Step 11 of the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous reads “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our constant contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of his will for us and the power to carry that out”.
The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous provides a lot of instruction. For almost each step of the process required to experience a psychic change, as the book describes a spiritual experience, there is a paragraph or two within the famous text’s pages. Discussing step 11, the authors dive into the different prayers that should be said throughout the day, which really act more like guides to mindfulness than spiritual guidelines. What isn’t included is a guide for meditation. The authors describe two way prayer. Many people in recovery remark that praying is talking to God while meditating is listening.
One unique thing about The Big Book and Alcoholics Anonymous is the way it opens up the idea of God to be of personal interpretation. “As we understood him” plays an enormous role in the recovery of people who were previously agnostic or atheist. Similarly, the authors leave the practice of meditation open too. Though they provide suggestions for focus, they do not specifically list how to meditate.
“Meditation” tends to solicit images of a person sitting cross legged, arms resting on the legs, eyes peacefully closed, taking deep careful breaths. Much of meditation is this way. However, not all of meditation has to be this way. Meditation does not mean “sit quietly with your eyes closed and focus on your breath”. Definitively, meditation means to engage in thought for religious or relaxation purposes. When our brains our noisy, filled with fears, anxieties, worldly pleasures, or stresses, we leave little room for the voice of a High Power. Meditation calms that chaos and makes room for spiritual guidance.
Starting a meditation practice is awkward at first. Then again, so was stopping using drugs and drinking alcohol. With time and practice, meditation will become an effortless part of daily life.
Here are few quick tips for starting a meditation practice:
- Designate a space that is dedicated to meditation
- Work with your schedule, but don’t schedule it out. Make time for meditation everyday, even if it is just five minutes.
- Find step 11 meetings that incorporate meditations at the beginning of every meeting
- Remember you are neither perfect nor a saint. You’re learning, one day at a time. Stay patient and compassionate as you develop this new skill.
Developing a spiritual manner of living is a focus at Aurora Recovery Center. We provide evidence based therapeutic treatment methods in addition to spiritual mentoring and care. Each day we see the transformational power of spiritual healing. For more information on our treatment programs for men and women recovering from addiction and dual-diagnosis issues call 1844-515-STOP.