Eliminating Limiting Beliefs in the Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12 Step groups


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Step 11 - Getting (More) Spiritual

 Step 11 – Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God* praying only for knowledge of God's* will for us and the power to carry that out.

If we've gotten this far it's safe to assume that we've made a pretty good effort at turning our will and our lives over to the care of some sort of Creative Intelligence. Now, as the second in the so-called maintenance Steps, we have the opportunity to deepen that connection and begin to live our lives on a spiritual plane.

Which doesn't mean we have to give up all desires for material goods, great sex and the work we long to do! Far from it – in fact, this Goddess of our understanding wants far more for us than we can possibly imagine.

A conscious contact is just that, awareness that there is something more to life than what's in our face at the moment. There's more to life than what our parents taught us, and what we see on TV news and what society as a whole tells us.

How you express that awareness, how you practice it, is up to you. Although the founders came from a Christian background, they worked hard not to limit 12 Step spirituality to that tradition. They went so far as to include an atheist and to take copies of the Big Book in draft form to as many religious leaders as they could find in order to be sure they didn't restrict belief. (The story is told that, when a Buddhist monk looked over the manuscript he nodded and said something like, "…we would have preferred the word 'good' to the word 'God'…")

The point, of course, is to find your own way, which may take some experimentation and will most likely change over time.

Step 11 points to discipline – a regular practice of some sort, formal or not. Such a practice may be as simple as a quick 'make me a channel' type of prayer said with your first cup of coffee, doing some sort of meditation daily, or almost daily, joining a religious organization of one sort or another and worshiping in that manner… the list of possibilities is endless.

If you're not sure how you want to practice your spirituality, experiment. Ask others, both in and out of Program. Read, shop for a church, try a meditation or two. This is truly a case of 'ask and you shall receive,' with willingness the only key you need.

Of course the biggest question with Step 11 is how can we know what God's will is for us? Like all things dealing with faith, there isn't any single or certain way. We're on the right track if we're being honest with others and ourselves. Watching out for fear, anger building to resentment and not getting to Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired (HALT). It helps if we learn to plan without demanding, or even expecting, a particular outcome. Some call it personal responsibility – others simply say it's growing up.

Working with some sort of regular practice (yes, that word again) can go a long way toward helping us see ourselves and our world clearly – a definite move toward Powerful Recovery. 

*Yes, the original 12 Steps say Him and His – but long ago I stopped using gender-based references for our Higher Power and do so here.

Love, peace and abundance,

* I deliberately use gender neutral language, even in the Steps

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