The Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) 12-Step Program, as described in The Big Book, AA’s Guide to Recovering From Alcoholism, contains many references to God and religious issues, and step 11 is no different. In short, Step 11 is to discover the plan that God, as you understand, has for your life and find the strength to carry it out.
AA states that it is designed rather spiritually rather than religious, and as a cornerstone, members should find a higher purpose or power. God can be described as a religious being, or for atheists and agnostics it can simply mean the group dynamics experienced as a member of an AA meeting or even as a different person.
Review of step 11
Seeked through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, and only for the knowledge of His will for us and the strength to pray for it.
Spiritual instead of religious
For many in recovery, whether they are alcoholics anonymous or Al-Anon family groups, the concept of spirituality can be unfamiliar, lost, or rejected. If you’re looking for solace in a bottle or bars, you may have other problems such as: B. a broken relationship or a break-up marriage, a criminal history or a life in turmoil in general. Even for those who grew up in a church, your experience may have been more “religious” and prescriptive than spiritual.
For most serious about working the 12 steps, by the time you reach step 11 you may discover some level of spirituality at work in your life. For many AA members, they say that they have discovered their higher power and are forming a better understanding of that power.
Prayer or meditation for guidance
The approaches and methods of prayer and meditation suggested in step 11 vary, but the purpose of the step is to connect with this higher force. Some prefer to call the higher force “God”, others avoid the G word altogether. The point is, by participating in the program, AA members discover that there is a power greater than themselves, and that they have seen that power at work.
When members accept the principle of “serenity” that “nothing, absolutely nothing happens accidentally in God’s world,” a higher power is recognized and there is a plan for their lives. Through prayer and meditation, members can seek to raise awareness of this power and use it to continue their personal journey of recovery.
How does a person who is an atheist or an agnostic pray?
As suggested by the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, you can pray or meditate by being still, pausing, thinking, and listening to your thoughts. You can plan your day properly. Ask yourself, God or a higher power, the right answers to get you through the day. In moments of confusion or imbalance, stop asking yourself or the higher power for the right way to proceed. Get it, visualize it, go on. For many this is self-reflection, for others it means asking God for guidance. The end result is usually the same.