In my opinion, Step 11 is one of the most crucial steps to long term sobriety because it is contingent upon maintaining our spiritual condition. The spirituality aspect of my recovery is the power source which can be displayed in many different forms. Now it is part of my daily reprieve to be in constant contact with my Higher Power, which I choose to call God. I start my day out in prayer and ask for God’s guidance and will to keep me sober another day, and to show me ways to be of service to the next sick and suffering alcoholic. It gets my day started on the right track when I feel like I’m in touch with God.
In the past, I was guilty of only practicing the “foxhole” prayer. One example that always stands out in my mind also happens to be the scariest moment of my life. I was three months into active addiction after relapsing when I got into a bad car accident. It was the perfect storm for disaster – tired from working a double shift, emotionally drained after arguing with a guy the night before, being in a dark place during the holiday season, and all the while I was on Xanax. Before I knew it, I crashed into a ditch and was trapped in my car. There was smoke and flames, and I honestly thought I would be burned alive. I was banging on the window begging for God to help me and making a deal with Him that if He saved me, I would never use again. Next thing I know, my back window was being broken with a crowbar by a guy named Brad and another man who pulled me out of the wreckage. You would think that was a sign of God holding up his end of my proposal, but a week later I was using again.
I was brought up Catholic and I have always been somewhat religious/spiritual, but before recovery, I did not practice it as much, let alone realize how detrimental it is to my well-being. I was in therapy for years and taking anti-anxiety medications to calm my nerves and irrational thinking. When I first tried drugs, they gave me that peace of mind I was searching for, which lead me to praying when I found myself in some sort of trouble. However, these days it is the strong connection with my Higher Power gifting me with serenity and prayer in moments of gratitude. I am aware now more than ever that I am never alone, and by living through God’s will it provides me with constant reassurance of that.
“Pray with your feet,” was something a wise older gentleman once told me when discussing Step 11 and it stuck with me. The quote is a call to action meaning we must realize we are active participants in life because prayer is more than just kneeling and waiting for God to answer us. We must also pray (on our feet) through service work and giving back, and striving to follow God’s will. I try to always do the next right thing and put my selfish, self-seeking motives in check. It’s important to help another addict/alcoholic whenever and wherever possible. Step 11 truly brings a significant change to the way I view myself and the world. It is a continuous process that always has room for improvement, and I am eager to learn more about how I can build on that conscious contact. Thy will, not mine, be done.