Step Eleven

Introduction
Part 1 and Questions for journaling
Part 2 and Questions for journaling
Part 3 and Questions for journaling
Part 4 and Questions for journaling


Step Eleven ~ Part 1


"Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out."



Billy here, still a COE. I will be hosting Step 11.

Thank you, Audrey, for a wonderful Step 10.

I came into this program through a side door. I first came to the 12 steps in February of 1977 when my wife (now ex-wife) went into treatment. I was sent to Al-Anon, but did not stay, as they did not seem interested in her staying sober. For years I knew where meetings were and would drop in now and then. For some reason I started attending Al-Anon again in February of 1992 and this time was attending for me. I got a sponsor and in about 1996 started to work through the steps again for the first time in almost twenty years. In early 1996 I was in spiritual darkness, and had been in recovery long enough to now be comfortable with that place.

I shared this with a co-worker who was in AA recovery and was very open about his faith at work. I believe that was the point that I asked my sponsor about working the steps. I knew that I had to renew my conscious contact with God, as I understood Him. I had not lost faith; I had just lost contact. I had just become too busy and distant. I could not wait to work the first ten steps before I started on this step. It was in this step that my Higher Power gave me the strength to move forward with the steps. It was like finding a long lost friend. My Higher Power had more planned for me than I could have known. My sponsor, unknown to me, was also an OA'er, but we will get to that in Part Two later.

Step 11 was what lifted me out of the darkness I had created in my life. It was coming to my Higher Power on a daily basis, little by little, one day at a time. The more I sought through prayer and meditation, the more I came to know God, to develop a relationship with God as I understood Him and not be afraid of that understanding. I often hear people putting down others in recovery for talking about Buddha or Allah, Jehovah or Jesus, The Turtle or The Light. They chastise them for using religious language in a spiritual program. I read in the "Big Book" of Alcoholics Anonymous that the founders of AA did not discourage people from using their "religious denominations" in their recovery, but often encouraged this.

I have three requests for this Eleventh Step study: 1) An open mind. Just because someone uses a term or name I do not use, I should still listen to his or her ESH. 2) Spiritual Tolerance. I should respect the rights of others to express their ESH in language and with names that are meaningful to them. You and I are not here to convert others to our faith, or to save them from theirs. 3) Courage and Honesty: Please share your ESH in the spiritual faith that you find your hope and with terms that are meaningful to your recovery.

I had a friend in Texas who was told that because he was an agnostic, he could not work this step. From our discussions I felt he was a very spiritual person and we discussed his views on the order of the universe. For him, his Higher Power was that order. I suggested that he vision a light, a candle flame, and when he works this step to pray to that 'light'. It worked! He was able to grow in his recovery and to continue in the spiritual growth.

OK, enough of my views and share; on to the questions.
 
 

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Step Eleven ~ Part 1: Questions


"Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us, and the power to carry that out."


1) What is the difference, if any, between prayer and meditation?

2) What forms of prayer in the past did I reject that, now I am in recovery, I might want to take another look?

3) What are some of the things I prayed for before recovery and some of the things I pray for today?

4) What forms of meditation do I use today and what effect does this have on my recovery?
 
 

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Step Eleven ~ Part 2


"Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out."



Billy here, COE.

As I started to say last week, my sponsor in Al-Anon was also an OA'er. I found that as I went over the steps again, I saw a pattern with how I dealt with my ex-wife's drinking. Whenever she would drink, I would eat. Then, eating became a way I dealt with life and my fear of life. As I look back now, the more I relied on food, the less I relied on God. Food became more and more important and I had less and less time for God. I never quit believing ... just did not spend time in the relationship with God. It is that relationship that I want to talk about this week.

I have been in one-sided relationships before and they are not comfortable. I believe God must feel that way about me sometimes. I get busy, take for granted, and expect more than I am willing to give. But more than that, I do not get to know people that I do not spend time with. I say 'hi' to people I see at work but could not even tell you their name. There is one name I do know and that is my boss. She signs my checks, knows the rules regarding my job and knows how I can get things done in ways I would not have thought of on my own. I have learned that God knows the rules regarding my recovery and knows how I can recover in ways I would have never thought of on my own. If I am to recover from this disease, I must spend time in relation with the one source of my recovery ... God as I understand Him. (I used to say 'Her', but that is a story I will only tell in private). It is in this taking of time, in prayer and meditation, that I can become part of this relationship 'to improve our conscious contact with God'.
 
 

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Step Eleven ~ Part 2: Questions


"Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us, and the power to carry that out."


1. In this relationship with my Higher Power, what is my responsibility and what is God's?

2. What old attitudes regarding God or teachings from others that presented negative images of God, do I need to overcome?

3. As my 'conscious contact' improves, does my image of God change? How?

4. How important is this relationship to my recovery and how invested am I in this relationship (time, energy and commitment)?
 
 

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Step Eleven ~ Part 3


"Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out."



Billy here, COE.

'Conscious contact and knowledge of His will for us'. Last week we looked at our relationship with our Higher Power and improving our conscious contact (relationship). This week I want to look at knowing His will for us.
 
 

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Step Eleven ~ Part 3: Questions


"Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us, and the power to carry that out."


1. Where, when and how do you 'hear' the voice of your Higher Power?

2. Step 11 states we pray for knowledge of His will for us. What problems have trying to interpret God's will for others caused for them and/or you in the past? How do you avoid this today?

3. What, if any, is the correlation between God's will for you and your recovery?

4. Does 'praying only for knowledge of His will' mean we cannot pray for other things (jobs, children, health, or abstinence)? Why or why not?
 
 

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Step Eleven ~ Part 4


"Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out."



One of the things I came face to face with when I got into recovery was the difference between my intentions and my behavior. I was judging me by my intentions and the community (family, work, church and society) was judging me by my behavior! I am reminded that "the spirit is willing, (my intent) but the flesh is weak (my behavior)" when it comes to my working this step. I often pray for God's will with fear that I may have to carry it out. What if it is God's will for me to recover? Well, that would be alright - if it does not involve me forgiving some one I don't want to forgive, or changing behavior I do not want to change. When God reveals His will to me, often the power to carry that out is found in a joint effort of His strength and going back to the step that will help me work through that issue. God never asks the impossible of me, but does do for me what I could not do for myself.
 
 

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Step Eleven ~ Part 4: Questions


"Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us, and the power to carry that out."


1. How honest can I be with the God of my understanding? Is it OK for me to be upset with God and say so?

2. What do you do when God's will and your intent are in harmony with each other but your behavior is not?

3. Where or how do you find "the power to carry that out" when you find that "the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak?"

4. How has your faith, recovery and abstinence changed as a result of working this step?

Thanks for being there,

Hugs and recovery each and all,

Billy E., COE
 
 

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