again! Once your sponsor has taken you through the programme, you will be a different person, you will be transformed! That is recovery. A brand new life!

Get on with it!!!

                               Jamie P, Road to Recovery Group, Plymouth, Jan 2013