Monday, November 15, 2010

Step 11

“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 am a big Star Wars fan. Ok, a HUGE Star Wars fan. I know way too many lines from those movies. But, despite my cinematic geek tendencies, my vast space movie knowledge will prove helpful for this article. “The force is strong in this one,” as they say!
     Did you know there is actually a Jedi religion? Yes, there are Star Wars fans that, in their dedication to all things Lucas, have gleaned a theology of sorts from the Star Wars films and adapted it for everyday use in their day to day lives. I’m not kidding, seriously, stop laughing!
     Upon closer inspection, it appears that Jedi-ism is a conglomeration of world views. These beliefs share themes such as loving your neighbor, doing good, avoiding evil, being good stewards of the Earth, etc. All good principles, for sure!
     When we talk about addiction recovery, no conversation is complete without discussing the issue of prayer and meditation. Regardless of one’s theological preferences, prayer and meditation are important in the life of recovery for several reasons. First, prayer is the way that a person communicates with his or her higher power. It is a way to laugh, cry, vent, yell, scream, plead, and thank our higher power for the things we experience in life. It is the language of relationship with our higher power.
     Remember, our higher power is just that, a power greater than ourselves that is living and cares intimately about the details of our lives. As in all relationships, communication is essential to grow the relationship. Otherwise, it becomes stale even lifeless. Therefore, step 11 calls us to be in contact with our higher power on a daily basis through prayer.
     If prayer is speaking to our higher power, than meditation would be the act of listening to our higher power’s answer. I once heard someone respond to the question how does our higher power answer our prayers by saying, “Our higher power answers with three words…yes, no, and wait.” I think that is a great way to understand prayer requests we make to our higher power. There is always an answer even if it is not the answer we want to hear.
     In meditation, we intentionally set aside time to reflect on our lives. It is a time to look inward and take stock of our thoughts, feelings, and impressions we receive from our higher power about the people, places, and things that direct the course of our lives. If we are quiet and listen, we will hear the faint, whisper of our higher power calling out to us with wisdom, guidance, and direction.
     The practice of Step 11 is essentially a daily renewal of the reality we came to accept in Step 1, namely, that we are powerless over alcohol and drugs and that our lives had become unmanageable. The practice and renewed commitment of such truth will yield healthy results in our day to day lives. When we practice these habits, we remain right-sized. By being right-sized, we remain humble and thus are teachable. No one can accept help from an extended hand if his/her own hands are full. We must drop our preconceived notions and highly regarded opinions and open ourselves up to the reality that we are small, finite creatures in need of an infinite power that is greater than us to help us continue on the daily path of recovery!

Chris Newcomb – Aftercare Coordinator/Recovery Coach

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