Step Two and My Path of Least Resistance by Robert K.
When confronted with Step Two my initial reaction was less
than pleasant and much of what I said out loud was not appropriate for any
social situation. My personal issue was that I was reading words that were not
there. It may as well have read, “Was told that Jesus Christ was the only one
who could fix me.” Instantly all of my opinions about God and organized
religion and hypocrites flood my head. The repulsion, the anger, and the fear
drown out the simple message of the step. I convince myself that I know what
the hell is going on here and I’m not doing it. And so, I become unmovable.
To think of it in these terms was getting ahead of myself in
this process, but the short detour was part of the pathway to moving forward. I
think that conjuring up these old images was the issue I’d had with this step
in the past. But this is not where I want to be, yet. For me I had to have it
pointed out to me that developing my concept of this God, as I understand Him,
is Step Three. We’re only on Step Two. So rather than sabotage my progress with
old ideas, once again I had to get out of the way and take the path of least
Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could
restore us to sanity. The first thing that I had to look at was my belief
system. I had a childhood filled with violence. I had an adolescence filled
with booze and drug addled rebellion. I had an early adulthood filled with
reckless abandon. I believed there was nothing wrong with my drinking because I
was owed a good time. I deserved it. If you’d had the life I’d had, you’d be
like me too. I came to believe that there may be plenty wrong with me, but it
was everyone else’s fault.
Those Powers greater than myself, they were the problem.
They wanted to control me. They wanted to take away my fun. They wanted to
place the blame on me. Those Powers
would tell me to sit down and shut up. They would tell me that I had to take
responsibility for my actions. I couldn’t be bothered. I had nothing to be
As for the idea of being restored to sanity, well I had
ideas on how to get there. First of all, put everyone who had harmed me in
front of me and then give me the means to make their lives a living hell. That
would make me feel better. When it came to my drinking, just shut up and mind
your own business. That will give me some peace and quiet. And isn’t that what
sanity is? No one constantly on your back about what you did and how much you
drank and where did all your money go?
In my skewed perceptions, I couldn’t acknowledge the concept
of an intangible Power greater than myself. I associated that phrase with
authority figures. All the cops, teachers, parents, all of them were just trying
to hold me down, trying to control me with their rules. When I finally stopped
struggling against the imaginary restraints, when I finally wore myself out,
then and only then was I able to hear the truth in my own words when I related
different things that had happened to me.
When I considered the number of times I had woke up in my
own vomit and had not choked to death while I was passed out, was that not a
sign of something greater than myself protecting me? Was I still going to
insist that it was just dumb luck that I was laying a certain way that allowed
all the bile to come out of my mouth instead of going back into my windpipe?
When I thought about my blackouts, waking up in my bed with
no memory of how I got there, could I still deny the existence of a power
greater than myself? After all, something had to have kept me from falling down
a flight of stairs and bashing my skull in. When I stepped off the curb, could
I say with confidence that I was the one who kept myself from walking head long
into traffic? When I was on the train platform, could I explain how I could
have stood at the edge of the platform without falling onto the tracks or in
front of the train as it pulled into the station?
When I wrote out the things that I had done that could have
ended my life, I couldn’t deny it any longer. There was a Power greater than
myself at work here. While it may not have been a physical form of protection,
there was something looking over me that was stronger than luck or coincidence.
How could I rationally explain away these facts that were before me in black
and white? I couldn’t, especially when I was always the first one to admit that
there are things in the world that are beyond our comprehension. If I was willing to believe in something like
Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster, then why couldn’t I believe in a Power
greater than myself?
Once again, as I moved down this path of least resistance
and just stopped and breathed and sat with this new idea of a force, a Power
greater than myself, I could hear the static in my head turn down a notch. I
could feel my body relax ever so slightly. For the first time in a long time, I
felt something akin to hope. With hope, I didn’t feel quite as unhinged as I
This was the beginning of my restoration to sanity. With it
came an understanding of how things work in the real world, not my drunken
suits-me-fine world. There are simple tasks that I can do, like making my bed
or doing my dishes, help maintain my sanity. I continually strive to educate
myself, to keep moving forward in my career and life. That sense of
accomplishment gives me a greater sense of self and that helps maintain my
sanity. I had to learn how to talk to people, but more importantly, I had to
learn how to listen. Being able to admit that I don’t know everything helps
maintain my sanity.
I have seen someone die in the parking lot of a hospital
from an alcoholic seizure. Even seeing someone hemorrhaging from every opening
of their body wasn’t enough to convince me that alcohol will kill me. When I
went out on a relapse, it was the farthest thing from my mind. Unlike that moment
when I learned not to touch the hot stove, perhaps seeing that person die in
front of me wasn’t enough because I wasn’t emotionally connected to the lesson.
I’m not smart enough to know how to fix the world. I’m not an authority on finance or romance. I’m
not an expert in the areas of psychology, philosophy or religion. I only know
what I have learned from those times that I was paying attention. I am only an
expert on myself. Even then, my knowledge is questionable. Thus, with the care
of a Power greater than myself, I have daily reminders that humility is the key
to being teachable. And knowledge, if
used correctly, can be the key to a life of sanity.