The second step of Alcoholics Anonymous states: "Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity." For someone hearing this at their first AA meeting, it could not be much more intangible and obscure.

People walking in the doors of AA have a lot of problems in their life or they would not be there. Someone suggested that they attend AA meetings. Maybe a judge or spouse ordered that they attend or maybe they saw that a friend of family member that they respect turned their life around after joining AA. Whatever the reason, they most likely do not know very much about the Twelve Steps of AA. These steps are read aloud at the beginning of each meeting.

The AA first step talks about being powerless over alcohol and having an unmanageable life. That rings pretty true to most newcomers - they drink a lot and their life sucks. Then they hear the second step mention a Power greater than themselves restoring them to sanity. At this point many newcomers are probably thinking "here comes the God thing (I knew it!) and to top it off they are calling me insane!". Eleven years after first having these thoughts myself, my answer would have to be "you betcha!".

One can only hope that by the time a suffering alcoholic walks into an AA meeting hoping to change their life for the better they have unsuccessfully tried everything within their power to quit drinking. In other words they have already proven to themselves that they can not do this on their own, or they would not be there. So if there is a solution, the solution must lie outside of themselves. This is the core of the Second Step of AA - believing that there is a solution to their self destructive behavior and it lies outside of themselves, in some other Power.

The second step can be a huge relief once fully digested. I no longer have to keep trying and failing, I am not capable of escaping this on my own - but there is a way out. It lies in a Power greater than myself. What that Power is, does not really matter at this point. Just look around any AA meeting and you will see recovering alcoholics whose lives that have been transformed by something greater than the people themselves - they failed on their own as well and are now living ordinary lives.

Once you see this in others and believe it is also possible for yourself, you have taken the Second Step of Alcoholics Anonymous.