My share on Step Eleven: Spiritual Awareness is the principle of Step Eleven. I am not a religious woman but the OA program of recovery has made me a spiritual one. My spirituality began when my first sponsor suggested that I say a prayer for abstinence each day before each meal. I did not believe that was going to help but I wanted recovery so badly I was willing to do whatever my sponsor said. I was quite astonished when I found those first few simple prayers worked! Recovery is an ongoing process so what worked for me in the beginning needed embellishment as I continued to work program. How was I to do that?
In order to recover from compulsive eating, we need a living, developing, ongoing relationship with a Higher Power, and we find having complete freedom to seek that relationship is a vital aspect of our program. OA Twelve & Twelve, page 92.
I am so grateful those first few pioneering men and women of AA were inspired to define God as we understood Him. I cannot imagine the Twelve Step programs being as successful today as they have been over the past seventy some years without giving EACH of us freedom to define our own Higher Power.
My first couple of years in OA was not very successful. Self-will and fear held me back from finding back-to-back abstinence and ongoing recovery. I failed to enhance my spirituality by practicing Step Eleven.
While we have a three-fold illness, we have only a spiritual recovery; the physical and emotional recovery comes automatically because of God’s will for us. OA Seeking the Spiritual Path, page 34.
Recovery is spiritual and I need Step Eleven to maintain a relationship with my Higher Power so that my recovery may continue. How do I do this? The Third and Seventh Step prayers along with the Serenity Prayer are the most powerful prayers I say each day. I begin my day on my knees in prayer making sure that I slow down enough to consciously make the contact I need with my Higher Power. During my day, especially when driving, I have an ongoing conversation with my Higher Power. I have found that the conversation, when spoken aloud, is especially profound. Each night I write a page in my God journal about my day or my feelings at the moment. I began my God journal in May of 2005 and as our relationship developed, I found myself wanting to sign off “Love, Cindi.” As with any type of relationship, the more I put into it the more I get out of it. My day ends on my knees in meditation, quieting my mind and focusing on a few phrases that bring me awareness of spirituality. Sometimes I can actually feel the presence of a power greater than myself.
In June of this year, I completed my sixth year in recovery and began my seventh. My program is not perfect and neither is my abstinence. I am human, I make mistakes and life is not easy. However, I do know one thing, no matter what happens to me, God is here, by my side walking each step of the way. I am not alone anymore. The big black hole in my soul is now filled with spirituality of program. I feel complete, accepted and loved not only by my Higher Power but also by the OA fellowship. My ongoing recovery is dependent upon spiritual awareness, which is why I so strongly work Step Eleven into my daily life.
Love in recovery,
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.
Eleventh Step Prayer:
God, as I understand You, I pray to keep my connection with You open, and clear from me the confusion of daily life. Through my prayers and meditations I ask especially for freedom from self-will, rationalization, and wishful thinking. I pray for the guidance of correct thought and positive action. Your will, not mine, be done.
Principle of Step Eleven:
In Step Eleven we learned the principle of spiritual awareness as we turned our attention to the practices of prayer and meditation. We practice this principle by seeking an awareness of God's presence in all our affairs and by continuing to nurture our spiritual sensitivity through prayer and meditation.
The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous: Page 105 & 106
To help comprehend the questions, please read the Step Eleven chapter in The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of OA. Please also read in the BB of AA, Pages 85 through 88. (Fourth Edition)
1. Step Eleven is one of action. How do you actively seek to improve your relationship with a power greater than yourself?
2. Define the difference between prayer and meditation.
3. How do you know which thoughts are your Higher Power’s directions and which are your own rationalizations?
4. What do you do when you need to make an important decision?
5. In what ways does your Higher Power speak to you?