Orlando Montalvo, LCDC – Executive Director
Let’s talk about Step 11 for a bit. Step 11 states:
“Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry it out.”
Why you ask? Most of us were doing this before we walked into the rooms of AA or treatment. How many of us cried out in pain asking God, “WHY, WHY, WHY?” The reason is we were not ready to admit that we were alcoholic/addict and that our lives had become unmanageable. Some of us had developed a resentment to a God we did not know or fully understand, nor did we know there was a solution to ease our pain and suffering. Being sober for 28 years has brought me in touch with many people that are more knowledgeable than me when it comes to the 12 Step program. I have attached myself to spiritual advisers throughout the last 28 years; I do not claim to be an expert nor do I wish to call myself one for the fear that I have stopped learning. All I am offering is my humble opinion based on my own personal experience with a Step that has been the corner stone and the foundation of my spiritual growth.
Key phrases for me are prayer, meditation, “conscious contact with God” and “knowledge of His will.”
Being raised in a very dysfunctional alcoholic yet religious home, I had a minimal understanding of what prayer/ meditation meant and no clue as to what conscious contact or knowledge of His will meant. Thus started my journey in getting to know and understand this God that I so willing turned my life over to. After reading many books on spirituality and speaking to people from all denominations, I’ve learned that when I pray I need to humble myself in the presence of my Higher Power—whom I choose to call God—and meditate by quieting my mind and listening to the words the resonate from within me.
What was first an attempt at conscious contact has now become continuous contact with God.
I was told early in my journey that in order to understand what God’s will I needed to seek out other spiritual literature to support my journey. For my personal relationship with my Higher Power, this meant reading the Bible and meditating on those powerful words. In doing, so I have learned tie in scripture with the 12 Steps and learned to teach clients about the other ways they can expand their relationship with the Higher Power described in the 12 Steps. All of the groups I have lead touch on the importance of spirituality/growth. Step 12 tells us that, “Having had a spiritual awakening as the results of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics/addicts and to practice this principals in all our affairs.” These same principles were reflected in the path I chose to God.
I have learned to incorporate the elements of other spiritual literature as I grow and help others to do the same.
As you begin your own personal journey through prayer and meditation, keep in mind there are other forms of spiritual literature outside of the AA. These include writings and practices from disciplines such as Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, Rosicrucian, and Christianity, just to name a few. All can lead you in understanding the God of your own choosing.
This may or not be new to some, and it is only a small glimpse of my own personal experience. My hope is that sharing these experiences will help those who may still be struggling.
Be Well and God Bless