Home Higher Power Stepping-Stones, Nuggets, and Gems

Stepping-Stones, Nuggets, and Gems

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Spirituality is the solution to our problem of powerlessness, and we find this solution in the Twelve Step program of recovery. I’ve experienced three stepping-stones in this process: Amen, Amends, Amended Life.

Step Three. Amen. So be it. I’ve made a decision to surrender to this process.

Steps Four to Nine. The process of housecleaning, ending with my amends.

Steps Ten to Twelve. The third stepping-stone begins with Step Ten, which is practicing the process of Steps Four to Nine on a daily basis. In Step Ten, the Big Book says we are now living a new way of life: developing a “vital sixth sense” (Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., p. 85), thinking on “the plane of inspiration” (p. 87), and living a “spiritual life” (p. 83)—an amended life.

The last promise of Step Nine states, “We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.” (p. 84). The purpose of Step Ten is to convince us that this is true, so Step Ten lists a lot of promises (pp. 84–85)— the results of our actions—to convince us to move on to Step Eleven:

“We have ceased fighting anything or anyone—even alcohol.” It must be God.

“We will seldom be interested in liquor. If tempted, we recoil from it as from a hot flame.” It must be God.

“We react sanely and normally, and we  will find that this has happened automatically.” It must be God.

I have prayerfully read Step Ten in the Big Book, repeating, “It must be God,” every time I read a promise, and that’s what convinced me of the Power of God and my need for God. “That is how we react so long as we keep in fit spiritual condition” (p. 85). If I stay connected, God can work in me, through me, and with me. If I choose to disconnect after Step Nine, then my willpower will run out and my sanity will run out with it. And, once again, food will be my only option.

In Step Ten, however, I have only just made contact with God. Yet “what we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition” (p. 85). Since that is the case, then I’d better get to know this wonderful God and form a relationship with him using the Tools and support of the program. To cross the bridge from Step Ten to Step Eleven “we must go further and that means more action” (p. 85).

To me, the purpose of Step Eleven is to develop and deepen a relationship with the Power source, which is done through  prayer and meditation. The OA Twelve and Twelve says, “prayer is simply what we do when we talk with our Higher Power, and meditation is simply a way of stilling our minds, listening, and opening our spirits to God’s influence” (p. 77). Step Eleven says we are “praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry it out.” That tells me prayer is not a “gimme, gimme, gimme” or asking for my desired results. And what has emerged for me is a broader definition of meditation: the energy resulting from my quiet morning prayer that enables me to extend and broaden my conscious contact and live it throughout the day.

The Big Book gives us an outline of Step Eleven—what to do at night, on awakening, in the morning, and all through the day. This is my personal experience:

At night. I lie in bed and pray, “Create a clean heart in me, O God, and renew within me a steadfast, willing spirit. Into your hands, I commend my spirit.”

On awakening. When my alarm rings, I hear God say, “Arise my beloved, my beautiful one. Come.” I respond, “My heart is ready, O God; my heart is ready. Be it done unto me according to your will.” I then kneel by my bed and pray, “God, I surrender my will and my life to you. Direct my thinking. I ask only for knowledge of your will for me and your power to carry it out.”

In the morning. In thinking about my day, I sit quietly with God. I also prepare for phone calls with other OA members and read from spiritual texts as desired. I usually get to walk and reflect, and I attend religious services.

All through the day. This is where I use nuggets and gems from the Big Book, OA Twelve and Twelve, and AA Twelve and Twelve to keep me awake spiritually and extend my meditation all through the day.

In Step Eleven, I need to be willing to improve my conscious contact with God. I need to speak honestly to God through prayer regarding all my disturbances—not gimmes and requests—and I need to be open-minded and awake in order to hear God’s response, which can come at any time, day or night, and both in quiet moments and through others. (If I am not open-minded and awake, God’s response still comes. I just don’t hear it.) As a result, my relationship with God will continue to deepen. God is my magnet who continues to draw me closer and closer to him:

I am convinced of the need for prayer and meditation in order to establish and improve my conscious contact with God.

I am convinced that I need to deepen my relationship with God on a daily basis.

I am convinced that God will continue to change me if I surrender to his will.

I am convinced that God can and will transform me if I surrender to his will.

It’s the third stepping-stone, beginning with Step Ten, that has instructed me on why and how to form a relationship with God, one that evolves from an initial discovery of God deep within myself to constant conscious contact, if I let it, through the action of extended meditation.

I’ve come to rely on nuggets and gems found in our literature to help keep me connected to God. I encourage you to seek these gems, and I guarantee that if you seek them you will find them. I especially encourage you to remember the last promise of Step Nine, “We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could do for ourselves” (p. 84). This promise is a gift that keeps on giving, and it comes to fruition as we continue to live an amended life. It must be God.

—Jeanette R.

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