Step 11

From the Foreword of the 12 & 12:  “A.A.’s Twelve Steps are a group of principles, spiritual in their nature, which, if practiced as a way of life, can expel the obsession to drink and enable the sufferer to become happily and usefully whole.”

“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.”

The One Thing I Need To Know About Step 11:
Talking & Listening to God

Principle
of this Step:

AWARENESS

Reading Assignment:
BB: Pgs. 85-88 / 12&12:  Pgs. 96-105
(Read Online)

Literature Reference:  “Prayer and meditation are our principle means of conscious contact with God” (12 & 12, Page 96, Step 11)

What Can I Surrender in this Step? My belief that meditation is hard and only for those more spiritual than myself.

STEP SUMMARY

It was suggested in Step 10 that we continue to look at ourselves and our missteps in the maintenance of our spiritual condition, all of this in an effort to become more alert to the causes and conditions that continue to cause our failure on any given day. “After making our review, we ask God’s forgiveness and inquire what corrective measure can be taken.” (Big Book, Page 86, Into Action)

This “ask” is done through prayer, and the response to our “inquiry” comes to us in meditation. It’s been said that the simple definition of prayer is “talking to God” and meditation is “listening to God.” At days end, we look at where we’ve been resentful, selfish, dishonest or afraid. We determine if we owe an apology to someone and make sure that it is not just kept to ourselves. We’ve determined if we were kind and loving toward all, or if we were thinking of ourselves most of the time instead of thinking how we could be helpful to others. We take any discrepancies in our daily spiritual work to God and ask that we be forgiven for them. Then we get quiet, get still and listen for God’s direction for us on what our corrective measures should be.

Now about meditation: Many a member of A.A. believe that God is found in the stillness – in the quiet. It’s hard for us to be able to hear God’s direction for us if our minds are still running 90 miles an hour. Quietening the noise that lives between our left ear and our right ear is part of the work we do to begin to listen (in meditation) for our corrective measures. Meditation has a hard time of it for many of us. But it’s really quite simple. JUST GET STILL! We can do that anywhere. It doesn’t have to be on a mountain top with our legs crossed and our fingers in the “OHM” position. It doesn’t have to be with candles burning, soft music playing and silence all around us. It CAN be those things, but it doesn’t have to be. If perfectly aligned, it could be sitting on the NYC subway or even in the middle of Times Square. All it takes to meditate is the willingness to get still, get quiet (wherever you are) and listen.

For many, it comes in the form of a “gut instinct,” that deep inside knowing. Many an alcoholic has been led astray by following their heart and head, but have found great release when following their gut. Deep inside we know the direction God wants us to go – and when we listen to that direction – great events will come to pass for us.

MYTHS ABOUT THIS STEP

There is a certain way to meditate. Not so. People all over the world have found that meditation is quite simple and gets easier with time when practiced in the way that works for them.

Taking a step displays a willingness to write inventory and allow it to surrender something within us. Write inventory on your most serious shortcomings around the practical application of this step in your life today (“How am I applying the principle found in this Step to every moment of my life?”).

In your Personal Relationships:

Describe in detail what your prayer and meditation practice looks like today and how you have applied the action of it in this area of your life.

At Work:

Describe in detail what your prayer and meditation practice looks like today and how you have applied the action of it in this area of your life.

With God and A.A.:

Describe in detail what your prayer and meditation practice looks like today and how you have applied the action of it in this area of your life.

STEP CHECKLIST

  1. Have you gone to God and asked for forgiveness of your wrongs done?
  2. Have you gone to God and asked to be made me a channel of peace:
    1. That where there is hatred, you may bring love?
    2. That where there is wrong, you may bring the spirit of forgiveness?
    3. That where there is discord, you may bring harmony?
    4. That where there is error, you may bring truth?
    5. That where there is doubt, you may bring faith?
    6. That where there is despair, you may bring hope?
    7. That where there are shadows, you may bring light?
    8. That where there is sadness, you may bring joy?
    9. To comfort others rather than to be comforted yourself?
    10. To understand rather than to be understood?
    11. To love rather than to be loved?
  3. Do you understand that it is by self-forgetting that you find?
  4. Do you understand that it is by forgiving that you are forgiven?
  5. Do you understand that it is by dying that you can awaken?
  6. After asking for God’s direction, have you gotten quiet, still and readied yourself to listen to God’s direction?

(If you can answer yes to these questions, you’ve likely taken this Step)

“This Step Is About Well-Care”