Step Eleven

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.


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 detract.

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 sustenance!

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 we say.

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 change.

So what's your story?

Share with me.


Step Ten

Step Twelve

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