Step 11 of Alcoholics Anonymous reads as 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 an enjoyable and insightful experience. By now, you should have a robust frame of reference ascertained by working through the previous steps. Your recovery has helped you to stay abstinent one day at a time, and you have been able to expand your ability to obtain new knowledge about yourself, loved ones, and the external world.
Open-mindedness and the notion of a “higher power” offer every person a limitless variety of spiritual understandings. During recovery, we learn that spirituality is ever-evolving and changing, just as we are. New situations and people all affect us, and therefore, our spirituality needs to progress in accordance.
The objective for step 11 is to identify ways to promote conscious communication and connection with God as we understand him. You should already recognize a higher power acting in your life, which began in step 2. Working through step 3, you learned how to trust that higher power for guidance. Throughout the process of working the ten steps so far, you enhanced your relationship with your higher power.
This part of the recovery journey will be different for each individual, and there is no right or wrong higher power. For many, becoming abstinent may entail letting go of resentments that they have held against religious or spiritual entities. For many, the religion they experienced as a child did not extend beyond a community connection or forced engagement. However, now it can function as an integral part of a voluntary, unique, and deeply personal spiritual journey.
While we are working through this step, we begin to recognize that reaching out to God or our higher power is also known as prayer and meditation. These actions are among the most effective methods to develop an intense connection to Him as we know Him.
The Spiritual Path
Determining our spiritual pathway means embracing and rejecting other spiritual practices. While Alcoholics Anonymous does not have an established or explicitly approved spiritual track, it does offer a foundation of interrelated principles and uses a concept known as “God” or a “higher power” for AA fellows to use as an avenue out of addiction.
To be clear, a vital element of working through step 11 is not to permit your spiritual path to distract you and lead you away from the AA organization. You still need AA to deal with your addiction and hold yourself accountable.
Your spiritual journey should increase the quality of recovery, but nothing is a complete substitute for AA meetings. Using the 11th step, we simply add more tools to the diversity of elements that make up indefinite sobriety.
Engaging in Prayer or Meditation
AA is, in essence, a relatively simplistic program for complicated people. Many participants believe that prayer is communicating with God, and meditation is welcoming God’s response. This thought process conceptualizes the essence of prayer and meditation quite well.
It’s also a terrific reminder that cultivating conscious communication means strengthening your relationship with God. To foster any relationship, you must engage in conversation with your higher power and not merely a one-direction monologue.
Although prayer is communication with a higher power, it doesn’t necessarily need to be in the form of actual speech. Thinking of a prayer or writing it down may work. The answer is to use a means of prayer that feels suitable for you.
Persons who have attended AA meetings have already experienced engagement in prayer. This is true, even if the prayers being said are during AA meetings, as members ask God or a higher power to help them stay abstinent for one more day. These are actions that are beneficial, healthy, and may one day be vital to sustaining long-term recovery.
While actively engaging in step 11, you will probably notice there are more occasions when you feel the presence of a God or a higher power and the profound ways it works in your life. The presence of a compassionate God can be experienced through the unconditional love and support of an AA sponsor and other members.
It can also be encountered as the feeling of being an essential part of the AA program during the turmoil of challenging and stressful times. That attachment and devotion to a higher power and the aim of seeking to understand God’s will often occur while speaking with other AA members.
So, how does a person identify what God’s will is for them? It’s probably easier to determine what is not God’s will. It’s an ideal starting point to understand that it is not God’s will for us to return to active addiction. It is also not God’s will for us to re-engage in harmful thoughts and behaviors that can lead to relapse and additional suffering for ourselves and loved ones.
Using all of the information you have obtained from past work on the 12 steps, you must avoid dysfunctional patterns of existing and doing. You should now be able to put your knowledge, hope, and faith into action.
Many AA fellows discover that regular prayer and meditation help them focus on a higher power instead of on themselves, which results in respite and liberation. Because they are no longer as intense of an urgency to control every aspect of their lives, this can result in more fulfillment and success in life.
This state of being is what is known as a spiritual awakening. As part of this, you will start to mesh the three elements of recovery, which consist of the mind, body, and spirit. These three components come together to encompass who you are as a person as well as a spiritual being and how you interact with the world around you.
True healing must involve all of these highly personal elements. The three-legged stool concept is commonly used in addiction recovery—it cannot stand and be stable unless all three legs are sturdy. So, you must continue to work on and maintain them all equally.
With faith, resolve, and inner strength wholly realized, active addiction will no longer feel as if it was a complete waste of time and life. You will see that your negative experiences can serve a higher purpose. You will be prepared to communicate this message to other recovering alcoholics and addicts who continue to suffer.
Getting Help for Alcoholism
AA is a fellowship that has helped an incalculable number of people recover from alcohol addiction using accountability and understanding from others. However, studies have shown that recovery outcomes have the best results when people also receive comprehensive treatment that includes various evidence-based services, such as psychotherapy, counseling, group therapy, and aftercare planning for long-term treatment.
Just Believe Detox and Just Believe Recovery are specialized addiction treatment facilities that offer comprehensive programs in partial hospitalization and residential formats. We customize our treatment programs to meet each person’s unique needs and goals. Our caring staff is dedicating to ensuring that every individual we treat receives the most effective treatment available.