ELEVENTH STEP GUIDE
“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.”
Step Ten, the first of the
maintenance steps, suggests taking a daily personal inventory and when we are wrong, promptly admitting it; helps us to develop
the habit of accurate self-appraisal; and makes us aware of the necessity of admitting our wrongs (first to ourselves and
then to others when the admission would be helpful). Also, we are starting to
develop self-restraint and build character by spotting, admitting and correcting our acquired defects of character. Step Ten was the beginning of a lifetime practice centered in the here and now.
Step Eleven is the second
maintenance step. It is also a “now” step. Previously, in Steps One through Three, we found that: 1)
our lives have been, are now, and will remain unmanageable by us alone, 2) God can restore us to sanity if we rightly relate
ourselves to Him, and 3) we made a decision to daily turn our lives and our will over to His care. Since we alcoholics/addicts are undisciplined in almost all areas of our lives, we now must use prayer
and meditation as the principal means of maintaining a conscious contact with God.
The first element of Step
Eleven concerns itself with prayer and meditation as the principal means of improving our conscious contact with God. Meditation is the process that allows us to become closer to God and gain a deeper
and deeper awareness of His presence within. In the beginning, we use the prayer
found on page 99 of the 12 x 12:
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 than one finds. It is by forgiving that one is forgiven. It is by dying that
one awakens to Eternal Life. Amen.”
Rereading this prayer several
times very slowly, we savor every word and take in the deep meaning of each phrase.
We relax and breathe deeply of the spiritual atmosphere with which the grace of this prayer surrounds us. For example, being a channel—asking for the grace to bring love, forgiveness, etc. to others; seeking
to give comfort, understanding and love rather than receiving it; and trying to self-forget.
Meditation is something that should always be further developed. The object
of meditation is to improve our conscious contact with God, His grace, wisdom, and love.
Prayer is the raising of
the heart and mind to God and is a form of meditation. Using meditation to open
our channel, we ask for those right things of which we and others are
in the greatest need. We may end the meditation period with a prayer in which we ask especially for freedom
from self-will. We never pray for our own selfish ends. In the morning, we ask God to direct our thinking so that it may be divorced from self-pity, dishonest
or self-seeking motives. Throughout the day, we pause and ask for the right thought
or action. At night, we constructively review the day and ask God’s forgiveness
and guidance. Remember, we are trying, to the best of our willingness, to improve
our conscious contact with God through prayer and meditation.
The second element of Step
Eleven suggests that we pray only for the knowledge of what His will is for us. Our
immediate temptation will be to ask God for specific solutions to specific problems.
However, this is asking God to do it our way. Since our purpose is to
conform our will to His, we should ask only for guidance to follow His will and leave our will out. If we do make specific requests, it would be well to add, “…if it be thy will”. In the beginning of this practice of asking for knowledge of His will for us, we must
be aware that often the thoughts that seem to come from God are not answers at all, but only well-intentioned unconscious
rationalizations. Even here, the thinking mind is still at work to create havoc
in our lives. Remember, we receive guidance for our lives to just about the extent
that we stop making demands upon God to give it to us on order and on our terms.
The final portion of Step
Eleven suggests that, after we have asked for knowledge of His will for us, we then ask for the power to carry it out. To start, we must exercise our will-power and, after we have done the footwork, He
will supply us with the additional power to carry out His will.
The entire Twelve Step Program
is spiritual. Step eleven is where we start to practice the methods that will
allow us, if we put forth enough effort (persistently, on a daily basis and over a long enough period of time) to gain a deeper
and deeper awareness of God within. This step cannot be bypassed if we are sincerely
seeking to gain a spiritual awakening. We will be comforted and granted glimpses
of the kingdom within so long as we try, however falteringly, to find and do the will of God.
The purpose of writing the
eleventh step is to help us formulate our prayer and meditation techniques so that we can improve our conscious contact with
God. In doing this, we learn to pray only for knowledge of His will and the power
to carry that out.
The following questions are
only guides to help you to find which meditative techniques you are comfortable with.
You are seeking to improve your conscious contact with God and find the kingdom within.
Why is it necessary to improve your conscious contact with God?
What are the principal means of improving your conscious contact with God?
What does the quote, “There is a direct linkage among constructive self-examination, meditation,
and prayer” mean to you?
What is the object of meditation and prayer?
What does the eleventh step prayer mean to you?
Should you take specific requests to God and expect results? What, if any are the hazards involved?
Do you give God orders as to what you think His will should be for other people? Give examples.
Do you attempt to get God to do your will? Give
Have you discovered that you do receive guidance in your life to just about the extent that you stop making
demands upon God? Explain.
10. What are some of the rewards of meditation and prayer?
11. What should you ask God for in your prayers?
12. Is your prayer and meditation practiced throughout the day? How and why?
13. Do you thank God each night for everything, both good and bad? Why?
14. What technique of meditation and prayer do you use to improve your conscious contact with God?
15. Do you have a strong desire to become one with God? Explain.
16. Why is Step Eleven so important to your recovery process?
17. How are you going to live Step Eleven?
18. Has this program changed your life? In what ways?
19. Describe your view of yourself at this point.