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


In the past I used my addiction as a hiding place when life became overwhelming. Now that I am in recovery, life can at times feel even more over-whelming. I’ll need a new place of refuge to escape the storms and find protection.

There will always be times when I feel the need for a safe place, the need to run and hide. God can be that hiding place when I was in distress, surrounded by “waves of death” in my old life of sin. I called to God for help. He heard my cries and brought me to a place of safety. He’s always there, ready to shield and protect me whenever I call on him. He is, and how much he loves us.

I initially turn to God for the help he can give me, namely his power to free me from the power of my dependency. I may be surprised to find that, as time passes, I turn to God out of a desire to be near him. As I discover how wonderful he is, and how much he love us, I draw near to him because of the joy I experience in his presence.

God is always there, but I am not always aware of his presence. My relationship with God usually begins with h is meeting our desperate needs. But when I begin to focus on getting to know God as an end in itself. I will discover that he will give me what I have always desired--the joy of being close to my loving Creator. Then I will see that he can be trusted with every area of our life.

I need to desire something before I will wholeheartedly seek after it. Until I realize how much God loves us and cares about the details of my life, I probably won’t have the desire to pray to him. Until I sincerely believe that he has completely forgiven me, I will be ashamed to face him. If I hold to my misconceptions about God this step will be formidable chore rather than a joy.

God is always present with us and can be a source of joy and happiness for us now. I can look forward to spending time with him and living in his presence every day.

As I work through the Twelve Steps, I spent a lot of time looking back. I often think about the wrong things I have done in the past. As I proceed in the recovery process I will need strength to move along the path God wants me to follow. Part of this strength will come as I visualize God’s constant, “throughout the land” and look forward to the fulfillment of his promises. In prayer, I should thank God for what he has done, seek him for the strength I need today, and ask him to fulfill his promises for tomorrow. In meditation, I need to remember my victories, ponder God’s presence with us today, and consider his faithfulness and the hope he gives me for tomorrow.

The secrets I hide have enormous power in my life. How many of my addictive/compulsive behaviors have been hidden or covered up? When I took the step and admitted the exact nature of my addiction to another person I was probably amazed at the way the addiction lost its power as it was exposed. The power of hidden behaviors and secrets can work for me as well as against me.

The power of secrets will also work to my advantage in my prayer life. Jesus taught us that “when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you” (Matthew 6:6). When I begin to spend time shut away with God in prayer and meditation, I’ll find that power working for me.

I want to recover as quickly as possible. It is hard to be patient as I wait for the process to work. Sure, I realize that I didn’t get to the difficult spot I am in overnight. I understand that I cannot undo a lifetime of damage in just a few moments. But still, it is a challenge to wait patiently. Every part of the recovery process requires time and patience. This step also requires time and patience. This step also requires that I learn to wait for God.

Waiting on the Lord has its rewards. I can remain calm when it appears that I’m not making any progress in recovery. As I learn to trust the Lord and wait on him, he will lift me up like wind beneath the wings of an eagle. God gives me the strength and stamina to bear up under the strain so that I won’t faint or or collapse under it. As I develop patient faith in God, I will be able to endure to the end of the race--and win.

Sometimes I don’t want to know God’s will because there is areas in my life that I am not ready to deal with yet. Recovery is a process for me. I may be ready to pray for God’s will in some areas but feel comfortable having God’s light shine into the areas that am still hidden in shame. Darkness is great when I am trying to hide something, but light is needed when I am trying to walk without falling. When I am hiding my shameful behavior and holding on to my addiction, the darkness seemed like my friend. Now that I am trying to walk toward recovery, I need the light to keep me from stumbling. I don’t have to be afraid of God’s light anymore since I have his forgiveness through Christ. He wants to safely guide me on the right path.

STEP ELEVEN: Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge for His will for us and the power to carry that out.

