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.

Leader's Share and Step Questions

Hello my fellow recovery travelers! I cannot believe we are on Step 11 now, but we definitely are! Thank you all for hanging in and encouraging me and others with your shares.

Step 11 – 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

Principle: Awareness

Definition of awareness: the state or condition of being aware; having knowledge; consciousness

Of what am I aware these days? I am aware of a Power greater than myself that is restoring me to sanity on a daily basis. I am aware of a program of recovery that exists. I am aware of my need for that program and that Power.

The reading assignment this week is Step 11 in the OA 12 and 12, as well as the bottom of page 85 through page 88 in the AA Big Book. Here are some thing that stood out for me in these readings:

Step Eleven suggests prayer and meditation.

When we retire at night, we constructively review our day. [This is followed by several questions we can ask ourselves.]

On awakening let us think about the twenty-four hours ahead.

Those of us who have come to make regular use of prayer would no more do without it than we would refuse air, food or sunshine.

Nothing much can grow in the dark. Meditation is our step out into the sun.

I highlighted the 11th Step prayer, but won’t write out here. What I will write out is, “Thy will, not mine, be done.”

… affairs have taken remarkable and unexpected turns for the better as he tried to improve his conscious contact with God.

Here is my personal take on prayer. It is talking to God. I can share my day with him, or recite prayers I’ve learned. I can just say hello, or ask Him a question. I can whine and complain. I can question. I can yell. Prayer is any time I spend talking to my God.

Here’s my personal take on meditation. It is listening for God. Yeah, He talks to me. My kids think it’s weird, but I’m used to it. I hear a small, still voice that I know is not my own. It comes when I am super quiet, sometimes in the bathtub, or on a train ride. It is usually preceded by a time of prayer. I guess another way I meditate is to take a phrase from something I’ve read, either from the Big Book or scripture, and examine it from all angles, like a precious diamond. I might try accenting different words in the phrase, or trying to look at it through the light of the person speaking, or me as an addict, or me as a mother. It’s just another way I hear from God.

For the longest time I have had a prayer/meditation “routine” based on what I learned in AA, OA and in church. Here’s what my morning prayer time looks like. First, I read some devotional material and/or scripture.. Then I say the Our Father, the full Serenity Prayer, and the 3rd Step Prayer. Then I tell God I am going to look at my day ahead. I say, “Lord, as I think about my day, I pray that my thinking would be divorced from self-pity, dishonesty, and self-seeking motives. Today I may face indecision, may not be able to determine what course to take. In those cases I pray that you would give me inspiration, and intuitive thought or a decision. Thy will, not mine, be done.” And then I look at my day ahead. What will I eat, where will I go, what is on my calendar. Will I make phone calls? Make a meeting? Talk to my sponsor or sponsees?

When I am done with that, I use the ACTS formula of prayer. I start with Adoration, taking one quality of my God and telling Him that I adore Him. For instance, “Lord, you are a God who heals. I adore that about you! I love that you make people healthy and whole.” Next, I have a time of Confession where I confess my wrongdoings for the past 24 hours. Next comes Thanksgiving, which is always my favorite part. I once heard it said, “What if all you had today was what you thanked God for yesterday.” I thank Him for a lot every day. Finally is Supplication, which simply means asking for things. But I’ve learned in program not to ask for things for myself. I might pray for protection for certain people, for blessings on those I’m having trouble with, but for myself I pray only for knowledge of God’s will, and the power to carry it out.

I have a period of quiet after this (if my train has not yet reached the station, as I do my meditation during my morning commute). Oftentimes, I will hear from God in those moments. I have to tell you, though, that I recently had a revelation. I’ve been doing this routine of prayer for several years, but recently read in the Big Book about how someone drank because he failed to ENLARGE his spiritual life. That kind of took me by surprise. I’ve been very complacent with my spiritual life, thank you very much. And am I not coming out of a recent relapse? Oops. Time to change things up, grow and enlarge my spiritual life. Maybe you’re in the place where I was and you will be looking for, and finding, new ways of improving your conscious contact with the God of your understanding.

Here are a few questions for you to ponder, and answer with the group or your sponsor.

With love and gratitude,

Jill C.

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