Today, a day at a time, I invite Hope


Editor’s note: After coming to terms that life has become unmanageable, Step 2 offers relief. On a daily basis, we come “to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” In this edition, AA members share their experience with Step 2. In their stories, these alcoholics talk about hope versus fear,  grace and the intimacy of a relationship with a higher power.


Hope and fear cannot occupy the same space. I invite one to stay.

– Maya Angelou


Before AA and sobriety, fear drove my drinking and dominated my life. There was only hopelessness and the insanity of doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results. I was trying to restore myself to sanity and kept on picking up the first drink. I would go to meetings, come in late, sit in the corner by the exit and cry. I left meetings early because I was afraid of people and that I might have to speak to someone. I tried to fix myself, all by myself. To quit drinking, I tried marijuana maintenance, practiced hours-long meditations accompanied by copious amounts of “natural” sedatives, complained that no one understood me to various therapists, had an exorcism session, and several other methods as listed in the Big Book chapter More about Alcoholism (pg. 31). Most days, I was hungover and depressed, too afraid to go outside unless I had had enough alcohol and drugs to be numb. And as an artist, I was sure drinking and depression were a part of my creativity. Who would I be without it? And yet, my artwork career was going nowhere fueled by alcohol. There was no room for the grace of a higher power to help.

Coming to believe is a daily practice for me. It’s been like using a muscle that strengthens with use and atrophies without. As with the entire program, this is a process of continuing to come to believe that something greater cares – even when I can’t seem to care for myself.

Some days I must act my way into better thinking (i.e. to get out of my crazies) and into better living. I don’t think the “corrosive thread” of fear ever really goes away. But its voice certainly gets quieter as I keep working the steps and continue to seek a relationship with a higher power that has repeatedly shown up in my life. Today, I have evidence of that presence. I have grown and changed through this process. I enjoy being a “part of” with others and successfully pursue my creative work sober. And incredibly, people in AA have been there to listen to whatever it is that I am going through and identify. As I continue to trust in this process and experience growth, I outgrow my fears. Hope blossoms.

I don’t have to drink, no matter what. Today, a day at a time, I invite Hope.

– Anonymous and grateful



Like many ideas and practices present in this program, I was unfamiliar with the idea of “hope”. When my then nineteen-year-old self was asked what I would do with my time on this planet, I would respond that I would be dead by my own hand or simply living under a bridge by twenty-five and that this question didn’t really concern me, nor did my future or then present wellbeing. I was hopelessly hopeless, sans hope. I was so invested in my own self-fulfilling narrative, so terrified that the solution to my problems would be more acutely searing than the pain I would ensure living the rest of my life out in my active addiction. I was afraid of admitting that I had a problem, as I would have to face the music and take action to save my own life.

Hope meant that I wasn’t totally doomed, that I was salvageable and that there was meaning to life, even if only in the “small” things. Hope scared me as it meant I was wrong about my value, the possibility of getting sober, survival. Hope meant I had to wake up, own my actions and regain my agency, lest I waste my time on this planet drinking and consumed by all of the unsavory, complimentary defective behaviors that go hand in hand with the bottle.

When I began this recovery rodeo, I luckily found a patient and loving sponsor, who softly yet firmly held my hand through the steps, one who instilled me with hope. At the time he was very much into Buddhism, awake to the ebb and flow of transient ups and downs—can’t have one without the other, right? He pointed out that hope and fear were polar opposites on the same spectrum, yet utterly related. Hope didn’t have to mean the same thing that “fear” did—I could be hopeful that my life and health would get better, without too many expectations, these expectations that are the prerequisites to resentments, just as I had faith in something greater than myself, something beyond my line of sight or knowledge.

To this day I can appreciate his nonchalant approach to Step 2. He asked me if I could ever imagine myself believing in something greater than myself. Without a hitch, I said “Well, yeah, sure…” and that was that. Then we ate tacos.

I just had to be humble enough to see that I couldn’t see everything in the bigger picture, nor the size of the hoop I had to jump through, and hope that I was wrong to think that I was the end all, be all. After admitting that I couldn’t see around corners, this became more achievable. I am grateful to know that I was wrong, that the wall between me and a higher power was a false one, constructed by my own unchecked fearful narratives. I had to hope that my past beliefs were wrong, that there was a life beyond my wildest dreams, just around the corner and just five proverbial minutes away.

Well, the “joke” is on me, as I am now thirty and my life is more beautiful than I ever could have imagined, far beyond anything my limited single perception ever could have projected. And while the joke is on me, I get to be in on it—hopefully.