“Prayer”: is when we talk to God.
“Meditation”: is when God talks to us.
“Conscious contact” is that awareness of being connected to and with God through prayer and meditation, through How Word, His Music, Nature, His Holy Spirit, or that still small voice. Also through service, and how He speaks to us through others as being His servants, or vessels, or instruments.

SPIRITUAL PRINCIPLE STEP ELEVEN:
“Spirituality”

“Spirituality” includes a sense of connection to something bigger than ourselves and involves for deep meaning in life sometime that touches us all. The opposite of religion which is rules, rather relationship with God.

Remember… “we must increase our spiritual life .. or else” … the or else is … DIE!! I choose to increase my spiritual life … you?

SUGGESTED READING:

AA Big Book
(p. 85-88)

OA 12 Steps and 12 Traditions
(p. 91-98)

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Eleventh Step Morning Prayer

God, direct my thinking today so that it be empty of self-pity, dishonesty, self-will, self-seeking and fear. God, inspire my thinking, decisions and intuitions. Help me to relax and take it easy. Free me from doubt and indecision. Guide me through this day and show me my next step. God, show me what I need to do to take care of any problems. I ask all these things that I may be of maximum service to you and my fellow man. In the spirit of the Steps I pray. AMEN.

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Eleventh Step Night Prayer

God, forgive me where I have been resentful, selfish, dishonest or afraid today. Help me to not keep anything to myself but to discuss it all openly with another person--show me where I owe an apology and help me make it. Help me to be kind and loving to all people. Use me in the mainstream of life, God. Free me of worry, remorse or morbid (sick) reflections that I may be of usefulness to others. AMEN.

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AA BIG BOOK

Step Eleven suggest prayer and meditation. It works, if we have the proper attitude and work at it.

When we retire at night, we constructively review our day. Were we resentful, selfish, dishonest or afraid? Do we owen an apology? Have we kept something to ourselves which should be discussed with another person at once? Were we kind and loving toward all? What could we have done better? Were we thinking of what we could pack into the stream of life? But we must be careful not to drift into worry, remorse or morbid reflection, for that would diminish our usefulness to others. After make our review we ask God’s forgiveness and inquire what corrective measures should be taken.

On awakening let us think about the twenty-four hours ahead. We consider our plans for the day. Before we begin we ask God to direct our thinking, especially asking that it be divorced from self-pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives. Under these conditions we can employ our mental faculties with assurance, for after all God gave us brains to use. Our thought-life will be placed on a much higher plane when our thinking is cleared of wrong motives.

In 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 on 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. Nevertheless, we find that our thinking will, as time passes, be more and more on the plane of inspiration. We come to rely upon it.

We usually conclude the period of meditation with a prayer that we be shown all through the day what our next step is to be, that we be given whatever we need to take care of such problems. We ask especially for freedom from self-will, and are careful to make no request for ourselves only. We may ask for ourselves, however, if others will be helped. We are careful never to pray for our own selfish are careful never to pray for our own selfish ends. Many of us have wasted a lot of time doing that and it doesn’t work. You can easily see why.

As we go through the day we pause, when agitated or doubtful, and ask for the right thought or action. We constantly remind ourselves we are no longer running the show, humbly saying to ourselves many times each day. “Thy will done.” We are then 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, for we are not burning up energy foolishly as we did when we were trying to arrange life to suit ourselves.

It works--it really does. We compulsive eaters are undisciplined. So we let God discipline us in the simple way we have just outlined. But this is not all. There is action and more action. “Faith without works is dead.”

OA 12 STEPS AND 12 TRADITIONS

In order to recover from compulsive eating, we need a living, developing, ongoing relationship with this Higher Power, and we find having complete freedom to seek that relationship is a vital aspect of our program.

We have to take action to improve our relationship with God. In step eleven we are challenged to actively seek to improve our relationship with our Higher Power in the same way we might develop any relationship by taking the time on a regular basis to be with Higher Power.

Most of us have found it necessary to set aside some time each day when we can be alone and undisturbed. During this time we will actively seek to develop a consciousness of our power source through prayer and meditation, and to do so with an attitude of complete trust asking only for knowledge of the directions we are to take and for power to move ahead.

