“Prayer is not about changing God, but being willing to let God change us.” —Richard Rohr
I have been sober for nearly 13 months and, like most people in their first year of sobriety, I experienced an extraordinary spiritual awakening. Early in recovery, I recall telling my sponsor I had undergone my spiritual Aha! moment. What a joke. Leave it to a real alcoholic like myself to believe I had it all figured out before Step 1 was ever even completed.
In reality, the awakening did not occur at a particular time; instead, it evolved into something wonderful as time passed. I learned and lived the steps. The dark cloud began to fade; the desire to drink diminished over time; and the well-known term ‘easy does it’ started to make perfect sense. Indeed, it was an awakening: my spirit woke up from a long winter’s nap.
Step 11 in the Big Book says we sought through prayer and meditation to improve our communication with God. We ask for knowledge of His will and the power to execute it. While the Eleventh Step is a beautiful way of life, I believe it is often overlooked for the sheer magnitude of its meaning. Words like ‘prayer,’ ‘meditation,’ ‘knowledge of His will,’ and the ‘power to carry that out’ are overwhelming, especially to the alcoholic who has been spiritually dead.
Through daily prayer and pause, God’s whispers are loud and clear. I hear His words and witness His work throughout the day, but I must maintain a grateful heart to receive such blessings. If you’re having difficulty with Step 11, I encourage you to be honest with God. Ask Him to change the desires of your heart so they are in line with His. And, listen closely. You’ll hear Him in the words of a stranger, through the kindness of a friend or in the beauty that surrounds you.
According to page 87 in the Big Book, “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.” The Eleventh Step is really that simple. Put one foot in front of the other—He’ll take care of the rest.
Alison Broderick is a freelance writer who is passionate about carrying the message of recovery to those suffering from the disease of addiction. She lives in Marietta, Georgia with her husband and two boys, ages 8 and 6, and devotes much of her time to MARR—a non-profit recovery center in Atlanta that provides lasting treatment through gender-specific programs and therapeutic community.