The Eleventh Step: We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out.
I love the eleventh step. I actually love all the steps as originally stated in AA and adapted to other 12-step programs. I love them for their subtlety, complexity and simplicity. I love them because they work. I encourage many of my patients, those with addiction/alcoholism problems and those without obvious addictive behavior, to go to 12-step programs. Some listen to my suggestion; many don’t. Those that do and end up really working the program invariably benefit.
As a Yoruba Priest, it’s probably no surprise that the Eleventh Step would be one of my favorites because it involves contact with God. However, my admiration goes deeper than that.
I love the Eleventh Step because it expresses the essence of faith. If I were to demonstrate my feelings about it graphically, the Eleventh Step would look like this:
We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying ONLY for KNOWLEDGE of God’s will for us and the POWER to carry that out.
That’s right! That’s what we ask for. Not for what we think we want or don’t want; not for anything other than to know God’s will and once we know it, the ability, tools and support to carry that out. In other words, the step is saying that the only information we really need in life is knowledge of God’s will and what it takes to carry out God’s will. If we have that connection to the God of our understanding, we can do, be and become anything because it will happen with Divine blessings and support. All the rest of it is secondary.
I can attest personally to the truth of the wisdom of the Eleventh Step. Whenever I follow what the Divinities in my faith prescribe for me, it works out. Not that I don’t have to do any work of my own. I often have to do a lot of work. But knowing I am on a divinely lead path helps me work hard. On the other hand, whenever I don’t or think I don’t have to ask, things either don’t work out or are fraught with difficulty and disappointment.
Having that kind of faith can be daunting to most people. It was for me for many years. I appreciate that it is especially difficult in these times of confusion and suffering. But to me, it seems necessary. For those skeptics in the audience, I challenge you to try it. If it doesn’t work for you, you’ve lost nothing. But if it does, you have opened the door to a lifetime of spiritual guidance and support. In some ways, life becomes less of a struggle. I’m not saying it will become easy but you will be traveling with the tides and flow and not against them.
If you pray, next time try to include the guidance of the Eleventh Step in your prayers. And if you don’t pray, why not see what happens if you do? Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
© Copyright 2010 by Kalila Borghini, LCSW, therapist in New York City, New York. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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