I wrote recently about the early days of sobriety—the feelings of comfort we were beginning to feel from our working the Steps, attending meetings, and so forth. For many of us, these were feelings that we were blessed to have found through the Program and embraced them before we really sank to the lower depths of the disease.
Gradually, you became aware of the need to strengthen your spiritual life. You concluded that you needed to undertake some Eleven Step work: “…to improve [your] conscious contact with God as (you) understood him…”
One of the best teachings of the Program is its call to action—now. “Into action,” we say.
That happened to me one Fall. I was wrestling with a problem. I saw it as one carrying possible uncomfortable outcomes. I struggled to find a solution, but couldn’t pull it off. That old demeaning feeling of anxiety moved into my mind and was starting to become an obsession.
I realized I needed to turn my will over to God, again. I’d done that in the early Steps, but I now realized the Eleventh Step reminds me to keep working on that—to sharpen my conscious contact with God and make him more of a part of my everyday life. The Step says pretty clearly, “Sought through prayer and meditation…” to do so.
So, the first thing I did was to re-read and study all the Big Book’s references to prayer and to put these into practice.. Of course, I felt that since this was a complex matter, I foolishly felt that God may not be able to put the pieces together to point me in the right direction. So, in my prayers, I needed to direct God as I was asking for his help.
But, fortunately, I realized that by doing so, I was falling back into my same old desires to control life and all of its twists and turns—actually the same fault which got me in so much trouble in the first place with my disease.
I’d forgotten one of those sayings—let go and let god—which by the way is frequently posted on the wall of perhaps every Alcoholics Anonymous clubhouse. How to find this comfortable relationship and be guided by it was all set out in the Big Book. It was all there all along.
I started praying with a difference: “your will, not mine” but give me the grace and courage to follow that will. I didn’t need to explain the problem to him—how naïve of me to even suggest that. I had to learn to “be quiet,” to be silent through meditations. Let him speak. You sure can’t hear him when you’re talking. I started attending a church prayer group which was seeking ways to ask for and follow the will of god for them. I started to study books which spoke of ways to do this. I’m not certain that our surrender of First, Second and Third Steps is one event. I now believe that it is a process, over time, through contemplative quiet meditation on our part … “Be silent and know that I am God.”