Thursday, 16 July 2020

Working The Steps: Step 11

My name is Russ and I haven’t had a bet today or since my last meeting. I’ve been dragging my feet on doing Step 11, not because it’s difficult but because having read the worksheet I know I won’t get too much from it. Alas, I should be doing two things I don’t want to do, just for exercise, so I guess this can be one of them. 

Step 11: 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 11, Exercise 1

Review your writings from Step 2, Exercises 3 and 4, and Step 3, Exercises 1 and 2.

Write about:

Has your willingness to turn your will and your life over to your Higher Power created miracles in your life? Give specific examples of the miraculous differences you have experienced in your journey through the Steps.

The definition of miracle, as per dictionary.com, is “an effect or extraordinary event in the physical world that surpasses all known human or natural powers and is ascribed to a supernatural cause.” It could also be “such an effect or event manifesting or considered as a work of God,” or “a wonder; marvel,” or finally, “a wonderful or surpassing example of some quality.” I’ve stopped gambling, not cured cancer or ushered in world peace so I feel labelling my achievements as miracles is a bit much. Are they difficult to believe? I would say they are. If someone had told me 16 months ago I would stop gambling and be in recovery I would not have believed them, yet here I am. The Steps have helped me a lot on my journey, some a lot more than others. I’m not a believer that working the Steps is the be all and end all of recovery but I am certainly glad I did. The bottom line is that my Family is my Higher Power and before I entered recovery the only thing I cared about was gambling. So that is an extremely positive change in my life.

Has your open-mindedness improved? Are you asking for and accepting help from others in the program and in your life? Give specific examples of how your asking for and acceptance of help have contributed to your recovery. 

There has been an improvement here for sure. I’m extremely comfortable opening up in a meeting and asking for help if I need it. The same can be said for those closest to me, I would have no problem asking for help and accepting it. There have been meetings where I have opened with a “pressing problem” which at the start can feel daunting. That is probably the best example I can think of in recovery to truly ask for help. 

Step 11, Exercise 2

Through prayer, you can communicate with your Higher Power and ask to know your Higher Power’s will for you. In meditation, you can release and surrender your own will, and receive your Higher Power’s answers.

How you improve and maintain conscious contact with your Higher Power is YOUR CHOICE. Only YOU can decide how much time to devote to it, how often to do it, and what form the practice/ritual will take. Step 11 asks you to make those decisions and then commit to making those practices a part of your daily life.

Write about:

Are your prayers based on spiritual objectives or are you praying for material gain or intervention? Do you have a prayer practice? Describe it.

The short answer is that I do not pray.

Have you embraced the practice of meditation? Describe how you quiet your mind.

I have tried meditation but I haven’t been able to get anything out of it. In general, to quiet my mind, I try to just do something that I enjoy, listen to music, watch a film, anything that will just allow my mind to wander.

How will you keep the practice of prayer and meditation alive in your daily life?

Never say never, but I very much doubt I pick up the practice of prayer but I will try my hand at meditation again. It’s important for me to know how to quiet my mind and not feel like it’s something I need to do everyday.

What is your greatest source of personal satisfaction today? Peace of mind? Freedom? Integrity? Choice? Attitude toward others? Spirituality?

Peace of mind probably sums it up best. I have a great life, a great family, a great job, everything anyone could want. My days can sometimes be quite boring and I enjoy that now. I enjoy when things are just quiet and normal. It’s relaxing.

Step 11 was never going to be a Step that I got a lot out of but it is also important for me to look at things like this and work through them. Will anything change? Probably not. I won’t start praying for example but maybe I’ll try meditation again and see how it goes.

Russ

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