“Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”
My first recollection of Step Two was while sitting in an AA meeting in the basement of a church reviewing the large print of the 12 steps on the wall in front of me. To me this was like any other task list to accomplish, to do, get done and have it behind me. When I read Step Two all I saw was the word “insanity”. I thought well I’ve never been insane so why would I need to be “restored” to sanity. So I could skip that STEP and move on.
Decades later when I review this step I realize that much of the time I am still insane. Today I equate sanity with maturity. I believe that the 12 steps have given us are our guide to “growing up”, or “maturing”. Maturity is not gained with time, it is gained through hard work, self-assessment and a commitment to a continued self-review, trusted feedback and positive change. All tools within the twelve steps.
A mature person, a sane person, acts with integrity, with thoughtfulness, is well-meaning and unselfish. I have been incredibly blessed in my life to know people who have and continue to act in a mature manner even in the face of all that life can through at them. Behaving in mature ways brings us and those that surround us happiness, peace and a sense of wellbeing. All the lives we touch are improved when we respond in mature ways.
Insanity is what my sponsor calls Alcoholism, the ISM. It’s the lack of integrating the steps into our lives. Many of us have heard the notion that our “maturing” stopped the day we started drinking. I tend to forget that the quitting is only the first half of the first step. There are 11 and 1/2 other steps required if I want to strive for maturity, for sanity.
I don’t do this work because it’s easy but because it’s worth it. It’s not painless but this pain is nothing compared to the pain of being one of the real “walking dead”. I want the promises to be true in my life all of the time. I want to be “happy, joyous and free all the time. But I’m thrilled when I get some of these things some of the time.
I want my actions to reflect a high level of integrity which has been my life’s goal. Since I’m human, much to my disappointment, only on rare occasions do I hit that mark, but on those rare occasions when I do hit that mark I experience an overwhelming feeling of grace. A true sense of love and wellbeing that surpasses anything of this world. I strive to be the person who says what I mean and does as I say. I believe we are great people who do hard things but mostly that we can do great things.
Maturity is defined by having an appropriate response to the events at hand. When I’m acting “immature” Step Two tells me I’m acting insane and only through continued work towards spiritual fitness can I begin to act mature more times than I act immature. If you don’t know what an appropriate response is, it’s in the book, the BIG BOOK.
My sanity relies on using all of the tools of recovery. All of which are discussed and explained in the first 164 pages in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Read it with someone who cares. Read it with someone you care about.
—Linda B, A Vision For You