I recommend saying this prayer each time you sit down to work on this step:
Set Aside Prayer
God, Please help me set aside
Everything I think I know
About myself, my disease,
These steps, and especially You;
For an open mind
And a new experience
With myself, my disease,
These steps and especially You.
Step Two was harder than I thought. I had believed in God my whole life. Why would I bother God over something as minor as the food I put into my mouth? He's got to worry about the universe. His worries have got to be much bigger than my pathetic weakness to food. I was embarrassed to even consider asking for his help. But my desperation kept me going. I knew that my HP was greater than me and had the power to do anything. I wanted to be better than that. I wanted to figure out on my own how to fix myself. I thought I could. It wasn't until I read the Big Book and Kay Sheppard's book on how certain foods can affect our bodies, did I realize that I was born with something that required power outside of myself to fix. I became willing to turn to God for help. This is where I was ready to do Step Three.
For many others, Step Two is very difficult as they've been hurt by those who are supposed to be religious followers. The truth for me is that no matter where you go in life, people are just people. My expectations of those in an organized religious group started to change. I had to look at how bad those in religious groups failed me. The 'Chapter to the Agnostic' in the Big Book is packed with information for those who doubt. For me, I didn't think I needed to read it. But from it comes that which revealed my problem with God. I was plagued with the bedevilments it listed on page 52.
The phrase "Our ideas did not work." really hit home for me. I was trying to do this on my own. These bedevilments helped me realize that my relationship with God would solve all these problems. I wanted freedom from them and became more willing to follow the steps. My willingness to accept the God way of doing things showed me that I was ready for step three. I spent a lot of time in program thinking that I was doing these steps. But I wasn't getting past steps 1 and 2. I used program as a diet with a support fellowship. It wasn't until I read the Big Book and did an online study that I realized my mistakes in applying the steps to my life.
Discussion - Agnostic
I believe that all addicts are rebellious by nature. We've been hurt or wronged in ways that turn off the notion that there is a God or that God actually cares about us personally. If we do buy into a God that cares, we put limits on what he does care about and what we will participate with him in.
We will drive ourselves with our own will to the brink of disaster before we will look at what we're doing and realize that we need to find another way - a better way. We think that someone has to know, and still we rebel at people's answers, blame God, and demand that God answer our prayers our way.
I like the part in Bill's Story on Page 12.
"My friend suggested what then seemed a novel idea. He said, "Why don't you choose your own conception of God?" In this one idea, we can form our own opinion of God and work the program.
There are so many different people working these steps from so many back grounds and religions that it is novel to come up with a personalized concept of God that will solve our problems.
My God is omnipotent and cannot truly be fully understood. It reminds me of the joke of the 4 blind men who touched an elephant. One touched the tail and said the elephant is like a rope, another the elephant's leg and said it was like a tree trunk, the other touched his trunk and said it was like a hose, and another touched his stomach and said that it was like a barrel. This is how we come to our HP. In whatever way we understand him.
The Big Book uses many descriptive terms such as: A Power greater than myself, Spirit of the universe, God, Higher Power (H.P), Creative Intelligence, God as we understand Him, (GOMU-God Of My Understanding), Great Reality, Creator. For this workshop, I will generally use Higher Power (HP) or God interchangeably as they mean the same thing to me, as does all the other descriptions.
Whatever we come to call our HP we need to make sure that it is a power greater than ourselves. Because the quote "Lack of power, that was our dilemma", we need a power great enough to solve our lack of power problem.
From step one work, we have found that no amount of knowledge in counseling or doctoring can keep us from our powerlessness over food and our unmanaged lives. So no human power can relieve us of our problem, we need a power that is incorporeal or spiritual. One of our personal understanding that we can make a conscious connection/contact with. As we experience this contact or connection, we become happy joyous and free of our enslavement to our obsessions, negative feelings, and actions. This doesn't mean we are fixed, that we are perfect now, or can achieve perfection. What we have is a connection that needs to be constantly worked on to stay linked.
There is a sentence in the chapter 'We Agnostics' that is called the second step proposition:
"When we became [Compulsive Overeaters/alcoholics], crushed by a self imposed crisis we could not postpone or evade, we had to fearlessly face the proposition that either God is everything or else He is nothing. God either is or He isn't. What was our choice to be?"
We have to choose whether God is going to be the power greater than ourselves that will restore us to sanity.
Agnostic behavior in old timers
This presents itself with the bedevilments mentioned on page 52.
