Dear Fellow Travelers,
Step Eleven Essay
OA meetings, literature and sponsors can offer only a springboard to the real source of our spiritual and emotional recovery, the God of our understanding. After supping on the unconditional love and acceptance we find in meetings, gathering the wisdom from the literature, and harvesting what we need from the insights of our sponsors, we will inevitably hunger for a deeper contact and communication with our Higher Power. Step Eleven encourages us to seek this through "prayer and meditation."
For many and especially the newcomers amongst us, the very mention of prayer may cause them to run in the other direction. Praying is very much a personal thing and as there are variations and diversities amongst the members of OA so there is multiplicity in the techniques of prayer and meditation.
The phrase "what works for you" springs to mind concerning the approach to prayer and meditation mentioned in step eleven. If we have had little or no experience with prayer we should perhaps begin with something simple, and expect nothing earth-shattering in response. Perfectionism should be put to one side, and openness and honesty should be adopted, since the aim is not to hide from God, but to seek His help, His wisdom and His will for us in our lives.
The language of prayer comes from the heart; we are not required to embrace the "thees and thows" of olden times. A "conscious contact with God as we understood Him" requires little more than peace and quiet, an open heart and mind and above all, a willingness to be still.
Answers to prayer come in various forms and it will take time to hear that still small voice from within. It will take patience to cleave to the guidance of God and it will take courage to do His bidding. We may not see a burning bush, fireworks, or hear a chorus of angels overhead. After all many of us have had our minds filled with the disease and so it takes time to clear the clutter from our minds, but in time we will hear something.
Step Eleven is about developing a personal relationship with the God of our understanding. It is about learning to trust in His judgement, about accepting His strength and wisdom. It is about taking every step of our journey in His will for us and acknowledging His "power to carry that out."
Meetings, literature, fellow members, sponsees and sponsors all have something of value to offer us on our journey of recovery, however what they have is limited. Step Eleven points us in the direction of a "power greater than ourselves" that is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks of the year.