In the 11th step of AA, we seek to improve our conscious contact with our higher power through prayer and meditation. This is important for all 12-step practitioners, as we trust and believe that our relationship with God, or our higher power, will give us a conscious understanding of His / Her / Its will for us. Working a meditative practice into each day will help create a peaceful and solid basis for a more fulfilling and positive way of life. It can also help us to move closer toward the ultimate goal of serenity, stability, and emotional balance.
The Question of God is Yours to Answer
Spirituality is an intensely personal concept. What embodies spirituality to one person is meaningless to another. In step two and step three of AA, you are expected to arrive at a vision of what your own brand of spirituality looks like. It is this personal “higher power” that you will be seeking a closer connection with in the 11th step of AA.
This step has a negative connotation for some, as not everybody is a religious or spiritual individual. Living an enlightened life, however, does not depend on religion. Your higher power is whatever gives you hope, strength and peace. It is anything that supports your humanity and connects you with those things that help us to grow as a person, in strength, wisdom and the ongoing enjoyment of life.
In working the previous steps, we have admitted to ourselves, to others and to our higher selves that we are ready to change. AA step 11 asks us to open ourselves up to that change each and every day.
How to Work the 11th Step
Whether you pray, meditate, or practice some form of mindful contemplation, incorporating this into your daily routine is the key to ongoing success. We generally set aside some time in the morning to complete this meditation, as it helps to clear negative energy and open our minds to accepting the new ideas, experiences and concepts that the day may bring. Though meditations can take place at any time of the day, mornings are ideal, as it is a time before the ego takes over and your mind becomes entrenched in the day’s events.
A quiet place is essential. Soft, meditative music is optional, but some find it helps. Sit in a comfortable position, but not in such a way that you can fall asleep. Breathe deeply, and notice your breath: just breathing in, just breathing out. Notice the cool air as you inhale, and that it’s warmer as you exhale. Once you are feeling relaxed, see what comes up in your mind. If it is a negative thought, consciously release it, exhaling as you do. Once you have reached a state of relaxation, spend as much time as you need to, finding the peace and clarity that will provide inspiration for the day. Once you have established a feeling of peace and serenity, slowly rise and carry that feeling into the rest of your day.
Some may have trouble turning off the voices in their head. In these cases, it may be a good idea to spend this time engaged in a conscious action, such as writing. Writing your daily meditation is as easy as putting pen to paper. The words, the thoughts that flow do not matter. It’s about freeing your mind from clutter, and allowing new ideas to come. Sometimes, you will begin the process feeling like you have nothing to say. But force yourself to write something. You will find that whether you write nonsense or your deepest thoughts, you will come away feeling refreshed, and often surprised at what came up.
For those whose higher power is rooted in religion, you may be comfortable with prayer in a more conventional sense. Pray for guidance and to release the self-will you have perpetuated in your life until now. It is not important that you pray to a specific god or deity. It is only important that you stay mindful of the goal, which is to release your defects of character and make room for love, compassion, and empathy. After all, these are the qualities that we desire in others when they are relating to us. We should hold ourselves accountable to the same standards.
Living Sober is Just the Beginning
Living sober is a daily journey of self-discovery. It isn’t always easy, but it can bring you the kinds of rewards you may previously have only dreamt of. If you are struggling to stay sober and motivated to succeed, a sober living home may be right for you. The Sanctuary Recovery Foundation provides sober living residences in the beautiful coastal region of Charleston, SC. We would love to talk to you about how we can help.