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“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.”
In step 11, you discover the plan of your higher power. You also seek to better understand it and carry it out.
AA is a spiritual organization that encourages participants to find their higher purpose. Whether this is through their relationship with God, another higher power, or AA itself, it is up to the individual participant.
All people with a desire to remain sober are welcomed and encouraged to participate. It doesn’t matter if they practice a particular religion, are inactive in religion, or are agnostic or atheist.
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“Lord, make me a channel of thy peace--that where there is hatred, I may bring love--that where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness--that where there is discord, I may bring harmony--that where there is error, I may bring truth--that where there is doubt, I may bring faith--that where there is despair, I may bring hope--that where there are shadows, I may bring light--that where there is sadness, I may bring joy.
Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort than to be comforted--to understand, than to be understood--to love, than to be loved. For it is by self-forgetting that one finds. It is by forgiving that one is forgiven. It is by dying that one awakens to eternal life. Amen”
Prayer, meditation, and quiet reflection are all part of step 11. Instead of seeking peace or solace in alcohol or other substances, you turn to AA or your higher power.
Many AA participants have achieved some degree of spirituality by the time they reach this step. However, if this is not the case, step 11 is when you begin to gain a true understanding of your higher power through prayer and meditation. Some describe it as a spiritual awakening.
The approach to prayer and meditation varies from person to person, but the goal is always the same: to connect with a higher power.
Through participation in AA meetings, you learn that a power greater than yourself exists and is at work. You learn that nothing happens by mistake and that there is a plan for your life.
Prayer and meditation help you raise the consciousness of your higher power and continue on your recovery journey.
Although these practices might seem foreign or impossible to those who do not believe in or are unsure of their belief in God, it is possible to be still, quiet, and reflective. Listen to your thoughts, seek the right answers throughout the day, and ask for guidance when times are challenging. That guidance can come from an inner voice or something outside yourself.
Regardless of whether you approach step 11 as asking God for guidance each day or by self-reflecting, the result is almost always the same.
Meditation practitioners say to practice, they need:
People who pray believe the same is needed. Prayer and meditation help you focus your attention on a given task, whether that’s being open to receiving a message or relaxing. If you struggle with the process of meditation or prayer, you can use audio or video recordings to help you focus.
Prayer and meditation help minimize issues that lead to depression, anxiety, and other triggers that in the past, triggered a desire to drink.
Knowing how to pray or meditate, and implementing these practices into everyday life, can vary from person to person. For some, the struggle is understanding how to pray or meditate. For others, it’s making these practices a part of their recovery.
If you’re trying to make meditation a part of your daily life, try the following:
AA members who do not have a habit of meditating or praying might find the following tips for working step 11 helpful:
If you are praying or meditating for the first time, try the following:
Questions to ask during step 11 include:
Step 11 is important in your addiction treatment and recovery from substance abuse because it provides such a significant change in how you view yourself and the world.
You are experiencing deep personal change and connecting with something that did not have an active role in your life when you weren’t sober.
If you struggle with step 11, including the concept of a higher power or any aspect of your spiritual practice, your sponsor or your fellow AA participants can help.
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