Ever since I first read it, I have been intrigued by the last phrase in step 11: “…and the power to carry that [the will of God] out.” I have felt so powerless all my life, and the prospect of gaining power felt almost intoxicating.
It seemed to me that – in some mysterious way – I might be able to gain special powers from on high if I learned to pray and meditate. Well, the promise of ‘power’ is definitely implied in step 11. But I doubt that it’s as mysterious as I once thought.
For one thing, I have experienced the power of honesty. I can truly say I remember the powerlessness of toxic shame and its accompanying behavior: The telling of lies.
When I decided to face the facts about my broken life, and began to tell the truth, I soon felt the power of God take hold of my being – body, soul and spirit. As I got real and became honest with myself for the first time, I sensed a freedom that I’d left behind many years ago.
Why is there power in honesty?
Because honesty ushers in a whole new order! My life was out of order when I lived deep in my addiction. That’s why I felt so out of control. The more I tried to gain control of my circumstances and other people (by telling lies) the worse things got. The harder I tried to fix things my way, the more my life spun out of control. It wasn’t until I did the 12 Steps and got reacquainted with the proper (and natural) order of the universe that I was able to experience first hand the power of God.
By learning to be honest you are saying “goodbye” to fantasy, lies and isolation. Honesty allows you to say “hello” to reality, truth and 12-Step fellowship.
Prayer and meditation will do you no good at all if you aren’t being honest with yourself. Prayer and meditation will only help if you are completely honest with yourself and with God. Honesty with other people will naturally follow.
And so will the power to carry out the will of God.