As a Christian I was taught to “pray without ceasing.” I’m not sure what that meant exactly. I think it means to “pray continually.” In other words, “Don’t stop praying.” As I recall, I prayed sporadically… if I prayed at all.
The 12 step program has taught me that recovery is a continual process. Some may feel that they are recovered, but I suspect that referring to your recovery in the past tense (recovered) tends to lead us to believe that it’s all over. We’re done. We don’t need the fellowship anymore.
I realize that – in a sense – I am recovered from the obsession, from continually “acting out.” But I prefer to think of myself as recovering. Recovery is a continual process. It’s something I do everyday. Continually. Religiously.
Bill W. made sure that Step 11 contained the secret to our success. “Sought to improve our conscious contact” is an important ingredient in our continual recovery. The term ‘conscious contact’ carries with it the sense that we are continually improving our contact with Higher Power.
Whether you are in constant contact with God, or the Universe or your higher self, you must continually seek to improve your connection with Higher Power. Through prayer and meditation. Continually.
Simple. We need to improve our awareness. Awareness of self, awareness of Higher Power and the will of God. Life is a two-part game: The inner game and the outer game. Step 11 is part of the inner game. Improving our ‘conscious contact’ is our inner game as addicts. It is the secret of our success.
We can only work Step 12 (our outer game) for so long until we start to run out of spiritual energy – energy from a much higher source. This spiritual energy is what fuels our recovery. Step 11 is how we prevent recovery burn-out – the part where many of us crash and burn.
I have a tendency to go it alone. Once I figure out what I need to do, I try to do it. But, sooner or later, I get to a point where I can’t remember why I’m working so hard at what I thought was so important.
Spending time in prayer and meditation seems so unproductive. If I’m going to sit for a while, I find myself trying to problem-solve. The last thing I want is to remain still in order to improve my ‘conscious contact’ with my higher power.
But the inner game of improving our conscious contact is an important ingredient in our recovery. It’s the secret to our success. The next blog post will explore a little further this concept of ‘conscious contact’ – how we can learn to be still, and become more consciously aware of the present reality that surrounds us.