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Audio Version  

Step Eleven mentions prayer and meditation, a very important part of my life today, but neither of which were present in it prior to coming to wonderful AA, over twenty years ago.

When I arrived, I had no idea how it worked. I didn't know that the word 'God' would be used, a word I didn't like at the time, that there was a 'Big Book,' that there was 'Steps,' or that prayer or meditation would be involved.

I had drunk for over thirty years. What had started as a friend in need was now destroying me. I was again suicidal, I had tried it ten years before, had been in a mental hospital, and was now suicidal again.

How I felt is beautifully described on page eight of the Big Book where it says, "No words can tell of the loneliness and despair I found in that bitter morass of self-pity." I was in a terrible state, but at my first meeting I got hope. I could see from those around me, that there was a solution.

I was taken for a cup of tea afterwards. We talked, we discussed my life and all the problems I had. These people said they had been like me, in despair, lonely, suicidal, which seemed unlikely, as they were not only sober but they appeared happy and contented with their lives. However, they assured me they had been like me.

They said that if I did what they did I would also feel the same. They asked me if I was powerless over alcohol, to which I said “of course”,  then they suggested that I needed to have a 'Higher Power' in my life.

I had never heard the term before. They said that what they did each night was that they got on their knees and said thank you to a power greater than themselves for keeping them sober that day, and next morning they asked on their knees the same power  to keep them sober that day, all so they could be of help to other alcoholics.

It all seemed so strange, so weird, but what had I to lose? I was in so much pain and despair.

I did it that night and the next morning, and have done it each night and morning since, and have not had or wanted a drink in that period 

When I look back to that day, I was in so much pain that I was willing to try anything. I met people who I was able to identify with; they had a solution, which they passed on to me, which I tried, found it worked and which I try to pass on to others.

I think what happened is beautifully explained on page 25 of the Big Book, where it says, "When, therefore, we were approached by those in whom the problem had been solved, there was nothing left for us but to pick up the simple kit of spiritual tools laid at our feet."

If anyone had told me when I went to my first meeting, that I would be getting on my knees that night, and praying, I would have laughed at them, but pain made me go to the meeting, made me listen to learn, and made me put into practice the spiritual tools that were laid at my feet.

What made it easy was that I could have a God of my own concept, and also that my prayers could be in my own words. 'Thank you God/Higher Power for keeping me sober today,' I now realise that these can be considered a prayer.

I quickly got involved in service, and soon got a sponsor. He very kindly took me through the Steps. He got me involved in 'home groups’ and later in Intergroup. He also recommended I write daily gratitude lists, and read AA literature, particularly the wonderful Big Book.

I also quickly learnt the Serenity Prayer, and to daily read and try to put into practice the suggestions on the 'Just for Today' card.

I also appreciate as the years have gone by, that as it says on page 85 of the Big Book, "What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition." 

So daily I now do spiritual things; praying on my knees night and morning, saying the Serenity Prayer, saying other prayers, for prayer has become a very important part of my life, going to meetings to see if I can belp out and constantly seeing if I can help newcomers.

Meditation is also mentioned in Step Eleven, and this is also now an important part of my life.

Step Eleven, mentions the word 'improve' and although it can be nice to improve my bank balance, or my music ability, or my golf handicap, I now realise that the word improve relates to 'improving a conscious contact with God as I understand Him,' and this is a beautiful thing to do, to daily improve a relationship with something I never knew existed before I came to AA.

Thank you lovely God, wonderful AA, and all in it, and may we pray that it happily and healthily spiritually grows and glows.