26 Nov Step 11
This blog post was written by guest blogger, April Wright, MA, MFTI. April is a registered Marriage and Family Therapist Intern #69624 under supervision of Kathryn Tull, M.A., LMFT #44809. April holds an active and current registration with the California Board of Behavioral Sciences. April is a member of CAMFT – a professional network designed to educate, advocate and enrich its members. If you have any questions or you would like to discuss how to enhance your spiritual connection and need support in your sober process, please contact April for a free 15-minute consultation.
Please note that the opinions presented in the article are that of the author and not necessarily the opinions of RHN. RHN chooses to publish articles and share individual sites to evoke discussion and show all options, ideas and beliefs.
Step 11 – Through prayer and meditation I seek to improve my conscious contact with God as I understand God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for my life and the power to carry that out.
The principal of the eleventh step of Alcoholics Anonymous is prayer and meditation. Taking a few minutes a day breaking away from everyday frustrations, distractions, and multitasking’s for self-examination can change your life. Spending just a little time each day consciously connecting with your higher power can directly influence your thoughts, attitudes, emotions, and behaviors.
For most people, serenity is far off in the distance due to those day after day interruptions, obligations, and disturbances that cause chaos and clutter. Making prayer and meditation a daily routine is your path to new hope leading to a more serene life.
Whenever you are feeling stuck, confused, need help, or don’t know what to do next, take a few minutes to talk to your higher power. Ask for guidance and help. At first, it may feel awkward talking to a force you can’t see or hear. Stay with the uncertainty and within a short period of time you will see results.
There are many books, articles, and literature on how to pray and meditate. Most religions have formal guidelines for prayer. Religious guiding principles include confession of wrongdoings, asking for forgiveness, expressing gratitude, asking for guidance, asking for blessings on family, friends, and loved ones or trying to love.
Choose your own religious ritual or spiritual pathway that works best for your lifestyle and beliefs. Select a regular routine that will enable you to continue and make it a habit. Pray in nature, taking a walk, in the shower, or on your knees by your bed. Meditate in a group. Bow your head, clasp your hands, or close your eyes. Or sit alone, quietly and just think.
Talk out loud or write entries in a journal dedicated to your higher power. Dictate a long prayer in the morning, night, or recite short messages throughout the day. Whatever the method, you have the autonomy to choose your own process for prayer.
Whatever your course is for prayer and meditation ensure it is one you can do consistently. During this time for yourself, you can address self-care, including how to nurture inner peace, when to reach out to others, and how to find a way to embrace a perplexing task and really own it as yours. You can reflect upon ways to carry through on good intentions, where to make time for fun, and to be present for your feelings.
Prayer and meditation is a time to be open and receptive to whatever comes up. Honor the process by being with and allowing your feelings to move within and through you at their own pace and timeframe. Stay with the practice trying not to change, distract, distort, or numb what is happening within.
Respect what is happening inside by mindfully acknowledging your thoughts, emotions, and perspectives. It may be a good time to reach out to a trusted friend, your therapist, or your sponsor for validation. Eventually you will get to a place of acceptance, understanding, and a renewed sense of relief and peace.
With an inner sense of tranquility, the hurt, anger, and helplessness is diminished. When the walls of fury are dropped, the gates are open to a pathway for love. You are more receptive and able to connect to those you love or trying to love. Your connections are expanded because you set free your loving presence to soar.
Cultivating a deeper prayer life provides new opportunities for reflection, affirmation, and lasting change in your relationship to yourself and others. The eleventh step of Alcohol Anonymous is one that is encouraged to practice every day. With diligence and consistency, a spiritual consciousness awakens a fuller, robust life with rich, meaningful relationships.
Here is a prayer to get you started. It is a recovery prayer based on Alcoholics Anonymous, the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous:
“Thank you for keeping me straight yesterday. Please help me stay straight today. For the next twenty-four hours, I pray for knowledge of your will for me only and the power to carry that through. I pray that you might free my thinking of self-will, self-seeking, and wrong motives. I pray that in times of doubt and indecision, you might send your inspiration and guidance. I pray that you may send me the right thought, word, or action, and that you show me what my next step should be.”