In Step Two of the Twelve Steps, “came to believe” expresses open-mindedness and faith, the willingness to look in a new direction for the power and resources that make a difference in life. “Came to believe” also suggests that we bring ourselves physically and emotionally to be with others who are living their lives with recovery and change successfully. We literally replace the old environment(s) that have been part of our addictive cycles with new ones that help build healthy ways of living.
In my case, I “came to,” — out of the addicted coma I had been living in for so long — and became consciously aware physically, intellectually and emotionally of the ugly reality that was my life. I “came to” realize that the only rational and reasonable thing to do was to look outside of myself, and let go of the self-centered belief that within myself I possessed everything necessary for a sane and healthy life. I “came to believe” that my only hope for a life worth living was to look beyond myself in order to find what was needed to make a difference in my life.
In the Operation Integrity fellowship, we admit our struggles to one another often. We admit that we sometimes feel like we are disconnected mentally and emotionally. We realize and we admit that at all costs we must stay away from our addictions if we hope for a real and meaningful recovery and personal change. Remembering the suffering our addictions brought us and the fact we are powerlessness over our addictions keeps us moving forward in the right direction.
We also separated ourselves from the people, the places and the things that promoted our addictions. Following what our friends from Alcoholics Anonymous suggested, “we became willing to go to any lengths.”
Getting free from our addictions didn’t guarantee that life would be perfect, but to continue in the way we had been going almost certainly guaranteed our destruction. We had to gain some real integrity if life would ever improve. And together we are learning to have an authentic faith for recovery, which is to say we stop claiming faith only in ourselves.
On the occasions when we failed, which I did many times in my early recovery, we disclosed our failures honestly to one or more of our partners in recovery. This taught us we could regain some integrity simply by making an honest and open admission of our failures to someone who could understand our struggles. Amazingly, no one ever got tired of hearing about my failures. This is what a recovering fellowship is about — I am loved for who I am and who I am becoming regardless of my failures along the way. Recovery partners are more interested in me than my mistakes.
It was so bad we didn’t think we were going to make it. We felt like we’d been sent to death row, that it was all over for us. As it turned out, it was the best thing that could have happened.
2 Corinthians 1:9 MSG
from When Lost Men Come Home - not for men only
copyright 2012, David Zailer