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 Step Eleven 
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Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2014 6:54 pm
Posts: 55
11. We sought through practices such as meditation and prayer to improve our conscious contact with power greater than ourselves, seeking only knowledge of what to do and the strength to do so.


Sun Dec 28, 2014 3:52 pm
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Joined: Sat May 17, 2014 3:06 pm
Posts: 888
Location: Charlottesville
State/Province/Country: Virginia
Meditation practice has been amazing for me. I highly recommend it. There are books of many different flavors on the subject. The one I read most recently is called Mindfulness: Finding Peace in a Frantic World, written by a psychologist/professor and a scientist/writer from a scientific point of view. Recent studies have shown meditation to be more effective in treating certain mental conditions than the drugs typically prescribed for those conditions. I have had great results too, depending on how much time I devoted to it. I got the best results when having group meditation with a friend or two.

Prayer has been a difficult thing for me. I have a non-simple relationship with prayer, i guess. I grew up firmly believing in it, but then discarded it when I discarded religion. I picked it back up for a couple of years in early recovery but have been mostly neglecting it since then.

I can clearly see that my daily prayers helped in early recovery, despite the fact that I had very strong doubts about it and felt uneasy about triggering childhood trauma connected to religion. At my sponsor's suggestion, I kept it very short and simple. Every morning I started out by declaring my openness to help. This “prayer” wasn't directed toward a deity or any specific concept of higher power. It was an open declaration to myself and the universe.

I'm certain that starting each day out that way helped tremendously. I was declaring my intention daily to strive toward healthy principles and my openness to accepting help and guidance from outside myself, whether from the fellowship or my sponsor or elsewhere. Whether the various claims about prayer are true or not, or how benefits result from the act of prayer, didn't seem to matter. What mattered was that I tried something that seemed to be working for other people, found that I functioned much better when I did, and thus kept doing it.

At the end of each day, I made a declaration of gratitude, a second “prayer”, primarily gratitude for another day of recovery, of abstinence, and gratitude for other things too. Gratitude is something that doesn't come easily. I need to consistently practice it. My daily declaration of gratitude was very helpful.

I highly recommend these practices of daily gratitude and openness to change and help, in whatever form people are able to sincerely do them. They make a difference, regardless of philosophical or spiritual or religious beliefs. It made a big difference for me, helped me get my head screwed on straight, helped me overcome some negativity, and lessened my resistance to connection with others and help from others.

Like I said, I haven't kept these practices up consistently. My addiction fights them tooth and nail, and is helped by the negative associations I have around prayer. But when I do put the effort in, I get good results. That's how I judge the various tools of recovery. Suspend judgment, try it out, judge it by the results I get, keep doing it if it works, and stop doing it if it doesn't. This approach has served me well.


Mon Aug 10, 2015 6:12 pm
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Joined: Sat May 17, 2014 4:59 pm
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Location: Colorado (Front Range Urban Corridor)
State/Province/Country: Colorado, USA
I have also begun to return to daily prayer, which my sponsor suggested that I do as part of my work on step 3, and which I did for a while, but then slacked off on. And, not believing in a deity that can fix my car when it breaks down, my prayers are directed more towards higher power as I understand it--the part of me that is deeply connected to you, to the wisdom of my ancestors, to the purpose of my life (being of service), to the wisdom of the program, to the principle of love and compassion, and to conscience.

Meditation has been more challenging to me. I recently found a 20-minute guided meditation that I really like (normally I don't like to listen to someone else talking while I'm trying to get calm) and have started doing it regularly. I also do "meditation moments" throughout the day, where I take a few deep breaths, remind myself of the principle of acceptance, relax my face and neck, and slow the spinning mind briefly. Those are actually quite helpful. But I need to go more deeply into meditation, because I've read about the science that says it changes the brain for the better, and I pretty much believed it did before reading that--it's got a long enough history that there has to be some value.

