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Jul 24

Conscious Contact

In Step Ten we made a commitment to continuing the process of self examination on a daily basis.  In Step Eleven we devote ourselves to the constant and lifelong practice of connecting with our Higher Power.  This devotion to a Spirit filled life is the key to healing that lasts.

“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.”  ~ Step Eleven

Many people have struggled with the concept of a connecting with God as they begin to work through the Steps and yet somehow they have found Him.  Through their willingness even agnostics and atheists have come to terms with their own definition and understanding of their Higher Power.  Our success to this point has already proven that God really doesn’t make too hard of terms with those who earnestly seek Him. We approach this step with an open mind and the intention to further our relationship with the Spirit in whatever form it takes for us.  It is our conscious searching that has brought us this far.  This desire for contact is the only requirement and all of our progress in the future depends on it.

The Eleventh Step is explained in the Big Book from the bottom of page 85 through page 88. It is extremely useful to refer to these pages until we have made Steps Ten and Eleven a part of our daily lives.  Once again I highly recommend owning a copy of Alcoholics Anonymous (The Big Book) as much of the content applies to all forms of recovery.  In my opinion these principles apply to all people and all circumstances.  It is a commentary and guidebook for the human experience that should not be overlooked.

We turn to the writers who said it first and best as they describe how to work Step Eleven:  (Pages 86 & 87)

  • “When we retire at night, we constructively review our day.  Were we resentful, selfish, dishonest or afraid? (Step 4) Do we owe an apology? (Steps 8 and 9)  Have we kept something to ourselves which should be discussed with another person at once? (Step 5) Were we kind and loving toward 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 pack into the stream of life? But we must be careful not to      drift into worry, remorse or morbid reflection, for that would diminish our usefulness to others. After making our review, we ask God’s forgiveness and inquire what corrective measures should be taken.” (Using Steps 4 through 9 which IS the 10th Step to review our day before bed.)
  • “On awakening let us think about the twenty-four hours ahead. We consider our plans for the day. Before we begin, we ask God to direct our thinking, especially asking that it be divorced from self-pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives. Under these conditions we can employ our mental faculties with assurance, for after all God gave us brains to use. Our thought-life will be placed on a much higher plane when our thinking is cleared of wrong motives.”
  •  “In thinking about our day we may face indecision. We may not be able to determine which course to take. Here we ask God for inspiration, an intuitive thought or a decision. We relax and take it easy. We don’t struggle. We are often surprised how the right answers come after we have tried this for a while.”
  • “We usually conclude the period of meditation with a prayer that we be shown all through the day 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 will be helped. We are careful never to pray for our own selfish ends..”
  • “As we go through the day we pause, when agitated or doubtful, and ask for the right thought or action.”

We have instructions for how to begin and end each day.  We include our Higher Power in all of our plans.  We ask for guidance and allow God to direct our thoughts and actions.  When in doubt we take our time, we notice that impulsivity is being replaced with patience. When we find it difficult to know God’s will we take a look at ourselves… the Eleventh Step Inventory helps us to uncover and admit where WE have blocked our connection to the Source.

“There is a direct linkage among self-examination, meditation, and prayer. Taken separately, these practices can bring much relief and benefit. But when they are logically related and interwoven, the result is an unshakeable foundation for life.”  ~ The 12 and 12 (Page 98)

As we talk to our sponsors and trusted friends we test our new way of thinking as our daily inventory continues to reveal where we have tried to replace God’s will with our own.  Letting go has allowed us to hear His voice and our thought-life has changed as a result.  “What used to be the hunch or the occasional inspiration gradually becomes a working part of the mind.” This intuition that once seemed so unpredictable becomes a natural part of our decision making process in every situation and we find that life has become far more manageable since we learned to let go. This step provides more than direction – it brings clarity and we find peace.

  “We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.”  ~ Promise Eleven

 

The following links from Barefoot’s World are helpful for taking inventory and establishing habits for Steps Ten and Eleven:  Step 11 Inventory, all of the Prayers in the Big Book , How To Listen To God and St. Francis Prayer Meditation (12 and 2)

Recommended Reading:

The AA Big Book and Guide for Working the Twelve Steps are recommended reading for anyone in recovery of any kind, not only because they were the first but also for their inspirational and direct content. Two great resources for those working the Steps for codependency are also included here. More books on 12 Step Work from other fellowships and programs can be found in the “Steps” drop down list under “Programs and Literature.”

Featured image for this page taken from Hazelden 12 Step Pamphlet Collection – The Complete 12 Step Collection used by patients in recovery centers throughout the nation, these easy-to-read editions are a sure way to gain a basic, and yet thorough, understanding of the significance of each Step. Pamphlets are available individually or in a money-saving full collection.

Recommended Links:

The questions above are fairly generalized in order to apply to a variety of conditions. The basics are the same but if you are working the Steps specifically for drug/alcohol abuse or codependency the following links may help you to explore further. There are many other formats and workbooks available through a simple web search.

12 Step Worksheets

CoDA 12 Step Worksheets

Barefoot’s Intro to Working the Steps

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