Sunlight of the Spirit

by Bara B.

Step 2: Came to believe a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

A new year with perfect vision. “I can see clearly now the rain is gone, I can see most obstacles in my way” with the help of the steps and my sponsor. If my words can be of service I’m happy to reach someone.

To me the beginning of Step 2 means came to a meeting. Came to: woke up. Came to believe there’s something or someone out there (or even inside us) that could restore us from the despair of alcohol and drug addiction to being happy, joyous and free? From powerlessness to letting go of our fears, we walk into the sunlight of the spirit.

This is what Step 2 promises: hope

This is what Step 2 promises: hope. I’m living proof of that. Six months of my late teens to early twenties were spent in an assortment of psych wards in two states, thanks to being under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Maybe some of that is bipolar disorder which exists in our family’s genetics. And alcoholism didn’t help. I had dropped out of college by then, and was completely lost and drifting. These episodes brought me to California in the late seventies, determined not to go back to the psych ward. 

At 21 I had left behind Albert, my sweet two-year-old son from my first marriage. I made the decision to surrender custody to his father but it left me broken-hearted and gave me more reasons to drink myself into oblivion. A family tragedy brought me to A.A., but not right away.

photo captions available upon request to thepoint@aasfmarin.org

My brother was almost killed at the hands of my violent, alcoholic boyfriend. The knife came very close to my brother’s heart. I felt I had to choose between the two men, and I chose my boyfriend who later became my husband. I can’t describe the crippling guilt and shame I lived with for so many years. Together we drank up and down the Coast, from San Francisco to San Diego and back. We stayed in run-down hotels, complete with cockroaches, drinking until we passed out. I felt like a fugitive – on the run with a would-be murderer and cast out of the family I loved so much.

And we had a son together. My twisted thinking was that this child would make up for losing Albert, and this time I wouldn’t lose custody. After five or so years of dragging Billy along with us on our drunken adventures, we settled for a one bedroom apartment. This was a huge step up for us. And I got a look at the lives we were leading, though still managing to hold down jobs. 

Gifts of the program

I came into recovery through Al-Anon. I told myself I was through with drinking, and now I could focus on getting my husband sober. After several hundred Al-Anon meetings, I realized I had one finger pointing at my husband and three fingers pointing back at me. I started attending A.A. meetings.

That husband never got sober and eventually died of cirrhosis. We had divorced by that time and I lost track of him. A social worker called me to tell me he’d died and was buried at Holy Cross Cemetery. As far as working Step 2, I believe the principle behind it is humility. I work the step by praying and meditating. I have a “God jar” that I use to place things or people I need to turn over.

A postscript: I have a continuing relationship with my first son Albert and attended his wedding. My second son Billy and I also have a very close relationship. And I’ll be attending my nephew’s wedding this March. I’ve just retired from the school district and was able to buy a little cottage up near Mt. Shasta. I was happy to be asked to contribute to the Point at a meeting yesterday. All these are the gifts of the program. I continue to come to meetings, I continue to believe, and I hope you find the sanity and health I’ve found in these rooms—beyond your wildest dreams.

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