So I'm currently on this path. Trying to rebuild a routine of daily prayers, and starting some meditative practices. I'm also wanting to start some simple physical exercises, quick ones, to create a regular practice I can expand. But one step at a time.

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You have to go the way the way your blood beats:
If you don't live the only life you have,
You won't live some other life,
You just won't live any life at all.

I was dan1 in a former life.

skype: dan939f
reddit: DansNewLife


Sun Aug 16, 2015 12:57 am
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Joined: Sat May 17, 2014 4:43 pm
Posts: 343
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
State/Province/Country: Cleveland, Ohio
I too learned in my very early recovery to keep it simple and to ask (which I was told was prayer) out loud each morning for help in staying game free today and at night to say thank you out loud for the day. It didn't matter if I knew or understood or whatever who or whatever I was asking/talking to, what mattered was I was asking instead of relying on my self and my thinking.

I had a bigger problem with meditation as I didn't quite understand what it meant. Someone told me it was listening - meaning to just sit quietly for a period of time (I try to do 10 minutes regularly but suck at it) and even to have paper and pencil and write down everything that goes through my mind during that "quiet time". Basically, I was told that prayer was "asking or talking" and meditation was "listening" and both were a way to become connected to something other than my AB (which had been 100% controlling my thoughts and actions) - whether I call it the universe, spirit, a higher power, collective intelligence as Einstein called it, God, whatever. With the pencil and paper method, I too have practiced at times doing this with others in recovery, sharing what I've written down during meditation and hearing what they have written down.

My "prayers" have grown past just asking for help with staying game free each day to asking for guidance and direction on a whole host of things that come up each day ranging from what to do about a certain situation to requests for removal of my fears or other problems I'm having and as a result, my "listening" or written meditation has become quite interesting.

Like anything else, the more I practice it, no matter what I'm feeling ("feelings aren't facts"), the more I begin to be able differentiate between my AB's (addict brain's) chaotic thoughts and the truth. I've been able to do this at the start of each day but have never done it at the end of each day because I'm usually tired and just say a thank you prayer, but I've at times also practiced the part where it says in the big book "as we go through the day, we pause when agitated or doubtful and ask for the right thought or action".

My AB is constantly wanting to deceive me, upset me, scare me, depress me, confuse me, torture me until I want to do anything to escape my own head. Step 11 is the way for me to get that pesky AB to quiet down a bit and when practiced regularly to even get it to shut up for a little while. I've recently started reading the book from Eckart Tolle called "The Power of Now" which although not related to the 12 steps or addiction, is about meditation and ways to stay connected to the "real self" and not be controlled by the AB.

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Hugs,

Lisa


Sun Aug 16, 2015 9:28 am
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Joined: Sat May 17, 2014 4:43 pm
Posts: 343
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
State/Province/Country: Cleveland, Ohio
Here is a worksheet I found for step 11.


Attachments:
Step_Eleven_Worksheets.pdf [2.05 MiB]
Downloaded 141 times

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Hugs,

Lisa
Sun Feb 07, 2016 5:01 pm
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Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2016 5:21 pm
Posts: 87
State/Province/Country: NC, USA
Was in 2 Step 11 meetings last week and figured maybe God was trying to tell me something.

What with all the mental obsession I've been getting in to lately, I figured maybe, just maybe, God was trying to drop the hint that I might think about seeking his will for me or, I dunno, meditate once in a while.

I've doing alright with the prayer part of "prayer and meditation" lately- getting on my knees and saying the 3rd step prayer, occaisionally the Serenity Prayer, and praying for some folks I don't like too much in the morning. While that's been helping, it hasn't been doing anything to stem the flow of mental obsession, egotism, and insanity. So this morning I decided to settle in for a short mediation, too. Just 5 minutes- I know I can't do 30 and if I set out to try then I will be setting myself up to fail. But man, just the 5 minutes of sitting on my buttocks and focusing on my breath has made the difference today.

Maybe I'll do it again tomorrow. Maybe. I don't want to recover too quickly, do I? :P


Tue Feb 14, 2017 6:31 pm
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