Step of 11 of AA is a step to be practiced daily that focuses on meditation and prayer as the principal means of conscious contact with God (a Higher Power).
“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.”
Official Readings on Step 11
What is Step 11 in AA?
Many who join the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous are skeptical of God or straight up don’t believe in God. There are those who had a previous bad or unimpressionable experience with religion. For this reason, newcomers tend to disregard meditation and prayer as something not really necessary when first trying to get sober.
When a person finally experiments with meditation and prayer, they feel different and they know it. However, there are many things in life that we know are good and bad for us, yet we do otherwise – which is why Step 11 is to be practiced daily, like brushing your teeth. As healthy food is good for the body, meditation and prayer are good for the soul.
Discussing Step 11
Now that we understand the meaning of Step 11, let’s look at how to begin putting it in motion. First, we are very lucky to have the resources that we now have in today’s technological world. Thousands of prayers and meditation techniques can be found online within minutes. But even with so many available, we may question which are the best to start out with. Let’s take a look at the recommendations from Alcoholics Anonymous.
AA is full of prayers and there are many prayers recommended to use depending on the Step in which you are practicing. It’s important to make a habit of saying your prayers, typically as you awaken in the morning and right before tucking into bed, kneeling beside your bed as you pray. When you find a prayer that you really like, it should become your go-to prayer when ever you find yourself in one of life’s tough spots.
If you need a prayer to start with, use the following prayer written by St. Francis of Assisi (he was not an alcoholic, but like us, he went through a lot of emotional turmoil to render this prayer):
God, make me a channel of thy peace. That where there is hatred, I may sow love. Where there is wrong, the spirit of forgiveness. Where there is discord, harmony. Where there is error, truth. Where there is doubt, faith. Where there is despair, hope. Where there are shadows, light. Where there is sadness, joy.
God, grant that I may not so much seek to be comforted, as to comfort. To be understood, as to understand. To be loved, as to love. For it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
When drinking out of the bottle, we often let our imaginations run wild with our drunken thoughts and have tried to make realities out of them. We had no problem in this manner of thought and we often enjoyed indulging in it. So in a way, we already know that we have the capabilities to meditate.
There are many forms of meditation you can try and one that is popular amongst the alcoholic community is called Transcendental Meditation. For a quick understanding of transcendental meditation, watch this light hearted video of Jerry Seinfeld, who has been practicing this type of mediation for decades.
Alcoholics tend to like things that are straightforward and simple. There is nothing complicated about transcendental meditation (also called TM), not unless you want it to be. Simply find a quiet spot for 20 minutes, sit straight and comfortable, close your eyes, and focus on your breath. When your mind races or wanders, which will happen A LOT, simply refocus your thoughts on your breath. It’s always a good idea to set a timer, which most smartphones can do, so that you do not interrupt your meditation session by checking the time remaining.
If you have been coming to Alcoholics Anonymous, you will have known by now about the Daily Reflections which is a book written by a multitude of anonymous members of A.A. published in 1980 that is still read by millions of alcoholics today. Many members of A.A. like to incorporate the daily reflections into their prayers and meditation routines. You can buy the book online or read for free.