Step Eleven in recovery

by Broken_Dreamer01

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.

I had no idea how to pray. I had no idea

how to meditate. I had no idea how to learn

these things. I was not entirely sure I

wanted to try them. After all, religion had

not helped me before. This is my journey...

Sought through prayer...



Are you kidding me?!?

I called my sponsor and explained to her that I was not going to attend church or join a monastery!!!

By the time she managed to stifle her laughter enough to get out her, "You don't have to do either of those things." I had worked myself into a tissy and barely heard what she said.

"I don't?" I asked.

I was dumbfounded. It said right there that I has to pray and meditate.

"No. You have to pray and meditate, but you don't have to go to church or join a monastery to do  those things." she said.

"I don't"

"No. You just talk to the God of your understanding in a way that feels comfortable to you. Then, you wait quietly and wait for the answer." She said.

"I do?" I asked.

"Yes. We are going to break it up for you. I want you to pray as often as you think of it for the next week."

I hung up the phone and said, "What feels comfortable to me?"

I looked around the room. There was no one there who could answer me. After all, I was alone. I thought about all the prayers I had endured in church, witnessed on t. v., and heard at church socials. It couldn't be that hard, could it?

"Father, thank you for your kind and gracious gifts." I said, unable to think of anything else.

I prayed this prayer a few more times, then I got bored with it.

"Father, thank you for your guidance and protection."

I prayed this prayer a few times then, I got cute.

"Father, thank you for your gracious guidance and kind protection."

I prayed this prayer a few times, but got bored. I really am not the cute kind of girl.

"Father, ..." Well, that ended that. I could think of nothing to say.

I called my sponsor and told her what I had done over the last few days.

"Good. How did it feel?" she asked.


"If God were standing right in front of you, what would you say to Him?" She asked.

"I dunno." I said.

"Next time you pray, imagine the God of your understanding right in front of you." She said.

"Oh. Kay." I said.

A few minutes later, I stood in the only room in the house where I was sure no one could possibly see or hear me and began.

"Father, I hate this. I don't want to do this stuff. I want to be normal. I wanna be like everyone else." I began.

After several moments of speaking this way, tears began rolling down my cheeks and I was screaming while looking up at the ceiling.

I crumpled to the floor, exhausted, and slept. I slept peacefully for the first time in years.

When I woke, I felt a little... different. I felt lighter, brighter, and less enclosed.

Do you feel comfortable with prayer and meditation?

Is this not something you do? Please, let me know in the comments below what you do.

Even flowers know life is difficult

Not all of us can be roses
Survivalist flower
Survivalist flower

...and meditation...

I explained to my sponsor what I had done and what had happened.

"Great! How wonderful that you and God could work things out like that!" She smiled.

She was happy that I had yelled and screamed at God as if He were a person, as if He could not hit me with a lightening bolt.

"How did praying feel the next time you did it?" she asked.

"Real." I said.

"Wonderful! Now lets do the same thing for meditation. I want you to clear your mind of all thoughts after you pray each time and I want you to pray first thing in the morning and the last thing at night." She said.

Was she out of her mind?!?!? This was beginning to sound a lot like church to me!!!

"I want you to write down whatever comes to your mind after you clear it." she said, "Just a sentence or two, nothing long."

"Oh. Kay." I said.

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About halfway through the week of meditation, I realized that I never felt alone anymore. I could not identify what I thought was with, thought I might be getting paranoid, and decided I would call my sponsor.

"I feel something with me all the time." I blurted out.

"Does it creep you out?" She asked.

"No. I feel calmer and more... happy." I said.

"Do you think you want it to go away?" She asked.

"No." I said.

"Why did you call me then?" She asked.

"I don't know what it is." I said.

"That is your Higher Power." She said, as if someone had told her I would call about it.

"How do you know?" I asked.

"I was the same way. I thought I might be getting paranoid. I could not imagine what it could possibly be. I even felt it in the shower with the door locked!" She laughed.

"Yeah!" I laughed, "It's kinda weird, but I like it."

"Me too!" She said.

