Step 11-Spiritual Growth and Development
We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understand God, praying for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry it out.
When working a 12-step program it is important to work the steps in order, as each step sets the foundation for the next. The final twelfth step offers a spiritual awakening as a result of having worked the prior eleven steps. It also includes the caveat of giving back by being of service and practicing the principles in every aspect of your life.
This is a simple program unfortunately simple, does not guarantee easy. Like most things in life this program requires of lot effort, time, and practice. There are three basic characterics you must be able to at least attempt: openness, honesty, and willingness.
With that said, there are some steps you will find that you repeat over and over in your daily life. Steps 1, 2 and 3 are prime examples.
Also, people may find that one step in particular resonates with them more than the others. For me, it's step eleven.
For me the benefits of working these steps is not only a relief from my disease. But a guide for life. One that has never let me down, so far, no matter how complex the problem is, I have a solution.
The ultimate goal of these steps is to experience a spiritual awakening and a state of emotional sobriety. They are two amazing gift of this program. Emotional sobriety enables you to face anything and deal with it in a proactive manner.
Why Step 11?
So why Step 11 it was an easy choice given the results I saw in people's lives. In the rooms spirituality is a vital component of healthy program. It plays an integral role in freedom from this disease.
Having seen this first hand, and being desperate enough, I was willing to ignore my personal reservations and resentments towards a higher power and create a new concept of “God”. The funny thing is that even, at this point in my recovery. I’m not really willing to label this power that is greater than me.
Sometimes having a label brings to mind, old associations, that are hard to let go off. For me personally I like to call my “higher power” the universe my mind is not able to put this in a box or have any prior negative affiliation.
Growing up in the church I had a lot of resentments towards religion. I always felt that it went against my truth. The way I understood God. For me God was love. This was not always reflected in the actions of those in the church. I get it, I know that people are not supposed to be perfect, what bothered me was the hypocrisy and judgment.
At this point living in the hell of active addiction I was willing to do anything including finding God. I religiously attended 12-step meetings for 6 months and trying to get sober through the program.
I was hungrily searching for an answer. Some people had this glow to them and this vibrant love of life. I wanted what they had. They all shared a common thread, a personal spiritual program. Upon entering treatment I was willing to continue this experiment. To at least try and see if it would work.
And so began my journey into spirituality. The most beautiful part of a 12-step program is the ability to create a higher power that is of your own understanding. This is so important and unique as it allows you, to meet your God on a personal level.
I started with the basics prayer and meditation. I had no idea how to pray. As a child I had prayed though they always felt pointless. They had been lists of sins that I needed forgiveness for. They only filled me with more shame and guilt reminding me of everything I did wrong. I have this distinct memory of feeling like they never passed the ceiling of my bedroom. So really what was the point.
I decided, to start fresh, I looked at the simple prayers in 12-step books. I knew they said everything I wanted to in a simple concise manner. I loved the 3rd step prayer using it a lot to get me through my days. This prayer always helps me change my perception of a current situation.
Let me add that in practicing prayer it is not just a time when I formally pray. It involves speaking my truth. Spilling my guts. I don’t hold back. I just have conversations about life, what makes me angry, what is hurting me, why I’m sad. The list could go on forever. One thing I do as well is a God box. I write down anything and everything that I am struggling with and put it in a box. This physical action helps in letting go and turning it over. I find that usually I feel a sense of peace or even better I have a shift in my perception of a situation.
The next suggestion was meditation, I had tried meditation before, and never understood why it didn’t work. Surprise! Apparently you need to be sober for it to be effective.it is hard to be. Initially I would just get quiet for 10 to 15 minutes. Occasionally I would get a sense of a direction I should take with a problem. Mostly God speaks to me through other people or texts or songs.
The sources never matters it’s what is said.
You see the beauty of meditation is that it can be any activity in which your brain quiets and you become completely present in the moment. This can be anything I find that time in nature is the easiest way for me to experience this.
I personally have added reading to this I have different books I use but mainly I look for a daily reading. I find that for me the readings are huge. As crazy as this sounds they always seem to be exactly what I need for the day. To the point where sometimes I can’t help but think that the universe has an interesting sense of humor.
In the end I don’t want you to think I am a spiritual guru and I have all the answers. I don’t, I still have days where I’m not. Those days my character defects are glaring. When I don’t do my morning routine I pay a high price and my serenity goes out the window. My day is usually a painful emotional mess. So to be honest I have selfish reasons why I do this religiously. It makes me happy, I have a sense of balance and joy that is not present without it. Because this step is my medicine and when I don't take it I usually hurt those I love and myself.
Spirituality is the solution that I sought for so many years in addiction. The thing is that you always have to be seeking, and growing, to have a healthy spiritual life. You never graduate and it will always change. What works for a while is not guaranteed to always.
Rose Lockinger is passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of addiction. She has visited all over North and South America. Single mom to two beautiful children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world. Currently the Outreach Director at Stodzy Internet Marketing.