Step eleven encourages us to PRACTICE prayer, to continue talking to our Higher Power daily, even when it seems like a senseless exercise. For many of us a regular daily quiet time for prayer and meditation is essential a part of this program we don’t want to live without for it gives us the direction and strength we need to live the rest of that day.

“Keep it simple” is a good slogan to apply here because there is no one right way to do step eleven. Remembering that our goal is to develop a closer conscious contact with God, prayer is simply what we do when we talk with our Higher Power and meditation is simply a way of stilling our minds and opening our spirits to God’s influence.

As we say these prayers day after day and think about their meaning for us in our present circumstances, we are beginning to practice meditation. As we fix our attention on the truths contained in these prayers we open our minds to receive new understanding and direction from our Higher Power.

Now that we’re recovering from compulsive eating we need complete freedom to express our honest feeling in any situation, without fear of saying the wrong thing and damaging or destroying our relationship with God. Such freedom is an essential factor in the healing process because recovery is based on the practice of honesty with ourselves and our Higher Power. We need the security that comes from knowing that nothing can destroy our relationship with this all-important source of healing and strength while we honestly explore our deepest selves.

The eleventh step guides us to ask only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out. Since we have turned our will and lives over to the care of this Higher Power, it makes sense for us to spend our prayer time giving God instructions. Does this mean we are never to discuss our needs and problems in prayer, never express our feelings, fears, our desires? We will need to bring into our prayers all the things that concern us.

As we seek to recover with God’s help, neither of those options will work any longer. So we go ahead and express our anger, but we keep on talking to God. The anger passes, answers come, and we find that we have drawn closer to our Higher Power through this experience.

Many of us have found that the practice of writing down our angry feelings or other concerns in letters to God is great help. As we write, we clarify issues, we express our feelings honestly, and we communicate with Higher Power in a way that is very tangible to us. The key is that we’ve stopped worrying, taken an action, and turned our problems over to our Higher Power. Our energies are no longer bound up in our worries and resentments, and we are free to move forward again, to do God’s will.

Meditation is our way of quieting our minds so we can be better acquainted with this Higher Power of ours. Meditation is an action which gives us much needed practice in the art of sitting still and opening our hearts to receive spiritual nourishment. Eating compulsively was our chief means of relaxation. Meditation offers us a way to stop running and to relax without eating.

When meditating, we consciously choose to focus our minds on something other than our everyday desires and concerns. Our purpose in meditating is Simple: we seek to relax and receive spiritual nourishment by experiencing more fully our connections with our true unfragmented selves and with our Higher Power.

Step eleven implies that through our practice of prayer and meditation we will come to know God’s will for us.

OA’s who have made prayer and meditation a regular part of their lives have found a resource for healing and strength which cannot fail. Sponsors, OA friends, meetings, and literature are wonderful sources of help for us. Our Higher Power is the only source of help that is always available to us, always strong enough to lift us up and set our feet on the path of life. Prayer and meditation are our links to this unfailing source. Through prayer and meditation we align ourselves with a higher spiritual Power which gives us everything we need to live to our fullest potential.

NOW YOUR PART:

QUESTIONS FOR STEP ELEVEN

How addiction a hiding place from life from me? Compare this with having God as a hiding place.

What is difficult about trusting God with my requests?

What keeps me from accepting God’s forgiveness?

Is my life changing daily? Am I noticing when I am resentful, selfish, dishonest, or afraid today? Identify ways that I am changing:

What am I hiding in my heart--secrets of old behaviors and issues, or God’s Word?

Why is it hard to “trust in the Lord”?

When I think I am hearing God’s will whose power do I act on? Am I tempted to do God’s will in my own power?

What have I learned from Step Eleven?






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Step One
Step Two
Step Three
Step Four
Step Five
Step Six
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Step Eight
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Step Ten
Step Eleven


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