The principle behind Step Eleven is SPIRITUAL AWARENESS.
Hello, all my Recovery partners! :-) Look where we are! Are you amazed? I am! :-) At a minimum, we have moved from probably wondering if we even *had* a problem with food, to admitting, um, yeah, we *do* have a problem with food, and now, here we are, praying to know HP's will for us! That's pretty huge!
I want to look at the wording of this Step because I think it's significant. The first word is "sought." So, what have we been seeking? I know that before OA, I was *always* seeking something, but I was always dissatisfied. "If only," were my watch words. "If only" my husband treated me better. "If only" my daughter wasn't so clingy. "If only" I could lose some weight. "Something" was always just out of my grasp, and I didn't even know what that "something" was! I was just basically dissatisfied with "everything." If only things were different, then everything would be perfect. Ha! :-)
So now, here we are in TRG’s program for Working The Steps. And what have we been seeking? If we're at Step Eleven, then we have been seeking "conscious contact" with our HP. Not some fuzzy, vague contact, but *conscious* contact. And how have we done that? "Through prayer and meditation." This is something we've been doing for a little while now, and it's something we need to continue to do. This is how this all works. This Step actually sort of says it all!
I know when I first started in this program, *any* contact with my HP was new territory. Now I can talk to him all day long, and "listen" for his will to be made clear to me. That's the "meditation" part. I've heard it said that praying is my talking to HP, and meditation is HP talking to me. Isn't that a neat way of putting it? It's like a new lease on intuition! Before the 12 Steps, my intuition was pitiful! I couldn't intuit my way out of a wet paper bag! :-) Now, I can actually sense what should be "the next right thing" vs. what is actually *ME* trying to rationalize something! That's new -- and refreshing -- and it sure makes life a lot nicer.
This Step also uses the word, "God," but it adds "as we understood Him." This reminds me that I don't have to use anyone else's idea of what God or Higher Power means. It gets to be *my* understanding. It gets to be what works for me. Of course, by this point in my Step work, I've stopped caring what anyone else uses for God/HP. It simply doesn't matter -- it's none of my business. I only have to stick to *my* side of the street, after all!
Next the Step says we pray "only for knowledge of HP's will." That means I'm not using prayer anymore to say, "Dear God, please make me a size 4 by the time my high school reunion gets here!" I've stopped treating God/HP like Santa Claus, and my prayers have stopped sounding like a shopping list! That's not what I'm praying for -- no, I'm now praying *only* (important word there!!!) to know HP's will for me. To know what is my "next right thing."
Next it says I'm praying "for the power to carry out [HP's will] ." Gee. That's a tad unnerving. I'm going to need to pray for the "power" to do something??? Ohhhhhh, right right right right right! I'm an addict! I can look for any excuse to **NOT** do the next right thing! I can distract myself out of it. I can rationalize myself out of it. I can justify myself out of it. I can say, "It's too hard." "It's too far." "I'm too tired." "I'm not ready." "Maybe tomorrow..." Yeah, I'm going to need a little "battery pack" from my HP to get off my behind and *DO* the next right thing; *DO* HP's will (not mine!). [Especially not MY WILL. That's what got me into this COE mess in the first place!!!] :-)
So, how does this work? Prayer. And Meditation. And Contact. No wait, that's Conscious Contact. :-) Yep, that's where we should be by now because we've had -- or are in the midst of -- a "spiritual awakening." For me, this was waking up *OUT* of my Big Fat Ego -- that thing that drove my addict-life. I finally see it's not all about ME ME ME. Wow, what a concept. I'm no longer in the mode of "I want what I want when I want it, and you're not the boss of me, and if only they'd do it my way."
Before this program, if you had told me that my primary purpose was going to be "being of maximum service to HP and my fellow man," I would have said, "AGAIN with thinking about others! That's all I do! I always put others first! I'm always pleasing *them*! Where's *my* time? Where's *my* share? Who's thinking about putting ME first?" Oh, I was such a good little addict. :-) And now, because of this spiritual awakening, this spiritual awareness, I can actually get out of my SELF-O-RAMA existence and actually think about others! And the magic of that is I ACTUALLY BECOME HAPPY FROM THAT! I thought being "other-directed" would make me miserable! It makes me HAPPIER! Who knew......! [Well, I guess Bill W and Dr. Bob knew!] :-)
ELEVENTH STEP PRAYER
Higher Power, as I understand You,
I pray to keep my connection with You
open & clear from the confusion of daily life.
Through my prayers & meditation I ask especially for
freedom from self-will, rationalization & wishful thinking.
I pray for the guidance of correct thought & positive action.
Your will, Higher Power, not mine, be done.
A.) READING: AABB, very bottom of page 85 thru page 88. [This really gets into just how "conscious contact" with our HP works, and how to make it happen.]
1.) This reading uses the word "suggestion(s)" quite a few times. I heard someone say that stopping at a red light is really just a "suggestion," but failing to do so could actually be FATAL. Would your failure to follow the "suggestions" in Step Eleven (or the whole AABB, for that matter!) be "FATAL" for you? In what way?
2.) The reading says, "When we retire at night...," "On awakening...", "In thinking about our day...", "...all through the day...", "As we go through the day...". What pattern do you see here? How does this relate to "conscious contact" with our HP?
3.) Please find a passage or sentence in this reading that really resonate with you, and tell us why.
4.) Throughout the reading, these words are mentioned: resentful, selfish, dishonest, afraid, worry, remorse, morbid reflection, self-pity, self-seeking motives, agitated, doubtful, running the show, fear, anger, foolish decisions. What do you think your "conscious contact" with your HP will do for these things? What will you see in their place?
B.) Read The Eleventh Step Prayer (above). It says that we pray and meditate to be "clear from the confusion of daily life."
1.) How can your "daily life" make for confusion?
2.) How does keeping the connection to your HP open help with your "daily life."
C.) In one of the Recovery Meditations that I receive daily from TRG, there is this quote about Step Eleven: "Step Eleven gave me the gift of a [Higher Power] that is ever caring and always present to help me if I just do my side of the work. As a result I have a spirit of love today rather than a spirit of resentment and self-pity."
How is your spirit doing these days?
D.) Here's a saying about a Spiritual Awakening. [Author unknown...]
How it feels to have had a Spiritual Awakening:
"A pessimist sees only the dark side of the clouds, and he mopes;
How is this working in your life today?
a philosopher sees both sides and shrugs;
a spiritually-awakened person doesn't see the clouds at all because he's walking on them."
E.) The Promises of Step Eleven:
We can employ our mental faculties with assurance.
Question: Are any of these coming true for you?
Our thought-life will be placed on a much higher plane.
What used to be the hunch or the occasional inspiration gradually becomes a working part of the mind.
We are in much less danger of excitement, fear, anger, worry, self-pity, or foolish decisions.
We become much more efficient.
We do not tire so easily.
F.) Although these promises certainly pertain to our spiritual recovery, I noticed changes in my physical life too as I moved forward in this program. For example, I had WAY more time on my hands!!! I discovered that my day was much *longer* because I wasn't wasting half the time (or more!) thinking about food, hunting for food, planning for food, preparing food, hornking the food, being "hungover" from the food, hiding the evidence, replacing food, etc. Have you found this to be true for you?
I still can't believe how far we've come! Just think, next week I'll be sending out Step TWELVE!!!! :-)