Step 2 – Surrender – Facing the Emptiness Addiction Leaves Behind

Someone caught up in the throes of drug addiction has come to rely on and value the role drugs play in his or her daily life. This mindset becomes the focal point in a person’s life with everything else existing to serve the addiction.

With Step 1 of the 12 Step program approach, recovering addicts confront addiction and the damaging effects it’s caused in their lives. Step 2 has to do with confronting the emptiness that was hidden by addiction and learning to rely on a Higher Power in the process.

Looking for information on 12 Step programs? Call our toll-free helpline at ​888-905-9004 (Who Answers?) .

The Mask of Addiction

Step 2

Surrendering to a Higher Power makes the recovery process easier.

Step 2: “Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”

Addiction impacts the mind most of all, creating belief systems that are designed to protect the addiction at all costs. In effect, these belief systems account for the insanity that addiction breeds, according to Indiana University.

Denial -one of addiction’s most powerful beliefs- leaves a person unable to see cause-effect relationships between compulsive drug use and the problems it causes, such as divorce, job loss or financial ruin. Step 2 in recovery entails seeing the faulty logic that feeds the addiction mindset and facing whatever it is that addiction kept hidden.

The Emptiness Addiction Leaves Behind

Living a drug-free lifestyle requires a person to develop new, healthy belief systems in the place of the addiction mindset. Before this can be done, a person must work through the issues that drove him or her to seek out escape in drugs, according to Harvard Health Publications.

These issues may touch on one of more of the following life areas:

  • Family relationships
  • Intimate relationships
  • Self image
  • Work

In effect, recovering addicts are dealing with two major life changes: the loss of the drug’s support system and dealing with difficult emotional issues. For many, it will be their very first time dealing with unresolved emotional traumas.

These combined effects account for the emptiness so many experience during the early stages of recovery.

How Can You Submit to a Higher Power If You Are Not Religious?

Step 2 Components


Step 2 focuses on two main themes: powerlessness and surrender. Powerlessness addresses the addict’s attempts to control his or her emotions and behaviors through the effects of the drug.

Over the course of the addiction, the drug’s effects end up controlling the addict instead. Step 2 requires a person to acknowledge his or her powerlessness to control buried emotions through drug use.


After confronting addiction’s role in daily life and the futility of trying to run away from emotional turmoil, a person becomes ready to work on the second part of Step 2: surrender.

Surrender entails seeking out a a source of wisdom that’s capable of filling the void left behind by addiction. This wisdom takes the form of a Higher Power, be it God, nature or one’s notion of his or her “ideal” self.

Surrender also means reaching out to others in recovery who’ve been where you are now.

If you’re considering 12 Step treatment and need help finding a program, we can help. Call our helpline at ​888-905-9004 (Who Answers?) to speak with one of our addiction counselors.

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