The short answer is no. I consistently watch people get twisted around the God idea based on this misunderstanding of the proposition presented in Step Two.
Troubles in Step Three begin well before that Step. Let’s assume that Step One has been adequately presented. If a newcomer identifies with Step One, we naturally assume that they will buy into the God idea, or really any solution at this point. “Many times we talk to a new man and watch his hope rise as we discuss his alcoholic problems and explain our fellowship. But his face falls when we speak of spiritual matters, especially when we mention God…” (BB, Page 45). I think the new man or woman immediately hears the message that has been presented to them by others throughout their lives: you must believe in and trust God. This is not the message that the 12 Steps present in Step Two.
As members of a 12 Step fellowship, we are really asking the newcomer to have a little trust in us. We clearly understand the problem, so is it possible that we understand the solution? We are telling the newcomer that there is a power in this world, and we would simply like to make the introduction. The introduction may or may not take place in Step Two, but it will absolutely take place prior to completing the 12 Step body of work. We who have done the work now recognize that the power has always been there.
The difficulty was that drugs and alcohol had lulled us into a deep spiritual sleep, and a life that was based on selfishness and self-centeredness.
Why would we expect to know someone we just met? We certainly wouldn’t rely on someone we just met, would we? It happens all the time. A person accepts a job, works for two weeks, and trusts that someone will pay them at the end of those two weeks. It also occurs in matters of the heart. Have you ever given your heart to someone before you truly got to know them, and trusted that they would take care of it? We are not asking anyone to make this kind of commitment.
The proposition in Step Two is similar to saying to someone, “Hey, I know someone that would be interested in meeting you, are you open to the idea that this person exists?” If they say no, we probably need to revisit Step One. If they can say yes, let’s see if they already know each other.
A conception of God is simply an understanding of God. If I have never met you or heard anything about you, then I have no understanding of you. If I am relying on what others say about you, then I am relying on their understanding of you. The question I ask all the men I work with is, what is YOUR understanding of God, based on YOUR experience with God? If he has no experience with God, then he does not have his own conception of God. That is perfectly okay, and often better. God will reveal Himself to him as he continues through the work. If he has had an experience or experiences with God, good or bad, then he has a conception of God. As he moves through the work, God will prove or disprove his ideas about Him.
Either way, he is working with his own Step Two truth, and he is ready to move to Step Three.
Chad Lentscher, Director of Alumni Services at Origins Recovery Centers