With almost two decades of experience with Step 3, I can say that my concept of a Higher Power has changed a million times. My willingness to turn things over perpetually waxes and wanes, but I have consistent proof that I have always been taken care of, that I always get what I need, and when I seek God’s will for my life and make my spiritual pursuits more important than my human desires, my life evolves in a way that is nothing short of miraculous.
Step eleven, like step ten, is not a step that is worked once and then forgotten. Instead, it is part of an ongoing (usually daily) ritual of recovery. That said, recovering addicts often find “prayer” and “meditation” to be somewhat baffling concepts. And some, especially those who began the recovery process as agnostics or atheists, may still be struggling with the idea of having a higher power at all. For these reasons (and many others), step eleven can be a difficult one to work. If you find yourself struggling with this step, take heart in the fact that you are not alone. Even the most devoutly spiritual and/or religious members of twelve-step recovery groups sometimes lose their way here.
Coming to Step Nine of the twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous was somewhat daunting, yet easier, as I then had the experience of God on my side. The Fifth Step brought a sense of relief – the beginning of a serene life. For the first time since I was a small boy I felt the presence of God in my life. I knew then that sobriety by itself was not enough, that I desired to be recovered. I knew that the solution was and is a vital spiritual experience and having a relationship with God in whom I trust. Therefore, I had plenty of motivation and desire to adopt the humility necessary to make amends to the people I had harmed – Step Nine.
We’ve been talking about Recovery Consciousness lately. In a nutshell, as stated in our post from January 9, 2018, “Recovery Consciousness is honoring sobriety by allowing it to be a springboard into a full spectrum, abundantly expressed, enjoyably lived life.” This week we’re going out on a limb with our curated post, meaning some of our readers may be upset–or even angry–at the thought of someone rewriting The Steps. So, just to be clear, we are in no way saying that AA’s 12 Steps need to be rewritten. We simply wanted to share this article that offers a “translation” of sorts for people who, for whatever reason, want or need something a little different.
Recently I had the opportunity to speak to a group of Normies about the 12 Steps. The phrase “12-Step Program” is so ingrained in our culture now, but beyond the phrase itself, therein lies a mystery. Many people don’t realize that there really are 12 Steps and that they are a step-by-step process for self-awareness, self-discovery, and self-improvement. Many may not know that each step is affiliated with a universal principle.
Wouldn’t Bill Wilson be a great choice when playing that game of “pick 3 people – alive or dead – fictional or real – that you’d like to sit with at a dinner table and shoot the breeze?” One thing I’d ask is, “How literally did you mean to suggest that the Big Book be taken? Do you think that there is any room for interpretation in the program?” In my imaginary conversation, Bill would say, “Hell,” (because he seems like the kind of crusty old codger who would start off like that) “I just want people to be able to stay sober and live in the sunlight of the spirit so they will know the joy, peace, and serenity I have come to know.”
I was rereading the Big Book recently looking for some references, and noticed there are a few points along the 12 step way where the action we are asked to take is done mentally or internally. Things like making or reaffirming a decision, and reconnecting with the higher power nature of the infinite, and with the higher power nature in ourselves. That’s interesting – I guess alcoholics need that extra reminder to stop and be clear about what we are doing by re-minding ourselves to pause – even when not agitated – but pause and think, reflect, stay tuned in. That’s a big one for me – it’s helpful to slow down and take a breath now and then.
I want to tell you that my new eBook, Think Right Into Limitless Sobriety Volume II, is now available! Think Right Into Limitless Sobriety Volume II explores the spiritual principles of the next three steps in the 12-step program: Steps Four, Five and Six. And those principles include Courage, Willingness, and Vulnerability. I hope that you’ll give it a look, and I hope that you like it and get something out of it. And as always, please know I look forward to hearing your thoughts, your feedback, your comments on the books and on the blog.