Principle behind this step is SPIRITUAL AWARENESS
LEADER'S SHARE AND STEP QUESTIONS
Well recovery friends I hope that by the time you get to this step, like me youíve probably started to believe that a power greater than you can restore you to sanity. Step eleven of course is the maintenance part of this program, and so we continually need to ask for help and guidance from a power greater than ourselves for help in our lives in order to be able to maintain our abstinence. It took me a really long time to even get step two seeing I had been really angry at God when I came into program, so how was I ever going to reach out to my Higher Power on a daily basis? But the gift of desperation helped me in coming to believe and then even relying on my Higher Power for help with my life and my food. I know for me the fact that I was able to give up my major trigger food with my Higher Powerís help one day at a time was such a miracle, that I knew that God could help me do anything. I know all the years when I shut God out, it wasnít that God wasnít there for me; but rather that Iíd moved away. Thereís that lovely poem called Footprints in the sand which Iíll include here and it exactly describes what I was like before program.
FOOTPRINTS IN THE SAND.
One night a man had a dream. He dreamed he was walking along the beach with the Lord. Across the sky flashed scenes from his life. For each scene, he noticed two sets of footprints, the one belonging to him, the other to the Lord. When the last scene of his life flashed before him, he looked back at the footprints in the sand. He noticed that many times along the path of his life there were only one set of footprints. He also noticed that this happened at the very lowest and saddest times in his life. This really bothered him, and he questioned the Lord about it. ďLord, you said that once I decided to follow you, youíd walk with me all the way. But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life there is only one set of footprints. I donít understand why when I needed you most you would leave me. ďThe Lord replied, ďMy precious child, I love you and I would never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints in the sand, it was then that I carried you.Ē
For years I wondered why no matter how much food I shovelled into my mouth, the emptier I still felt. I didnít realise then that what I was trying to do was to fill the hole in my soul that no amount of food could ever fill. I now know that only by allowing my Higher Power into my life can I fill up that emptiness and so the spiritual side of this program for me is absolutely vital for my recovery. Today I know that without my Higher Powerís help I would be back in the food, and so I know that daily connection with my Higher Power whom I choose to call God is an absolute essential part of my recovery program. Of course that was really hard for me at first especially because Iím the worldís worst sceptic, and also because after all I believed that miracles only occurred in the bible. Iím also the sort of person who needs an if-then hypothesis before Iíll believe in something. And yet so many times during the time Iíve been in program, Iíve asked for help from my Higher Power and somehow Iíve been given the strength to either overcome a fear or not pick up the food, so today Iíve given up questioning how and why it works. I just know it does.
So today I do make some quiet time to connect with my Higher Power especially before I start my day. Nevertheless one of the things I still have to say I struggle with is meditation because I find it hard to switch my mind off, but every morning I read some of my daily readings and then meditate on them and how they relate to my life. I also say the 3rd step prayer every morning but I also know I have to keep connecting during the day especially when Iím struggling. And of course thereís the beautiful 11th step prayer that Iíll include at the end of this.
The Big Book describes this connection with our Higher Power beautifully on p.86 & 87:
ďIn thinking about our day we may face indecision. We may not be able to determine which course to take. Here we ask God for inspiration, an intuitive thought or a decision. We relax and take it easy. We don't struggle. We are often surprised how the right answers come after we have tried this for a while. What used to be the hunch or the occasional inspiration gradually becomes a working part of the mind.Ē
I know that so often when life gets really hard or the food is calling, I try and stay still and ask for help and whilst the answers donít always come in my time, somehow I know that I will be taken care of and I can get through what I need to get through. I would never have believed in the past that I could have been able to tune into my intuition, but I can now and am so grateful for that. I also always hear my Higher Power in meetings and Iíve heard it said thatís God with skin on. So often someoneís share is exactly what I needed to hear for that day so I know thatís my Higher Power talking to me through my fellow OAís.
ASSIGNMENT AND QUESTIONS ON STEP ELEVEN
Read step eleven in the OA 12 &12 or p.85-88 in the Big Book and answer the following questions.
- Have you ever been angry at God and if so what made you feel that way?
- Why do you think you need to spend quiet time alone with your Higher Power.
- How do you incorporate step eleven into your daily routine?
- What is the difference between prayer and meditation?
- Which meditation techniques have you tried and which ones work for you?
- Do you have a favourite prayer that helps you to connect with your Higher Power and if so what is it?
- How does your Higher Power speak to you?
- How will you know, after prayer and/or meditation that it is HPís will rather than your own rationalisations?
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.
And of course thereís the wonderful prayer of St Francis that I love.
THE PRAYER OF ST FRANCIS
Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.
Lord, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.
The Twelve Steps