Why bother with Step 11?

What was Bill W thinking?

I mean, what are we supposed to do with “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God…” ?

It makes a nice “spiritual program” sound kind of religious, don’t you think?  We could call it the “Church of Bill W.” or “The World-Wide Church of Recover-ology.”

To an agnostic all this ‘God’ stuff does sound pretty religious.  And to a religious person it sounds really lame.  The phrase “as we understood God” makes me wonder who or what we are dealing with!

When I reflect upon the necessity for Step 11, it occurs to me that a whole bunch of us give lip service to this step, but don’t really practice it.  We sort of skip from Step 10 over to Step 12.  None of us verbalize it, but the question we may be asking is, “What practical benefit can we addicts derive from working Step 11?”

Don’t get me wrong.  I believe in God.   I happen to be a Christian, and my God is the God of the Old and New Testament – Father, Son and Holy Ghost.  But if “Higher Power” is just a rock or, at best, the ‘group’ – what benefit results from praying to a rock… or the group… or a rock group? 

If prayer and meditation is going to produce practical results (in other words, if I ever hope to gain knowledge and power of God’s will through conscious contact), “Higher Power” needs to conform to certain criteria.  I believe there are four: 

1.Personal  2.Present  3.Patient  4.Powerful

If there’s going to be some kind of communication going on between my Higher Power and me, I think you would agree that my Higher Power needs to be personal and present.  In other words, the God of my understanding must think and feel as I do in this present moment.  What good would it do us to have a Higher Power that can’t hear, can’t speak and can’t communicate in the here-and-now?

Similarly, what help would I receive from a ‘God’ who (although personal) had no compassion or understanding for my weakness as an addict?  If recovery is all about ‘progress, not perfection’ how could my Higher Power help me if this ‘God’ had no tolerance for my imperfections?  My Higher Power needs to have patience.

And finally, my Higher Power must be powerful.  Obvious, right?  If I am going to spend the time in prayer and meditation in order to gain knowledge and power, my ‘God’ must have the ability to deliver what I so desperately need… knowledge and power!

Before I got into recovery, I believed in a God that could.  But not in a God that would.  It has become obvious to me that “Higher Power” must be willing and able to communicate with me as well as deliver knowledge of God’s will and the power to live it.  

In a word:  Higher Power is all about Love.