Step Two: Come to Believe
“Come to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity”
CPA for Anxiety
Welcome to Step Two of Chronic Pain/illness Anonymous (CPA), which I am currently “working”.
I am not sure I have yet graduated step one: surrender.
I am pretty sure I have not.
I am changing things up a bit. Before you accuse me of being fickle – it is on the professional advice of my pain psychologist. Yes I have one of those, just so I can say at parties “my pain psych says…”. Well accept of course I’m too sick and anxious to go to parties.
Back to the journey ….. so …. in yesterday’s session with “my pain psychologist” we were going over my progress; which clearly has been super duper, I am an A plus student. I have: started Reiki training and practice daily; I have finally improved my heart rate variability; I am being oh so much nicer to myself; and my physical symptoms are actually a little better. Excellent right? Not so fast, my mental symptoms are a disaster. I am so scared of slipping back that the tiniest niggle sends me off on one. So psych suggests I turn the CPA ship towards Anxiety.
I feel more inclined to surrender to Anxiety as it is surely not getting better.
….. I am waving my white flag …..
Can anyone see me?
Will anyone rescue me, or even take me prisoner?
Now that I have surrendered, I must Come to Believe.
Come to Believe
I happen to know most of my readers are American, so what I am about to say may come as a surprise to some. We antipodeans are a bit of a faithless bunch compared to you. Christianity is our shared major religion, however we are 61% in Australia and not even 50% in New Zealand, to Americas 83% (I just asked uncle google that one, no academic publication here sorry).
I was bought up in a way that religion was seen very much like death. The same sort of thing would be said for someone who ‘got religion’ as someone who suddenly got death… all sotto voice, sad face “such a pity, he was suuuch a nice person”. I am not even making a joke.
Yes I am aware that both AA and CPA are not ‘pushing’ religion just a higher power of your own choosing. I still feel if I had been brought up with some sense of a higher power it would be easier to pick my own now, or believe in one.
How to believe?
The book tells me:
“… most often, the way to do this is remove what is in our way of recognizing it…”
The good news is – all we need to do, to work this step, is be willing to believe in the possibility. Great. I can do that. I feel I want more. I want a name, some images, a language, a few nice symbols … but isn’t that the very stuff I am turning away from?
A key ingredient of this step is simplicity.
A key ingredient of my personality is not simplicity.
Apparently for some this greater power is as simple as nature, or the actual group itself (AA or CPA – the fellowship as it were), others just design it. How would you design your ideal higher power? How would I design mine?
Apparently you can use your sponsor’s belief in said power to ‘hold you’ until you get your own. Of course I don’t have a sponsor. But I have a great hope those of you following might join me in a dialogue on the topic. I know you are there.
Major conflicts and a prayer
I realise I have two major hurdles, my upbringing and my identity as a scientist. Silly to let these things stand in my way.
*God*, grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.
Thy will, not mine, be done.
There is gold there
“Our higher power can restore us to sanity – to soundness of mind, heart and spirit”
Hallelujah! I so want that stuff! And this stuff even more:
“[when] we give up the insanity of trying to control the uncontrollable. We come to understand that only a power greater than ourselves can restore us, because clearly, our own thinking has not been effective in doing so.”
Never a truer word said.
I am going to go and work this step. I suspect if last night is anything to go by, I’ll by wide awake mid panic attack circa 2am tomorrow with loads of material to ‘work it’.
Meanwhile you go faithfully in the direction of your dreams,
Yours as ever