Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Step Eleven

"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."  

There is such wonderful stuff written about this step on pages 86 and 87 of our big book, I could write it all here, but you could go look it up yourselves, right?  And most of you probably could recite it!

And as you know, I did not mean for these 12 days of writing about the steps to be instructions to anyone... I just wanted to share my own experiences.  

When I got sober, I hadn't lost my faith, but it just wasn't very practical faith and didn't get used very often.  When I was told as a newcomer to AA to pray daily, I started doing that.  I wrote my own third step prayer (yikes) and used that for years as my morning prayer.  Usually, I would remember to pray while driving down I-25 at 60 miles an hour, on my way to work.  Being the divorced mother of three small children, I wasn't good at making the time necessary for me to have real prayer and meditation.  

As the years have passed, this has changed.  For me, this has taken years to evolve.  I am not recommending that anyone else take years though.  

As I said, I started by saying a prayer I wrote myself while driving to work.  Then AA published a "Daily Reflections" book and I started reading that daily.  Then I went back to the "24 Hours a Day" book, which I had read sporadically in early sobriety.  Then I found the book that the 24 Hours book had been based on and started reading that daily.  Then my involvement in my church grew and I started reading the daily Bible passages each day.  All of this was and is helpful.  But the the most amazing thing has happened to me in the last month:  I finally started meditation, twice a day, each for twenty minutes.  It has been the most amazing thing.  I had to take a class to learn how to do this, and I am so glad I did.

This step is so easy because it does not demand anything but an effort.  You do not have to do any particular thing or believe any particular way.  You just have to try for a conscious contact with whatever your concept of God is.  I think God has met me more than half-way on this.  I believe He is happy to help us with our disbelief if we are willing.  

If you had told me 24 years ago what I would be doing today with prayer and meditation, I would have run the other way.  I certainly didn't want to spend hours every day praying!  I definitely did not want to read the Bible!  Let alone study it!  I didn't want to go to church!  I didn't want to do all the stuff those people wanted me to do!  But I am gladly doing all of this and more... and it started with a tiny little hand written prayer.  

Oops!  Time to go meditate before I run this morning!


J-Online said...

Thank you. You have inspired me once again. Jen

Lou said...

Funny, because I posted about the 11st step also (and prayer driving!). Yours is so much better. Can I steal it?

AlkySeltzer said...

Oh Mary! You have done it again..made geese bumps, as I read your very own Step 11. SO much of what you write I say to myself, "That's ME!"

I wrote my own 3rd Step Prayer years ago--I found I had become unaware that the whole meaning is, that I must praise God by showing others what HE did for ME! Wonder of wonders! (Also I hate words like "Thee" and "Thou".)

Thank you again Sooo much, Mary. The
only thing in the whole world this moment, which saddens me, is that we will probably never meet in person. But I'll settle for what God has given me: Internet, this blogging community, and YOU, girl.

You rightly claim that you do not wish to instruct...but you SURE do "teach", by example and by saying, "Follow me, folks, we're going for a great ride!"

Kim A. said...

Me too. I am on auto pilot in the morning and go from coffee to cigarette to computer. I have a Buddha that I greet each day and acknowledge where my guidance comes from. I say the expanded serenity prayer (learned at an open AA speaker meeting..ty) and spend time reading various spiritual daily readings not to mention the 5 blogs that I follow of those in AA and Alanon. I have meditated in the past and would like to get back into the habit. I am better than I was and for this I thank the one to whom I pray. GREAT POST!


dAAve said...

Yes, the fact is that it must start somewhere. That start is part of each of our indivudual stories.

Gabriella Moonlight said...

Wow, what a post, I remember doing the third step and asking my first sponsor if I could write my own prayer, I did and I continue too, I read the Daily reflections, but much like you my morning meditation is necessary! Thank you for this reminder~!

♥Shann♥ said...

for me the directions on pages 86-88 are very helpful, from when I was new, and still now at 15yrs sober, still works, and not to say that my practice of this step hasnt broadened and deepened, because it sure has.

Kathy Lynne said...

I still can't believe this is me. Praying, meditating, talking about it..reading about it, etc. It is spiritual growth..and I like it. I read Traveling Mercies by Anne LaMotte years ago and she wrote about finding God in the bathroom. That's stuck with me.

Syd said...

I have a book of 12 step prayers that is really great. I still basically pray the same prayer from my childhood when things were so bad: God, please help me to help myself.

Scott W said...

Merry Hump Day!

Anonymous said...

"I believe He is happy to help us with our disbelief if we are willing."

MC, this is such a beautiful and honest statement. I'm sitting here with tears in my eyes and a whole heart full of gratitude because I KNOW this is true. I have read and reread every single one of these posts. Thank you so much. I'm saving these for when I need them, which is often. :0)

Shay said...

good stuff, thanks for sharing!

big Jenn said...

I missed you yesterday. I was busy scanning... I am always doing this step. Meditation has become very important to me also. What an evolution sobriety has been for me spiritually! Thank you so much for sharing you thoughts on the steps. It has been so helpful to me. jeNN