Tuesday, November 17, 2009

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.
About 10 years ago, I'd been beaten into such a state of reasonableness by life's circumstances that, with some 15 years of sobriety, I followed my sponsor's advice and redoubled my efforts at the 11th step.

I read exactly the paragraph starting "When we retire at night..." (BB p. 86) in the evening and reflected on each of the questions and sentences carefully.

In the morning, before starting my day I read the 4-5 paragraphs starting with "On awakening..." and followed the suggestions outlined there.

It was a magical time. Nothing I've done in our program of recovery before or since has provided such and immediate relief my the daily problems and given me such a profound sense of connectedness with my spiritual path. I was on fire anew in AA. It lasted nearly a year.

Then, I woke up one morning, and it didn't work. I did the same thing I'd been doing and I just felt flat and defeated.

I thought for months that it was just a matter of trying harder, of saying something slightly different. Of taking more time. As I remember, I tried everything that was suggested to me and, struggle though I might, the magic just seemed to be gone.

And then I realized that there was a lesson in this. God had graciously given me a time in his presence but this moment was not that moment. What I needed to do was to be open and willing to seek God in his way - not presume that he would always bless me how I wanted, when I wanted, based on my own habits and rituals.

Since then, the feelings of inspiration and closeness have come and gone.  My habits and practices have varied from time to time and that seems to be appropriate - it's been my experience.

Today, my practice is to pray the 3rd and 7th step prayers every morning before I get up. I try to apply my best thoughts toward thinking through the day ahead. Is it my will or God's will? I find the prayer of St. Francis that's excerpted in the 11th step chapter in the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions useful helping with meditation and in keeping my perspective in a better place as well.

At night, I still go through the review.  At least once a week, I read the paragraph verbatim. Every night I try to close my mind and open for sleep by asking "...God's forgiveness and inquire what corrective measures should be taken..."

Then, I sleep.


dAAve said...

going forward.

Gabriella Moonlight said...

This is a very hopeful post...I read for two years page 84-to the end of the chapter, like you I experienced some shifts; this has helped me to understand what shifted in my relationshiop to God as I understand him and I thank you for this post!

Mary Christine said...

Thank you for sharing this.

Scott W said...

Step 11 coupled with step 3 are where it is at for me.