June Question by Dick B.

Beginner Eleventh Step Goals

I don’t think anyone can or should tell this particular newcomer how to handle prayer and meditation in the Eleventh Step. Why? Because the Big Book text doesn’t attempt to do that. It presents four types of situations—all useful and healthy:

(1) When we retire at night……. It’s a matter of reviewing how well we did the 10th Step throughout the day. Were we resentful, selfish, dishonest, or afraid; and if so, what did we do about it. Then the two suggestions:
(a) If you were wrong, ask for forgiveness.
(b) Determining how you can do better the next day. With prayer and appeal to the Creator? I do, and the text indicates that course.

(2) When we wake up. . . Unfortunately the Big Book left the original Quiet Time practices aside. They were Bible study, prayer, seeking of God’s guidance, and studying a devotional like The Upper Room or the Runner’s Bible. Dr. Bob did this three times a day and then “went about his Father’s business.”

(3) I call the third part the bow to religion, but it is not dogmatic. It suggests devotions if you do them, helpful books if you like them, consulting your rabbi, minister, or priest for suggestions. Pretty tasty for just about any believer.

(4) I call the last part the anxiety alert. If we become angry, anxious, fearful, bewildered, defeated, call God off the bench. As Dr. Bob said, Your Heavenly Father will never let you down.

Now. . . as to the newcomer. There’s nothing tough about taking him or her through the Tenth Step—simple instructions are in the Big Book. There’s nothing tough about reviewing your success for the day, asking pardon, and correcting misbehavior. There’s nothing tough about Morning Quiet Time. The difficulty is how Wilson creates confusion with talk about practice, intuition, and the rest. The pioneers used the Old School A.A. way. Start the day with prayer to the Father as to how to love and serve Him that day. Look in the Bible to see the precise suggestions about praying in the morning, reading the Word in the morning, and seeking God’s help in the morning. There’s nothing tough about going to church, reading religious literature, or talking to a clergyman. The pioneers did it! And there’s nothing tough about replacing swearing and sweat with the peace of God that comes through seeking His help in times of stress. There are dozens of Biblical suggestions for that. A couple are in Proverbs 3:5-6 and Philippians 4:6-7. I put lots of the morning watch, quiet time, prayer materials in my title Good Morning!: Quiet Time, Morning Watch, Meditation, and Early A.A. (http://www.dickb.com/goodmorn.shtml).

My own suggestions to sponsees are to learn what the Big Book says about Step Eleven and then apply Biblical instructions and principles which promise the peace of God and healing. Bless, Dick

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