LEADER'S SHARE ~ STEP ELEVEN|
Going back to the first three Steps, a decision is made which in
shorthand says, "I can't. God can. Therefore I think I will let God." Since
no one could have been more cynical about God and religion than I when I
first arrived, I will not allow for arguments about theologies. Theology is
not my concern. I have said repeatedly that the concept of a Higher Power
who is concerned with me and my well being was completely pragmatic for me.
I will illustrate: No one has seen an atom at any time, and it is unlikely
that anyone ever will. The smallest piece of light energy, the photon, is
larger than any atom, and therefore no atom can reflect it. It therefore
cannot be seen. The hypothesis that there is such a thing as an atom is
based entirely on the practical results of proceeding to do science as if
atoms really do exist. The metaphors out of which scientists construct the
atomic hypothesis are not of a different sort from the types used to describe
a Higher Power as recovering people have come to understand the concept.
What works, works, and no amount of proof adds to that, nor does skepticism
The key to the Eleventh Step for me is the consciousness factor. When my
thoughts are on God, as I or any of us may understand the term, my thoughts
cannot quickly turn to the refrigerator. Once I obsessed over the
refrigerator day and night for many years, and was not conscious of it. Now,
I simply have to become conscious of another Power -- not obsessive over it -- and voila! -- I am having my obsession taken care of.
You will recall my stories about the first couple of times when my
thoughts turned to my Higher Power, and I was able to overcome food problems.
Now I am invited to let my thoughts stay on my Higher Power and have my
compulsion removed one day at the time for the rest of my life. It has now
been almost eight years, and who am I to tamper with success? I certainly
had none on my own for fifty-four years!
So what did I do? The very first thing was to get a copy of OA's For
Today and read the daily meditations. This was so rich that I continued it
for a few years. Since then, I have branched out a bit, but in the same
format. The daily discipline of this activity has served to enlighten my
mind about so many things relating to program, and has caused me to change so
much of my inward self in the light of the reflections, that I can say that
today I have a certain serenity which seems to have taken up permanent
residence, at least as long as I continue to "feed" it its daily ration of
It's all about opening up channels of communication. Is there such a
thing as an inner child? This question is not unlike the question of theism.
All I know is that when I open up channels of communication with my "inner
child," I begin to find an increasing emotional freedom. It just works for
me. To my mind, if this microcosmic process works, I don't know why I
shouldn't try for the macrocosmic effect. Not to mention talking to
recovering people all the time, and even my sweety-pie. Channels of
communication on levels of understanding that are not entirely "rational."
When my sweety-pie kisses me, I can assure you that my thoughts are normal,
but not at all rational. When I talk to little John, I get in touch with all
sorts of feelings and the sources of them. I don't know exactly what it is I
get when I talk to the God of my understanding, but I do know that recovery
and serenity are a major part of its benefits. It works if you work it, as
This differs in some very important ways from what sometimes seems the
case with certain religions, which may appear to be asking me to park my
brain in neutral on entering. No one has asked me to do that, nor would I
agree to it. I just open up the channels in every imaginable direction, and
when I find a great benefit in doing it, I become willing to continue to do
it. Maybe what God wants is for me to be his/her "little John." Maybe God
needs to have the channels open just as I do. I don't know, and I don't
care. If there's any problem, it's not mine. I do my part, and what happens
is that the miracle of recovery goes forward each day I live this way.
I have heard it said that if your Higher Power can't or won't do for you
what you need to have done in order to have life, fire that one and get one
who can and will. That's really sort of what happened with me and Ziff in
the beginning. I don't think of Ziff now as I did then, because as the
channels have opened up and the communications have developed, I have come to
think of God in other ways than "As if." God has become real to me. At
least the one I know is.
It also should be noted that my first sponsor was also a very spiritual
person, who led a meeting on spirituality each week. I attended that meeting
regularly as long as I was living there. It is now clear to me that this was
something very important. For many years now I have listed myself at
meetings and since '98 on line as a spiritual sponsor, as well as food and
steps. No one has ever asked me to be their spiritual sponsor, and I have
often wondered why. I actually took a course in spirituality and recovery in
a graduate school, thinking I would find a good use for it. But no. Maybe
it's something in me.
My journey has certainly been one of the spiritual awakening that the
next step mentions. I have not returned to the faith of my fathers and
mothers, but I have returned to God in a way I could never have envisioned
before. As the Big Book prays: "May you find him now."
That's just about it. Simplicity itself, but leading to a major life
So what's your story?
Share with me.