"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." — Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) Step 11
Note: In this blog post, we reference Step 11 as outlined in the Big Book of AA interchangeably with Step 11 as outlined in the Narcotics Anonymous (NA) Basic Text.
Communication is important for fostering any relationship we seek to deepen. The same goes for our relationship with our higher power. Step 11 is all about building upon and strengthening the relationship that we’ve been growing in the previous steps.
Before we discuss how to deepen this relationship with our higher power, it’s important to reiterate—as discussed in our blog posts about Step Two and Step Three—that we have the freedom to choose a higher power that resonates with us. Some may choose to call their higher power “God.” Others might choose the12-Step fellowship or even nature as a higher power. As long as we can admit that we aren’t the highest power in the universe (therefore, there must be a power greater than us), we can work toward an understanding and strengthening of that relationship.
In Step 11, we strive to “keep in touch” with our higher power all throughout the day. We begin the day by asking our higher power for help in directing our thoughts away from self-pity, dishonesty and self-seeking motives. We check in when feeling uncertain about how to proceed with our day. After asking our higher power for “an intuitive thought or decision,” the AA Big Book says, “We relax and take it easy. We don’t struggle. We are often surprised how the right answers come after we’ve tried this for awhile.” We frequently call to mind that we aren’t in charge of the universe.
Tips for Working Step 11
- Avoid asking your higher power for specific outcomes (remember, this step is about letting go of ego and seeking an understanding of our higher power’s will).
- Set aside specific times for prayer/meditation to increase the likelihood of engaging consistently.
- Journal about the “conversations” that result from your prayer/meditation with a higher power.
- Ask a spouse or loved one to join you in daily prayer/meditation.
- Utilize a daily meditation book (or use the daily reflection on the AA website).
- Reflect on the following questions:
- What was the outcome of past experiences when I tried to align my will with that of my higher power?
- What was the outcome of past circumstances when I sought to follow my own will instead of that of my higher power?
- What barriers have I experienced to practicing prayer/meditation?
- How has my understanding of my higher power changed since beginning the 12-Step program?
After working the previous steps, if you find yourself still skeptical about the power of prayer and meditation, why not give it a try in earnest? What do you really have to lose?
If you’re in need of addiction treatment, First Step Recovery can help. Contact us today at 330.369.8022!