Step 1 and 2

Rabbi Shais Taub guides us through the first two steps of the 12 step program here. Step 2:Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

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God Almighty can do anything

If in Step One you become ready to meet God, then in Step Two, you actually meet Him. But why does the first reference to God in the Steps allude to Him as “Power”?

One might answer that since “God” is a word fraught with so many connotations and one that evokes so many prejudices, it just works better to ease into it and not to use the word “God” right away. This is a valid point. For many people, “God” can be a “scare word,” as in the old Jewish tale of the rabbi who tells the atheist, “My son, don’t worry. The same God that you don’t believe in, I don’t believe in either.”

But this still does not answer our question. Why allude to God specifically as a Power and not by any other word that one might also use to refer to God?

Step 1 and 2 and God

One might answer that since Step One calls for the individual to admit his or her own lack of power, it logically follows that Step Two should introduce God as the one who has the power. But there seems to be more to it than that.

There’s a saying in recovery, “Don’t tell God how big your addiction is; tell your addiction how big God is.” The disease of addiction—regardless of drug of choice—is essentially an obsession with power. The addict wants control and finds it in the altering of his or her state by indulging in the addictive behavior. Hence, in order to recover, the addict must surrender this desire for control. But surrender it to what? To God? But what is God? The likelihood that surrender will be effective as a means for treating addiction depends entirely on one’s concept of God. Simply put, the idea that God can heal the addict only seems true if the God of one’s conception is a God to whom one can worthily surrender one’s own power. God may be many things to many people, but for the recovering addict, God must before all else be Power.

About the author
Rabbi Shais Taub is one of today's most respected young scholars of Jewish spirituality and practice. National Public Radio called him "an expert in Jewish mysticism and the Twelve Steps." He is the author of God of Our Understanding: Jewish Spirituality and Recovery from Addiction.
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