– Ben



Texas T got sober in Los Angeles, CA, on December 25, 1990, at the age of 35. She has resided in Berlin, Germany, for the past 16 years. Her homegroup is Primetime. For more information visit In this email exchange, she talks about how she continues to build a relationship with a higher power. 

The 12 and 12 suggests taking Step 2 “piecemeal” and to quit the “debating society”. Can you relate to this? And how did you come to believe that there is a higher power that can restore you to sanity? 

I love Step 2. Step 2 is the beginning of my emotional recovery from my disease of alcoholism. This is an exercise of having an “open mind”. What is an open mind? An open mind is a mind that will be open to new ideas and new ways of behaving. I personally never tried to rightly relate myself to a power greater than myself. Until I try this, I do not have an experience with this so I can have no opinion on it until I try. I find this is true for me with the rest of the AA steps. I never tried to do anything AA is asking me to do. So if I open my mind to trying these new things I have a chance to experience a new way of life. It asks me to stop debating and arguing and to just do it. If I have an open mind I can do this. A closed mind is my mind when I use all of my old ideas as the power of my life. With a closed mind I will have opinions and old prejudice about what a higher power is. I personally had to drop all my old ideas about a power greater than myself and open my mind to new ideas about the possibility of a loving, caring higher power that can help me. All of this does take time as I am used to being the power for my life and need to build a new habit of rightly relating myself to this new power for my life. In the 12 & 12 it tells me I can be like a scientist. Scientists research again and again, always with an open mind. They do not decide if an experiment will work or not until they do it. I can do the same. The secret to this is to open my mind and try something new. All I have to do is start and keep practicing. No debating. Just do it. Keep it simple.

How do I rightly relate myself to this new higher power? I was presented with a very simple application. If I meet someone new and I want to get to know them, I spend time with them, I talk with them. Eventually, I may even rely on them and trust them. I see how they treat me. I can do the same with a higher power. I talk to my higher power from the moment I wake up until I fall asleep. All through the day. It was a slow start as I had to build a new habit. I was used to going to the power of me all through the day. The power of me is where my alcoholism and ego live. So this is why I need a new power, a power greater than myself to rightly relate myself to. God can and will restore me to sanity if I remind myself all through the day that I am no longer in charge by talking to this power instead of listening to the insane self-talk of my alcoholism.

What is your experience with hope in Alcoholics Anonymous?

The minute I went to AA I experienced a sense of hope. On my own power, I could not stop and stay stopped drinking alcohol. Being with a group of people that had accomplished what I considered impossible gave me so much hope.

In the Big Book, we read that “to us, the Realm of Spirit is broad, roomy, all inclusive; never exclusive or forbidding to those who earnestly seek”. Can you share your experience with that?

This opens the idea of a higher power up to everyone. I just had to find one that works for me. My relationship with my higher power is very personal, very intimate. I am so grateful that this is not a religious program. Only a spiritual program. One that has lifted my human spirit to a new way of life. All I have to do is stay awake, stay in the application, and live it.

Can you please talk about how your relationship with your Higher Power has grown over the years? Does your experience of faith change? 

As I wrote about in question 1, I learned to talk to and spend time with my higher power just as I would a person I just met that I would like to get to know. The longer I have gotten to know my higher power, the more I know this power and notice how it treats me, the more I begin to rely on and trust this power. It has become my best friend. It is always there for me, never judges me, never gets angry with me, never makes me feel less than. It is always loving, kind, tolerant, compassionate, understanding, forgiving, honest, all positive, mature, and then some. It always shows me the facts if I ask for them. I have learned to go to this power for everything. When life throws me some bumps in the road, I go to this power to be carried through these rough spots with grace and dignity. My higher power has no character defects or fears and can relieve me of mine if I ask it to remove them in the moment I am in as they will crop up. I have learned to watch my mind to see if I am truly letting my higher power be the manager of my life. The more I spend time with this higher power, the more I trust and rely on this power to guide me in my life. I am not 100% there and never will reach the perfection that is my higher power but that is the path I strive for each day. My higher power treats me so well. I ask my higher power each day all through the day to teach me to be more like it is. To teach me to treat others and myself the way it treats me. To teach me how to communicate with love, kindness, honesty in a mature way without any of my character defects or fears interfering.

