Step 11 simplified
We love dissecting sentences in the big book of Alcoholics Anonymous. We are fans of each word as it is laid out purposefully. We embrace the principles and exercise the applications. We honor the order and shape our lives accordingly. Why? Because it has proven successful in long-term sobriety.
This post focuses on the 11th step of the AA recovery program:
“Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out.”
Before we get down to the nitty, we remind those new to 12-step recovery that “God” is used interchangeably with any power one feels is greater than themselves. Though it could be the God of the Bible, you are not required to attach to any particular deity. Also, please don't confuse religion and spirituality; please don't lose the opportunity to heal basis your past. We beg you to be open enough and act “as if” until you get the feel.
The first thing that jumps out is that this is an action step. To seek is to act.
You don't get stronger sitting on a couch looking at a brochure for gym equipment; You can't learn to swim if you don't get in the pool. And you can't tap into the supernatural power if you don't get yourself there mentally.
The author of the step spells out precisely the action that needs to be taken. Our effort is to seek our higher power through a time of communion ( closeness, unity, relationship, intimacy). It's not asking a lot. Find time and a place void of distraction to connect with the master of the universe - the One we are counting on to keep our drinking problem at bay.
We are instructed to “pray only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out.”. That's it; “higher power, please provide me the knowledge of your will for me and give me the power to carry that will out.” You see, it doesn't have to be complicated, impressive, or churchy. The instructions are to ask the supernatural to reveal their purpose for our lives, for discernment, and the grit to carry that purpose out.
In the above action, we said our peace. We did our thing as instructed. The step now asks us to be quiet and listen for that elusive “will” to be revealed. We have found that this can be accomplished in several ways. The simplest is to sit quietly following prayer and let the subconscious produce direction. Then, if we see the distractive noises too great, we turn to “guided meditation,” abundantly available online, which does the trick.
We have also found that listening to spiritual messages, that reading spiritual literature and leaning into music accomplishes the connectivity we seek.
It’s all about the connection.
The result we are looking for is that connection. The conscience contact with a higher power; it's a game changer in the world of 12-step recovery.
This whole thing could scare many away; our heart breaks at that notion.
We came from a place of distorted views of religion to this place of peaceful spirituality, and our hope is that others will follow.
Thoughts and ideas for this blog post were taken and built upon from a bonus drop sober.coffee podcast titled #E12 Step 11 - Sought Through Prayer & Meditation…The podcast dropped on 06/23/2021. Click here to hear the podcast.
Alcoholics Anonymous and AA are registered trademarks of Alcoholics World Service. Inc. References to AA, the 12 steps, and 12 traditions does not mean that AA has reviewed or approved the contents of this publication nor that AA agrees with the views expressed herein. This publication is intended to support personal growth and should not be considered a substitute for healthcare professionals' advice. The author’s advice and viewpoints are their own