"We were having trouble with personal relationships, we couldn't control our emotional natures, we were prey to misery and depression, we couldn't make a living, we had a feeling of uselessness, we were full of fear, we were unhappy, we couldn't be of real help to other people - was not a basic solution of these bedevilments more important than whether we should see newsreels of lunar flight? Of course it was."
Difficulties will always present themselves in life, but the way we deal with them will show our agnostic sides. If we choose not to connect with our HP when dealing with them, we are being agnostic and start running our lives on self will. Once we do this we are losing our connection to our HP and run the risk of relapse.
Where is the power?
The Big Book also answers where to find this Power on page 55.
"We found the Great Reality deep down within us. In the last analysis it is only there that He can be found."
So we make contact with this Power deep down within us. We don't have to join any organization, rely on others, or travel to far lands. We find the connection deep down inside us in our inner being. This tells us where to focus our efforts. Our understanding and faith comes with the developing experience of God as we work the steps.
In the Big Book it talks about a cornerstone on page 47. In step two we are given what that means. This is one of the building blocks of our spiritual archway that these steps build.
"As soon as a man can say that he does believe, or is willing to believe, we emphatically assure him that he is on his way. It has been repeatedly proven among us that upon this simple cornerstone a wonderfully effective spiritual structure can be built."
In Step one, we read the meaning of the spiritual Cement on page 17.
"The feeling of having shared in a common peril is one element in the powerful cement which binds us. But that in itself would never have held us together as we are now joined. The tremendous fact for every one of us is that we have discovered a common solution. We have a way out on which we can absolutely agree, and upon which we can join in brotherly and harmonious action."
The Cement is composed of two elements our "common peril", and our "common solution". We are building a foundation with a spiritual archway in which to pass through. We have two of the components that we need to continue.
The insanity food addicts experience is the madness of our obsession for food. This obsession blinds us from seeing the truth of the reality around us. We continually stay in our disease doing the same things over and over, hoping for a different result. We diet, we purge, we over exercise, we starve ourselves, and the list goes on and on. But the result is always the same.
In step two, we become willing to believe that such a Power exists that can restore us to sanity. This sanity includes making our minds whole again on a daily basis and removing our obsession.
Read again the chapter WE AGNOSTICS.
Review the bedevilments found on page 52. Now examine every aspect of your life in search for the manifestations of agnosticism (Which is essentially the same as the manifestations of the spiritual illness).
We are in danger of losing our connection with step two since we can say. 'Of course I believe that God can restore me to sanity'. We have to remember that not words but rather the evidence of our life and our actions is what really counts. We have to look at step two from the point of view of where am I still agnostic? And do I really believe that God can and will help me to develop from my current agnosticism to a different better place - or do I rely on myself to do that?
The manifestations of the agnosticism are our current connection to step one, since they connect us to the second part of step one which may bring us back to the return of the obsession and to eating our triggers and bingeing. Discuss your current agnosticism with your sponsor and decide with him/her on the actions you have to take to remedy the situation. Share with us.
Understand that the areas where we are agnostic are the areas we will have to deal with in this program. And we have to come to believe that God can restore our sanity. Discuss your areas of agnosticism with your sponsor and share with us. Commit again to work all twelve steps in order to recover.
To Everyone: (please share your responses with us on the loop)
1. What does the second step proposition "either God is everything or else He is nothing" mean to you? Are you willing to apply it? And how?
2. What concept of God did you bring with you when you joined program and what is it now?
3. Try the following. Write what kind of God you would like to have? Are you aware that you can have it? Since any concept of God that you accept as your own is enough to begin working this program and getting results.
4. What are the sentences in WE AGNOSTICS that gave you new information? What are the sentences, if any, that convinced you to embrace the solution?
5. Developing our conscious contact with God leads us to have a "Spiritual Awakening' that is the change that makes us recover. This change is also a process we are promised in step twelve that (the only) result of working the steps is having a spiritual awakening. Read the following pages and copy the sentences that describe this Spiritual Awakening.
Page 27, and [569-570 (Third edition), or 567-568 (Fourth edition)].
Readiness to Move to the next step
This is the Second Step question for those doing it for the first time:
"Do you NOW believe, or are you even WILLING to believe, that there IS a Power greater than yourself?"
For those of you who have done a Second Step in the past, there is a deeper Step Two question to answer:
"Do you now believe, or are you even willing to believe, that there is a Power greater than yourself that can take you beyond where you are now in every area of your life? Past here, past the experience you've already had. Do you believe that there are realms of peace, love, freedom, happiness, understanding, areas of consciousness, wisdom, & power that you can't even imagine?"
Those of you who have answered "yes" to the Step Two question(s) have completed the Second Step.