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.

Dear Fellow Travelers,

Step Eleven Essay

Dear God,

This, of all the steps, is the one that I return to each and every day of my life. This, then, is the step that allows me to accept the world on the world's terms, not mine. This step spells out what I was searching for long before hearing of any 12 step programs. I believe we human beings begin our search for You even if we don't know it, at an early age. The presence of a higher power is alive and a reality buried deep inside of us. This 11th step is the way to tap this power and find the will of God in our lives on a daily basis.

The way we take this step is as varied as we are, and my search took years, when it was before my eyes. I'll say this now and if the readers of this go no further, they will have the key to their higher power in their hands. Prayer is nothing more nor less than talking to God. Meditation is sitting quietly listening for His answers.

These answers come in a variety of ways and seldom are the of the aha variety. Usually it comes from our fellows in the program. Over the years I have learned much from my sponsors and elders, however the shares of newcomers have many times contained the answer to some of my biggest problems.

What makes 12 step programs different is they provide a guide to finding this spiritual power that is ours twenty-four hours a day, every day. In the darkest hours of my life it has been this ability to ask for and receive help from a power I could not see that has carried me through just one more day.

This is the step we need to get on that pink cloud we found at the beginning of our journey and without which we are doomed to fail. This step may be sporadic at first but unless practiced until it becomes natural to us, we will find ourselves once again doing the dance of binging, purging, and/or starving. Step eleven is central to our recovery.

My times of prayer and meditation are now the nicest, most comforting parts of my day. If, like me, the reader is new to prayer and meditation, consider it a voyage inside of yourself. I read somewhere that the only people who scoff at prayer are people who have not tried it enough. I'm reminded of all the times I've heard people dump on my God for the mishaps and in some cases tragedies in their lives. Time to let go of blaming God for the evil man commits from his free will.

The purpose of this step is not to have abstinence handed to us, but to show us how to preserve it. Each morning when we open our eyes to a new day, HP grants us this gift of not eating compulsively. We are then charged with the upkeep of our spiritual life, which guarantees our continued abstinence. Some people say the serenity prayer upon awakening; I did in those dark days when terror seized my mind and anxiety was my daily companion. Knowing my God was present gave enough strength to sustain doing the next right thing. Each day my daily letter to the God of my understanding allows me to clear my mind and listen. Many times that which bothers me is cleared up before I'm finished writing.

Abstinence is our goal, however there is no guarantee that life will not present us with losses of family and friends, jobs lost, nasty people and the hurts we are bound to suffer from the acts of other people, places, things or situations over which we have no control. Crap happens. It is what we do in the face of life that builds the character we need to live happy, joyous and free. Chaos and illness may surround us, yet our inner contact with our God enables us to walk through our worst fears, and once through, realizing they really were not so bad. We will know that God is active in our lives and so all is how it should be.

The key that helps us do and live this step is repetition - to set aside time each day to be undisturbed by outside influences and speak with our HP. Setting priorities is helpful as we start our day. As my eyes open in the morning my first thought is to get to the bathroom - that is the nature of my age - however my thoughts are on my God in thanks for another day to search for and to do His will. I have found this is essential to my recovery and long-term serenity.

Letting God determine what to do may well be frightening at first! I mean what if this doesn't work? Well, I really was not doing too well on my own, was I? Learning what we need to do to in order to maintain abstinence and stay on track spiritually and emotionally may elude us and may take some trial and error. How we get there is as varied as we are.

As we go through the steps to recovery, we find in many cases what used to be important and time-consuming has lost its value. Trying to impress others, grasping all we can get, winning arguments and being right, hanging on to past hurts, trying to rearrange the world to suit us - all this is tiring and self-defeating. We have lost interest in this behavior and seek only to keep our will in line with the God of our understanding. Looking back several weeks ago, we can see our progress.

Now I know this does not appear in any literature that I know of, and this is my offer to all who read this. If you can look me in the eye and tell me honestly that you ate compulsively while in a state of spiritual fitness, all my worldly goods are yours. That is how much faith I have in the God of my understanding. AND WHY NOT.......Danny


Step Ten

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