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Step 11 of the 12-Step Program focuses on establishing the daily practices of prayer and meditation. This step can be difficult for those who have never prayed, meditated, or set aside time each day for self-reflection. Although it’s hard work, the rewards are great, and these efforts help many people stay sober and live a more fulfilling life in recovery.
If you’ve just started working Step 11, this article provides helpful information on its purpose in the program, as well as tips and advice on how to get started. No aspect of addiction recovery is easy including 12-Step work, but there are plenty of resources and people to help you along the way.
What are the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)?
Step 11: 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.
Step 12: Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Why Is Step 11 Of the 12-Step Program Important?
Step 11 helps you develop spiritual awareness through disciplined practices like prayer, meditation, and quiet reflection. These daily practices are important because they help you deepen your connection with your higher power, who was not previously a part of your life when you weren’t sober. Overall, this process changes how you view yourself and the world around you.
Some people get hung up on the words “prayer” and “God” when they start working Step 11 in the Big Book. However, it’s important to remember that anyone, even someone who is an atheist or agnostic, can make time to be still, quiet, and reflective. Having a traditional posture of prayer isn’t the goal. Although some may prefer that, the ultimate goal is to engage in time spent in self-reflection and be open to listening, whether that’s to your inner voice, your Higher Power, or God.
Making prayer, meditation, and self-reflection a daily occurrence is an important part of recovery for the reasons listed above. However, it can also minimize issues that may lead to depression or anxiety, which will have a serious impact on your sobriety.
Many people working Step 11 of the 12-Step Program may not have any previous experience with prayer or meditation, but they often discover that in the process of doing so, they’ve experienced something described as a “spiritual awakening.” For some, it provides new purpose and meaning in life. Although this is not everyone’s experience, it’s a common occurrence and often contributes to long-lasting sobriety and a new, healthier lifestyle.
How Should I Work Step 11 of the 12-Step Program?
If you’re searching for practical tips on how to work Step 11, here are a few that may help you along the way:
- Don’t stress about religion. The purpose of Step 11 is not to convert you to any particular religion. Instead, it’s all about developing spiritual disciplines that will help you stay sober and acknowledge your Higher Power’s plan for your life. Try to let go of any assumptions you have about AA or the 12 Steps and focus on actively listening to your inner voice or your higher power when you reflect, pray, or meditate.
- Reward yourself for consistency. Developing any new habit is hard. If you’re struggling to pray or meditate daily, reward yourself when you consistently do it for a set amount of time. Your reward could be going to the movies with a friend, eating out at your favorite restaurant, or taking a weekend day to do something new that you’ve always wanted to try.
- Do what’s most comfortable for you. Everyday you should set aside a certain amount of time for self-reflection. However, it’s totally up to you to define what this looks like. If it means going to a park and sitting on a picnic blanket while you meditate outside, go for it! Or maybe you prefer to find a quiet corner in your room where you can lift your hands up to God and pray with your head bowed. More power to you! However you’re most comfortable spending this time, just make sure you eliminate all distractions and really focus on listening to get the most out of it.
- Don’t give up. If you feel weird or uncomfortable praying or meditating, you’re not alone. This is a foreign practice for lots of people and it takes time to develop the practice for yourself and get used to it. Just keep at it and eventually, you will figure out what’s most comfortable for you as you settle into a routine.
Printable AA Step Eleven Worksheets
Working the 12-Step program alone isn’t advisable. It’s always best to do so with the guidance of a sponsor, counselor, or addiction treatment professional. In addition, you can also use the following printable Step 11 worksheets as a reference:
Who Can Help Me Work the 11th Step of the 12-Step Program?
At Briarwood Detox Center, we provide individualized drug and alcohol detox in Austin, Texas to help individuals break their physical dependence on drugs and alcohol and prepare for ongoing treatment in a rehab program. For many of our clients, adopting the 12-Step Program is a part of this process, so we also offer H&I meetings to give them an introduction to the program and provide hope for what’s to come.
Once you’ve completed detox, our caring treatment professionals will also help you plan out your next steps for ongoing recovery, whether that means attending a residential Austin drug rehab program or enrolling in online IOP.
If you’re ready to start living a sober life, please contact us online or call (512) 262-4426 today. One of our caring and knowledgeable admissions representatives is waiting to speak with you.