Step 11: “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.”
This month we are focusing on Step 11 of A.A. All along this journey, we have been heading toward the program’s ultimate purpose—to experience a spiritual awakening. Step 11 follows several previous steps that centered on identifying our weaknesses, committing to changing these shortcomings, and making amends for any harm done.
Step 11 takes us deeper into the spiritual aspects of recovery. By using the tools of prayer and meditation, we grow closer to our Higher Power. However, not everyone is initially on board with the idea of devoting any real time or effort to these activities. Follow along as we work through Step 11 and learn just how important it is to reach for a closer connection with your Higher Power.
Breaking down Step 11 of Alcoholics Anonymous
Seeking God’s will for our lives can seem like an arbitrary act with no real concrete evidence of any tangible results. We are results-oriented people, after all — do this and you get that. However, learning how to meditate and spending time in prayer aren’t about receiving instant gratification.
These spiritual exercises are one of the ways we develop an ever-deepening relationship with our Higher Power. Prayer and meditation aren’t meant to be done casually or whenever we face a particular challenge. It should become a regular part of our daily life. Denying ourselves the benefits of prayer and meditation is like cutting off an essential source of recovery support. Just as our bodies need food and water to survive, our souls need nourishment, too.
Meditation is an ancient Eastern practice that allows us to achieve a clear and peaceful state of mind, leaving us feeling calm and centered. Start by finding a quiet spot where you can be alone, and select a focal point or mantra to direct your attention towards. As you experience wandering thoughts, practice redirecting your mind back toward the focal point. Start with a short five-minute session, and slowly build up to 30-minute meditation sessions.
Prayer is a little different, as your thoughts are directed beyond a physical focal point or mantra and toward the divine. Prayer is a way to communicate with your Higher Power where you can pour your heart out and ask for guidance. While in prayer, you’ll have a direct route to a source of power and strength to assist you in recovery. Over time, as you practice praying, you will come to see your Higher Power as an invaluable companion accompanying you along your recovery journey.
Moving toward a spiritual awakening through 12-step programs
The concept of a Higher Power was introduced to us early on in the 12 Step Program. Step 2 prompted us to accept the idea that there was a Higher Power, and Step 3 asked us to be willing to turn our lives over to it. Now, as we tackle Step 11 and look ahead to Step 12, we can see how these will complete the spiritual package.
When you reflect on the 12 Step Program, and how it unfolds, it becomes clear that it was perfectly designed. In progressing through the successive benchmarks, we are able to reform our lives while under the care of our High Power — one step at a time.
Ashley Addiction Treatment, formerly Father Martin’s Ashley, is a nationally recognized nonprofit leader in integrated, evidence-based treatment for substance use disorders and is accredited by The Joint Commission. We offer holistic care that encompasses the mind, body and spirit through inpatient and outpatient treatment, and provide drug detox, relapse prevention plans, family wellness programs and a variety of other services tailored to each patient’s unique needs. Our driving principle – “everything for recovery” – reinforces our mission to transform and save lives through the science of medicine, the art of therapy and the compassion of spirituality, and is complemented by our philosophy of healing with respect and dignity. For information about our comprehensive programs, please call (866) 313-6307.