The eleventh step of the A.A. 12-step program says
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.
This 11th step is another of the maintenance steps and should form part of our daily steps. The maintenance is intended to ensure that the gift of freedom from substance abuse remains with us
Here we present a worksheet to help us with this step.
An Overview of The Worksheet
This worksheet is reflective in nature. There are five questions all aimed at connecting further with the God of our understanding and expanding on the profound spiritual awakening we have had as a result of the application of the twelve steps. It is best to do this at night after our nightly inventory.
It is not necessary to write on the worksheet, but it is recommended as it helps focus our minds
What is my meditation for today?
Merriam-Webster defines meditation as:
to engage in contemplation or reflection.
The purpose of spiritual meditation is to draw closer to God, look more deeply into oneself, and seek to chart our spiritual path.
There is so much we can meditate on but is probably not wise to meditate without a focus. There are many ways to find a subject for meditation. Here are a few valuable suggestions on how to find some topics:
Something that happened during the day or something you read or heard
A quote from the Big Book, scriptures of your faith, or words from a prayer or a song. There are some great hymns but lots of other songs can help. As an example words from River of Dreams by Billy Joel – “And I've been searching for something/Taken out of my soul” can create an idea to meditate on.
Something that has been playing on your mind such as “What makes Me aware of God’s presence”?
And you can always have fallback topics such as
How do I draw closer to my higher power?
How do I see God in the stream of life?
How do I foreground a spirit of forgiveness?
What are my prayers for the day?
Prayer ideally is a conversation with the God of our understanding. Yes, it may include asking for help for ourselves or someone else, but in essence, it is a conversation where we talk, and we listen. What then can we talk about? and the answer is anything. From our children battling with math to the prayers for an ailing friend to deeper topics.
These include things like praying about our character defects, effective means to help achieve personal growth and help in continuing to abandon ourselves to the care of God. No area is off-limits in prayer.
What is new in the way I understand God if anything?
Often nothing will appear here, but sometimes we will have an insight that gives us a better idea of the nature of our Higher Power. Often it is an intuitive thought that brings us to this expanded view of God.
As we come to a deeper understanding of God so the effectiveness of our path to continued sobriety and service increases. That familiarity deepens the relationship and makes the conversation of prayer easier. It does not have to be an additional element but can be a new take on something in God’s nature that we have already been exposed to.
How was my Higher Power with Me today? When and why did I move away from our God’s presence?
This is a way of working towards a constant awareness of the presence of a loving God. It involves reviewing our sense of God as a persistent companion not only during difficult times but is always by our side at all times.
Try to become aware of how God was with us during the day. The effect is not always obvious, but is always there, sometimes because of what did not happen. God was there when, at 16, I ran drunk across the road, and according to My friends a car missed Me by inches. That is an ob God is there when all is plain sailing and often that is because of that presence that all is smooth.
God never moves away from us. Never. Sometimes We move away instead. Think about those times that you shut the door on your Higher Power. What happened that caused it? How was it reopened?
If we can see the reasons that we either felt close to or distant from our Higher Power then we can discover corrective measures to avoid such drift from happening again.
What is God’s will for us?
We have mediated and we have prayed. Now consider what God’s will is for us. What path does our Higher Power want us to follow? Along what spiritual lines does God want us to develop? Is there a new way to reach out to others that we should use?
This is the culmination of this time with our Higher Power. It is the time we hear the words of Psalm 46:10, “Be Still and Know That I Am God” In this stillness if we are open then our Higher Power will direct us.
Making this step, together with the tenth step, a part of your life will make a huge difference. It is often the difference between AA members staying sober and falling off the wagon. The maintenance steps must take first place in our new lives.
It is easy to turn daily tasks into something rote and pray simply out of obligation. That is as bad as not doing it at all. Please avoid doing that. Prayer and meditation without focus are valueless – simply an exercise in futility. Rather not do it and come back to it another day.
Our sobriety and the maintenance of our sobriety is the most important thing in our lives. All that we have stems from that and to be dismissive of the maintenance steps is to risk a relapse. In addition to the spiritual benefits, a quiet time like this also provides a sense of peace and is valuable for destressing.
Note: Except where specified all quotes are from the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous