Maintaining and Growing Emotional Sobriety
I used to think spirituality was the way of weakness
I now know that it is the way of courage and strength
Step 11 – Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, praying only for knowledge of his will and the power to carry that out.
Step 11 is a seeking of unity with God. If followed correctly, the process in this step will keep our will aligned to God’s will. Alcoholics will always have this chronic spiritual condition, this propensity to obsessive self-involvement and self-concern, but we don’t have to live like that anymore – it’s too painful. We align ourselves with God’s will and we let him demonstrate through us what he can do, all day every day.
In Step Ten we discovered that we have entered the world of the spirit which is not some magical mountain in an exotic location. The world of the spirit is living in the now, being present in the present.
In Step Eleven we discover that we now have conscious contact with God and need to improve our conscious contact with God through prayer and meditation.
The Evening Review
The very last task of the day just before we go to sleep is the evening review:
• First of all we constructively review our day. Were resentful, selfish, dishonest or afraid?
• Do we owe an apology to anyone?
• Have we kept something to ourselves which should be discussed with another person at once?
• Were we kind and loving to all?
• What could we have done better?
• Were we thinking of ourselves most of the time? Or were we thinking of what we could do for others, of what we could contribute to life instead of take?
These are sometimes pretty tough questions to answer. However we should not beat up on ourselves if we fail to achieve perfect adherence to these principles. Our willingness to progress towards perfection is what is important here as anyone can achieve progress if they are prepared to put in a bit of work every day.
After making our review we ask God for forgiveness and inquire what corrective measures should be taken.
Morning Prayer and Meditation
Upon awakening, in other words when your eyes open in the morning it is hugely beneficial to focus on God and not the usual committee meeting that has been held in your head every morning ever since you can remember. The day I truly discovered internal freedom was the day I stopped listening to my mind. So many of us exclaim in dismay “I cannot silence the voices in my head!”. Well of course you can’t, that’s not your job. Your job is to stop listening!
Let us think about the 24 hours that lay ahead.
• We look at our plans for the day. If we don’t have a plan for the day, now is the best time to make a plan(s).
• Before we begin our day we ask God to direct our thinking, especially asking that it be divorced from self-pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives.
• Beginning the day by clearing our thoughts of wrong motives will enhance our assurance in our mental faculties, and our thought life will be placed on a much higher plane than usual.
• During the day when faced with indecision, we may not be able to determine which course to take, here we ask God for inspiration, a intuitive thought, or a decision.
• We relax and take it easy knowing that the right decision will come if we follow God’s will and not our own self-will.
• In concluding our period of meditation with a prayer that all throughout the day we be shown what our next step is to be, that we be given whatever we need to take care of such problems. We ask especially for freedom from self-will, and are careful to make no request for ourselves only. We may ask for ourselves however, if others may be helped. We are careful to never pray for our own selfish ends. Many of us have wasted time doing that and it doesn’t work. You can easily see why.
• As we go through the day we pause when agitated or doubtful, and ask God for the right thought or action. We constantly remind ourselves that we are no longer running the show, humbly saying to ourselves many times a day “thy will be done”. We are then in much less danger of excitement, fear, anger, worry, self-pity, or foolish decisions. We do not tire so easily burning up energy foolishly like we did when we were trying to run the show and arrange life to suit ourselves.
If the situation warrants we ask our wives, partners or friends to join us in morning meditation.
The simple method of morning meditation mentioned above is what I still use to this day. Once I have completed this, I have certain prayers of my own choice that I pray. One of them is very special to me and is a powerful summary of what we are trying to achieve by making the 12 Step program a way of life.
“Lord, 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 that one finds. It is by forgiving that one is forgiven. It is by dying that one awakens to Eternal Life. Amen.”
Whatever method of prayer and meditation you may choose is entirely up to you. The 12 Step program is no one’s religion. Simple as that. However whatever method you follow, my suggestion is to keep it as simple and highly focused on conscious contact with God as possible. Simple is power!
Welcome to the juicy part of this incredible program. Welcome to freedom!
Paul Nobes – WordPress Blogger