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Discipline for the Day

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With enormous gratitude, I celebrate nineteen years of OA recovery this month. However, it is not the number of days abstinent that defines me today. What matters most is taking actions to manifest outwardly the changes inside me.

This does not simply come about by following a food plan. It is also not enough to say, “God, do your thing.” It takes action on my part and a self-discipline that is gentle, loving, and kind. This is why Step Eleven is a daily action for me. At 5 a.m., when my alarm rings, I commit the first part of my day to the God of my understanding by following this rhythm:

I get on my knees.
I pray to God, sharing my concerns and reciting the first three Steps, the Third Step Prayer, and the Seventh Step Prayer.

God speaks to me. This is my meditative time, when I listen to what God is trying to tell me. I pray for the willingness to listen more and speak less!

I read from the Big Book, including from pages 24–25, 68, 84–88, and 100.

I read from three recovery-based daily readers (not all are OA-approved), including For Today. I choose a different OA daily reader each year.

I write in my journal, first about areas in my life under review and then brief comments under these four headings: Surrender. What do I need to surrender to today?

Outstanding. What do I aim to be outstanding at today (acceptance, patience, tolerance, etc.)?

Grateful. What am I grateful for today? Abstinence is always first on my list. Pray for. I list the people uppermost in my mind. Sometimes, I add details about their situation.

I finish with positive affirmations, and then I choose an OA saying from a collection of laminated cards I’ve made.

My Step Eleven lasts around thirty minutes and is a discipline that sets me up for the day. I am so grateful for the willingness to do this. Spending this time connecting each day is so precious to me because it enables me to live a full life, one guided by spiritual principles and a God of my understanding who never, ever—not even momentarily—leaves me.

While that alarm clock is not the most welcome noise in my day, Step Eleven is a daily practice that I would not want to be without. As our simple direction says, “It works if we work it!”

— Heather

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