I really had no idea that forming a relationship with a higher power was really going to be my solution for treating my mind-powered disease of alcoholism and give me a life where I can live to good purpose, where I could live in ease and comfort if I stay close to it and follow its daily guidance. I  would have never believed it had I not tried it. It was all about getting started with Step 2. Opening my mind to trying something I’d never tried before, just like a scientist, researching again and again, always with an open mind. All I had to do was start little by little and watch this relationship grow. I am so blessed to have been willing to go to any lengths for this. I am so grateful to AA.



When I got to the program, I was armed with the facts about alcoholism and the disease concept. I had accepted my alcoholism, and the unmanageability was glaringly evident. Despite this, sobriety seemed like a drastic solution. I was hesitant, partly out of fear, and I think, partly because I didn’t feel that I deserved it. I wanted to escape my consequences, but “going to any lengths” seemed like a stretch. I didn’t want to drink anymore, but sobriety looked more like a punishment than a relief. 

I kept showing up and was told that I didn’t have to feel the way I felt anymore, I didn’t have to do the things I did anymore, and I didn’t have to think the way I thought anymore. Without knowing, it was the hope of Step Two, the promise of sanity, that kept me coming back. 

Being of the “sometimes slowly” variety, I coasted by on meetings, fellowship and hope. Eventually, I found that I could be miserable and crazy even without a drink. So, I put aside my fear and prejudice and meekly asked a woman to be my sponsor. 

She knew that I had trouble with the “god stuff”, as my abusive step-father had become a priest. She gracefully untangled my human perceptions to allow room for a higher power. She asked, “If there were a god, what would god be like?” And set me to make a list of adjectives. 

Loving, gracious, kind and just… 

Forgiving, merciful and steadfast… 

The list went on. Her simple response was, “What would you be like if that were how you lived? What would life be like?” It all sounded… very sane. 

This simple exercise changed my mind and my heart. These ideas are all greater than me, and if I live by them, can also be a part of me, of my heart, thoughts and actions. On that day, I believed for the first time that it could be possible to be returned (or perhaps arrive for the first time) to sanity. It opened the door to a relationship with a higher power. And offered the hope and courage to keep doing the steps. 

Over the years, I have been given many tools of recovery, and this is one I still regularly use. It helps me to seek out, receive, and live by these concepts. It was and is the groundwork by which I can grow, and deepen my relationships, with my higher power, myself and the world around me. 

And the same hope from those early days still applies for me today. I have been sober for more than half of my life, so I have had more trials and tribulations in sobriety than in my drinking. Life continues to happen, there are challenges and grief and pain. The bondage of self has manifested in all new ways over the years. Thankfully, my threshold for pain has lowered and I can either see the insanity coming, or only tolerate it briefly. No matter what is going on in my life, in my head or in my heart, the same promise of freedom rings true. I don’t have to feel this way anymore, I don’t have to think this way anymore, I don’t have to do these things anymore. And I not only believe, but know from practical experience, that if I continue to work the steps and open myself to these principles, I will move toward being the woman that god would have me be. 

I’ve adapted this into my meditations, choosing a word of the year. I try not to think about it, but to feel it, to let it wash over me and through me. I usually choose a new one each year (though both Hope and Love make for beautiful meditations, and have been repeated). This year, my word is Grace. I certainly have been graced with the gift of sobriety, and with all of the promises that come true. Each day, I open myself to receive god’s unmerited favor, readying myself to be a conduit of it. Grace is the same etymological root as gratitude (Latin, gratus), so as a bonus, I have seen a shift in my attention to and my actions of gratitude throughout the day. In my experience, as I focus and tend to the principles in my life, they grow and bear fruit.

There is a relief and a joy in the hope of Step Two. It is the foundation of my knowing that I’m not alone on this journey, and in knowing that I don’t need to be shackled to my way of thinking or acting. Hope for a better tomorrow, and a belief that it was possible for me, shown to me by the men and women who came before me. It helps me be willing to receive the gift of these noble principles and to let them act through me. And hope for sanity on the other side, allows me to let go of whatever form of self that is blocking me, and I know I will find soundness and peace.

From hope blooms the beauty and the bounty of recovery. It offers me strength when I feel weak. It shines a light when my world is dark. It is the bedrock on which I can build courage. It is what keeps me willing. It is the promise of peace. 

Coming from the bleak hopelessness of alcoholism, this hope was what I held onto, a glimmer in a sea of darkness. I revisited and revised that list as I went through the steps for the first time. It helped me remember why I was doing the work, and it helped me do it. Hope still keeps me coming back. Through hope, I grow and deepen my relationship with my higher power. From hope, I can pass along my experience, knowing the other side of desperation. With hope, I still find the willingness to be a better version of myself. 

In love and service, 

Augusta L. (12/08/96)

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