Dear Fellow Travelers:
Step 11 reads:
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.
My name is Donna and I am a compulsive eater.
After a while, when we attend a few meetings, eventually we hear that AA (which is the foundation of OA) is primarily a spiritual program. Now, if you have worked all the steps so far, it should not be a surprise to you that there is a spiritual aspect to the Program. But to hear that it is primarily spiritual may be a surprise - and possibly a turn-off! to some people. But the basis of this statement is the premise that addiction is mainly a spiritual condition; a result of a spiritual malady. Whether we have connected to God with mistaken beliefs, or connected only superficially, or whether we have never connected at all... the fact that we are in this leaky boat together is evidence that our spiritual connection has not yet served us adequately. The Program - in particular, Step 11, wants to repair and replenish that connection for all of us, in a way which can and does change lives. I know that it has made a huge difference in mine!!!
Now, I want to define "prayer". Prayer does not have to be formal, or organized - but it can be. I believe that each person's prayer can be as different as each person's definition of HP. To me, the essence of prayer is communication with our Higher Power. This can be spoken, sung, shouted, written or just expressed in thought. It can even be expressed inarticulately by feeling our feelings, while we are connected to HP.
Meditation, to me, is an extension of prayer. Some people practice ritualized meditation, just as some practice organized prayer. In my own experience, prayer is how I connect with God, and meditation is my continued thoughts about, and interaction with Him. It is a choice; to remain focused on God. The more that I choose to remain focused on God, the more I can focus on discovering His plans for my life. Some people may choose to do this by concentrating their thoughts on their Higher Power. Others may choose to read literature that is associated with their faith; readings that enhance their spiritual awareness and further their spiritual practice. Some may choose to experience God alone, or outdoors in a nature setting. Others may attend organized worship. Wherever you find God, that is what Step 11 is calling you to do.
Step 11 says we are to pray for and meditate about God's Will for our lives. For some of us, this will be already part of our daily practice. For some, it may be strange. I enourage you to try it... to step out with the same kind of faith that you have been exercising since the beginnings of these steps. Remember that the pioneers of AA developed these steps in order, for a reason. And they included each of them for a purpose. They have been tried and proven for decades. As we often hear: It Works if you Work it.
So work it, you're worth it!
And I cannot describe the benefits of step 11... the impact they can make on your life. Only you will be able to discover it.
Please share with us how you put this step into action... and please let us know what a difference it makes for you.
Donna, food addict
1. In what ways does Step 11 challenge me?
2. Do I feel as though I am free to express my honest feelings to God? Why/why not?
3. In what ways do I actively seek to improve my relationship with my Higher Power?
4. How will I know, after prayer and/or meditation, that I have discovered God's Will for my life?
5. In what ways has God spoken to me? (you do not need to relate specific events, just general examples unless you feel so led)
Blessings to all,
Donna, food addict