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Step 2 of Alcoholics Anonymous

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) helps recovering alcoholics work through 12 steps to aid with sobriety. Step 2 focuses on preparing alcoholics to let go of their need for control over everything in their lives by introducing the concept of a higher power. If you’re having a hard time staying away from alcohol, AA can help.

Regardless of the alcohol addiction management and recovery support system you choose, whether it’s AA or an alternative, your road to recovery starts with information. Our admissions navigators are available to speak with you about treatment 24/7. Call our hotline at to start your journey toward recovery.

What is Alcoholics Anonymous Step 2?

Alcoholics Anonymous Step 2 states that, “We came to be aware that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” This step follows the first step, in which the alcoholic admits he has an alcohol problem and is powerless to stop drinking on his own.

Step 2 can be uncomfortable for some people because it seems to encourage alcoholics to believe in God. Alcoholics who don’t have religious belief or who aren’t comfortable with the concept of God sometimes balk at this step. However, Step 2 isn’t really about God – it’s about finding something outside of yourself to inspire you and help you remain sober. Many alcoholics, religious or not, have found this step useful. Here’s some ways you can use Step 2 to help you stop drinking:

  • Think about what inspires you to stay sober. Some people use their best selves as a higher power – the way they are when they are sober and doing exactly what they want to be doing. Other people are inspired by a favorite television show or character, a famous person in history or the love they want their children to feel. Still others use God or other religious beliefs. Don’t worry about whether your higher power makes sense to anyone else; just choose something or someone that works for you.
  • Talk with other AA members about their experiences with Step 2. If you’re not religious, you may not know how to apply Step 2. Talking to other AA members can help you get some perspective. Many people come to AA with the same thoughts and feelings that you may have when thinking about this step. Other members can support you on your own quest to understand and use Step 2 and can share their experiences so that you can see some alternative ways of interpreting this step.
  • Be open to new ideas about this step. Sometimes it’s difficult to accept this step because of your feelings about God or religion. In addition, taking this step further solidifies the idea that you’re not able to control your drinking on your own, which can sometimes be scary. Instead of trying too hard to understand this step, try reading it over once a day and just accept whatever thoughts and feelings come into your head. You may find yourself understanding it more as you reread.

Step 2

What Does Step 2 of AA Mean?

To really understand what the 2nd step of Alcoholics Anonymous means, you have to look at it in comparison to the first step. The first step asks alcoholics to admit they are powerless over their desire to drink.  This is a difficult thing to do because many alcoholics think that if they could just try a little harder they could stop drinking or that they just haven’t found the right answer yet. Admitting you need help means making yourself subordinate to those who are helping you, at least temporarily, so that they can guide you in the right direction.

This is what Step 2 encourages you to do, except for that it puts the problem onto a spiritual plane. Instead of asking you to allow other people to help you, it asks you to consider the possibility that there’s some sort of power greater than yourself that can guide you towards a better life. It then asks you to define for yourself what that power might be so that you can be open to its guidance. Some people find it helpful to talk to a spiritual adviser, an AA sponsor or a counselor to help them accept and define their higher power.

How Can a Person Get Help for an Alcohol Problem?

Help for an alcohol problem is easy to find, but it is not always easy to ask for. Overcoming an addiction to or a dependency on alcohol can be a long and sometimes frustrating process, but if you’ve made the decision to stop drinking you’ve crossed the most important hurdle in your recovery.

Next: Step 3
Last: Step 1

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