Abandoned Railway
Abandoned Railway
Paul Finnerty

Praying only for knowledge of His will for us...

"Now we get to the hard part. We have to limit our prayers to knowledge of His will for us." She said.

I was, once again, on the phone with her. This time I was trying to just have it be a nice chat and give myself a day or two before tackling the rest of this step. No such luck.

"How will I know what His will is?" I asked.

"You will know. You have already felt His presence, so trust Him to get through to you." She said.

"I have to trust Him AND my stupid mind? At the same time?" I asked.

Once again, I provided my sponsor with laughter. At least, I was good at something...

"Relax. Your Higher Power knows you and the way you think. All you have to do is the next right thing. No, not the next easy thing. No, not the next fun thing. The next RIGHT thing." She explained.

"Oh. Kay." I said.

"What I suggest you do is pray for knowledge in the morning and thank Him for the opportunities at night." She continued, as if I hadn't spoke.

"Right." I said.

I know me. She knows me. This will not be easily done, often forgotten and require many phone calls. How does she do this?!?

"One step at a time, one moment at a time, one day at a time." She said.

"You heard my thought?" I asked.

"No, I just know what I thought when my sponsor told me these things." She said, "You thought one of two things. How does she do this or how am I going to do this."

Wow! She was good!

"Choosing you for a sponsor was the smartest thing I ever did." I said.

"Who said you chose it?" She laughed, "Have you not met your Higher Power, yet?"

We both laughed. She a had a great point with that one!!!

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...and the power to carry that out.

"I want to talk to you about power." she said.

"What do you mean?" I asked.

I had already read the rest of the step, but could not fathom why we needed to talk about power. God would make me invincible and nothing would hurt me, right? I should have known better...

"The last part of this step is asking for the power to carry out your Higher Powers will. I want to make sure your not thinking you will be invincible or something." She said.

"Well, I was hoping for that..." I said.

I provided laughter for my sponsor once again. I began to wonder if that was what being a sponsor was about. You get the opportunity to laugh at someone.

"You remind me of myself when I was new to recovery!" She said.

Was that a good thing? Did it make her want to use? Should I be more careful with what I say?

"You are teaching me so much about how much I have grown in this program. I am grateful for that. Thank you." She said.

"Your welcome?" I asked.

"Sometimes, the power to carry out your Higher Powers will is the ability to shut your mouth when everything inside you wants to react to something. Sometimes, it is saying letting someone know how you worked through a problem much like what they are going through and what came happened." She said.

"Oh. So there will be no flying through the air or catching speeding bullets?" I said.

"Did you seriously think there would be?" She asked.

"Hope is eternal..." I said.

"Sometimes, power is simply the ability to smile when things are not going your way. Most of the time, power is a quiet, simple thing."

"Okay, so I will cancel the order for my super woman costume... I will try to remember that my Higher Power loves everyone, not just me. He will give me the power to hold my tongue, speak the right words at the right time, and smile when things don't go my way." I said.

"That is the jist of things." She said.

"Are you sure? I mean, I could really use the ability to move things with my mind..." I said.

My sponsor laughed. I laughed with her. Maybe, just maybe, this power thing would be alright. I mean, after all, with great power comes great responsibility and I wasn't able to be responsible enough to get myself eating three times a day yet... Perhaps, in time I could be more responsible...

"Right now your prayers should be sounding something like "I am asking for knowledge of your will." She said, a week later on the phone.

"Nearly word for word." I said.

"I suggest you ask for the power to carry out His will." She said.

Oh. I guess that would be a good idea. Where did I get the idea that it would be granted without me asking for it?

"So, I need to say something like "I am asking for knowledge of your will for me and the power to carry that out"?" I asked.

"That's right." She said.

"Okay." I said.

A shortened list of articles I have written on this subject...

Addiction prepared me for anything, right?!?
Addiction taught me humiliation, recovery taught me humility.
Recovery is NOT easy, but it is worth it.
Recovery is often a mysterious thing for those who need it. I hope this poem/story brings some understanding to the confusion...
Updated: 03/18/2012, Broken_Dreamer01
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