Step 11 of Alcoholics Anonymous states the following:
“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.”
Delving into spirituality can be enjoyable and insightful. By now, you should have a strong frame of reference established through the previous ten steps. Your recovery has helped you to remain abstinent one day at a time, and you have been able to expand your capacity for new knowledge about yourself, your loved ones, and the world around you.
Open-mindedness and the concept of a “higher power” provide every single person a limitless variety of spiritual understandings and behaviors. During recovery, we learn that spirituality is continually evolving and changing, just as we are. New circumstances and people all have an impact on us, and thus, our spirituality needs progress accordingly.
The objective for Step 11 is identifying ways in which to promote conscious communication and connection with God as we understand him. You should already have an awareness of a higher power acting in your life, which began in step 2. Working on step 3, you learned how to trust that higher power for direction. Throughout the process of working the steps thus far, you were enhancing your relationship with your higher power.
This part of the recovery journey is going to be different for each person, and there is no right or wrong higher power. For many, becoming sober may entail letting go of resentments that they have held against religious or spiritual institutions. For some, the religion they experienced in childhood did not extend beyond a community connection or a forced engagement. However, now it can work as part of a voluntary, personal, and unique spiritual path.
While working through this step, we come to understand that reaching out to God is also known as prayer and meditation. These actions are among the most effective means to develop an intense connection to our higher power.
The Spiritual Pathway
Determining our spiritual path means adopting and rejecting other spiritual practices. AA does not have an established or explicitly approved spiritual track. Instead, AA offers a foundation of related principles and uses a concept referred to as “God” or a “higher power” for members to utilize as a pathway out of addiction.
To be clear, a fundamental aspect of working through step 11 is not to allow your spiritual path to distract you and take you away from the fellowship of AA. You still need AA to cope with your addiction and hold you accountable.
Your spiritual path should increase the quality of our recovery, but nothing is a substitution for AA meetings and fellowship. Using the 11th step, we are adding to the variety of elements that make up long-term sobriety.
Engaging in Prayer and Meditation
AA is essentially a simple program for complicated people. Many members believe that prayer is communicating with God, and meditation is welcoming God’s response. This understanding captures the essence of prayer and meditation very well.
It’s also a fantastic reminder that cultivating conscious communication means strengthening your relationship with God. To foster any kind of relationship, you must engage in conversation with your higher power and not merely a one direction monologue.
Although prayer is communicating with a higher power, it doesn’t necessarily need to be in the form of actual speech. Thinking a prayer or writing it may work. The solution is to use a method of prayer that feels appropriate for you.
Those who have attended AA meetings have already experienced prayer. This is true, even if the only prayers being said are those at AA meetings, as members ask a higher power to help keep them sober for one more day. These are actions that are healthy, beneficial, and may one day be essential to maintain recovery.
While actively engaging in step 11, you should start to realize there are more occasions in which you feel the presence of a higher power and the majestic ways that it works in your life. The presence of a caring God can be encountered through the unconditional support of a sponsor and other AA members.
It can also be experienced as the feeling of being a vital part of the AA program during the turmoil of challenging times. That attachment to a higher power and the aim of wishing to understand God’s will often appear while having conversations with other members of AA.
So, how does one identify what God’s will is for him or her? It’s probably easier to recognize what is not God’s will. It’s an excellent starting point to ascertain that it is definitely not God’s will for us to relapse and return to active addiction. As such, it is also not God’s will for us to engage in unhealthy thoughts and behaviors that can lead to relapse and further suffering.
By using all of the information that you have obtained from your past work on the steps, you must circumvent dysfunctional patterns of being and doing. You should now put your knowledge and faith into action.
Many AA members discover that regular prayer and meditation helps them concentrate on a higher power instead of on themself, which results in relief and liberation. Because they are no longer feeling as much of an urgency to control every little aspect in their lives, this can lead to greater fulfillment and success.
This state of being is what is referred to as a spiritual awakening. As part of this, you will begin to mesh the three elements of recovery, which includes the mind, body, and spirit. These three elements come together to make up who you are and how you interact with the world.
True healing must involve all of these personal elements. The concept of a three-legged stool is often used in recovery—it cannot stand and be stable unless all three legs are strong. So, you must work on and maintain them all equally.
With faith, resolve, and your inner strength wholly realized, active addiction no longer feels as if it was a waste of life. You will see that your adverse experiences can serve a greater purpose. Moreover, you will be prepared to convey this message to alcoholics and addicts who are still suffering.
Getting Help for Addiction
Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship that has helped countless individuals recover from alcoholism through accountability and understanding from others. However, research has shown that recovery outcomes are best when people also receive comprehensive treatment that includes evidence-based services, such as psychotherapy and counseling.
Recovery By The Sea is a specialized addiction treatment facility that offers comprehensive programs in both partial hospitalization and outpatient formats. We customize our treatment plans to meet each client’s unique needs and goals. Our caring staff is committed to ensuring that every client receives the most effective treatment available.
Contact us today if you are ready to reclaim your life from addiction and foster the healthy life you deserve—we can help!
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