Alcohoics Anonymous - Step 11
Step Eleven suggests prayer and meditation. We shouldn’t be shy about this matter of prayer. Better people than we are using it constantly. It works, if we have the proper attitude and work at it. It would be easy to be vague about this matter. Yet, we believe we can make some definite and valuable suggestions.
When we retire at night, we constructively review or day. Were we resentful, selfish, dishonest or afraid? Do we owe an apology? Have we kept something to ourselves, which should have been discussed with another person at once? Were we kind and loving towards all? What could we have done better? Were we thinking about 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 reflections, for that would diminish our usefulness to others. After making our review we ask God for forgiveness and inquire what corrective measures should be taken.
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 that it be divorced from self-pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives. Under these conditions we can use our mental faculties with assurance, for after all God gave us brains to use. Our thought-life will be 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 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.
What used to be the hunch or the occasional inspiration gradually becomes a working part of the mind. Being still inexperienced and having just made conscious contact with God, it is not probable that we are going to be inspired at all times. We might pay for this presumption in all sorts of absurd action and ideas. Nevertheless, we find that our thinking will as time passes be more and more on the plane of inspiration. We come to rely upon it.
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. We may ask for ourselves, however, if others will be helped. We are careful never to pray for our own selfish ends. Many of us have wasted a lot of time doing that and it doesn’t work. You can easily see why.
If circumstances warrant, we ask our wives or friends to join us in morning meditation. If we belong to a religious denomination, which requires definite morning devotion, we attend to that also. If not members of religious bodies, we sometimes select and memorize a few set prayers, which emphasize the principles we have been discussing. There are many helpful books also. Suggestions about these may be obtained from one’s priest, minister or rabbi. Be quick to see where religious people are right. Make use of what they have to offer.
As we go through the day we pause, when agitated or doubtful, and ask for the right thought or action. We constantly remind ourselves that we are no longer running the show, humbly saying to ourselves many times each day “ Thy will be done.”
We are then in much less danger of excitement, fear, anger, worry, self-pity or foolish decisions. We become much more efficient. We do not tire so easily, for we are not burning up energy foolishly as we did when we were trying to arrange life to suit ourselves.
It works – it really does.
Most of us are undisciplined. So we let God discipline us in the simple way we have just outlined.
But this is not all. There is action and more action.
“Faith without works is dead.”