“Serenity”, in a word. We came into the Program angry, beaten down, having alienated family, friends and employers. We were ashamed of our conduct. We’d probably tried several times to quit by ourselves – all resulting in failure. Maybe our early weeks of sobriety didn’t impress anyone. They all made it clear they were just awaiting your failure, your fall backwards into those usual alcoholic and drug nightmares. Even in recovery, depression can be a wet blanket over our comfort level.
There is sort of a surprise in the Steps. The Steps aim for us to “let go,” to ease up, to remember that there is a joy in successfully walking the Steps. We learn that Step Eleven takes us someplace we may not have known was present – the reliance on a Higher Power and his Will for us – we cease traveling alone, wired to our own resources. Now we have a steady companion who will respond to our calls to identify his Will for us. It may be hard to see it. It may take us on a path we least expected. We may not like the direction you perceive as God’s Will.
We came to the Program admitting there was a being more powerful than our own humanness. As we worked the Steps, perhaps the role of our Higher Power slipped from our attention as we undertook our inventories, amends and all the rest.
We may forget that by working “to improve” our “conscious contact,” the door opens our lives to true serenity. That door accepts life’s bumps and grind – but at the same time rids us of over-reaching, of merely descending into a morass of self-pit – if we meet these intrusions without assistance. That door calls us to look to our Higher Power to seek guidance – “His will for us” together with the power to carry it out.
And, we know that sometimes that Will for us” is difficult to discern. Sometimes it takes more meditation than we’d like – steady meditation. Quiet listening is needed. Meditation takes us away from ourselves. We rid ourselves of self-management. We ask only for his Will to solve a problem. That saves a lot of mental energy and avoids our reaching for the substance that seemingly provided a solution, a temporary solution that at the same time continued our addiction.
At my best, when encountering one of these problems and I turn to my Higher Power for assistance, I do find His Way. Sometimes it takes time. We have to be patient. It’s not always what I alone wanted. It’s something that we haven’t done for years and years and look where that failure got us. I need to get outside myself and at least for a period come to believe that it isn’t all about me. I’m not the general contractor. Sometimes it’s a partial answer, one we have to work with and grow with His support.
Sometimes we forget that our Higher Power is always available if we but seek Him. That’s why the Eleventh Step is there. We are to “continue to seek” to remind us. It reminds us to forget the old ways of “me, me, me” and move to a higher plane of sobriety.
The Program is not a “one-trick-pony.” Certainly we need to work the Steps to free us of addiction’s grasp. But don’t forget the Program also gives us a tool to continue living an addiction-free and serene life through meditation, seeking ”His Will for us and the Power to carry it out.”
Jim A/Covington, KY