“There is a direct linkage among self-examination, meditation, and prayer. Taken separately, these practices can bring much relief and benefit. But when they are logically related and interwoven, the result is an unshakable foundation for life.”
What an incredible promise! This program is full of promises, each step has its own.
When I was first introduced to the steps there seemed to be no flow to them at all. But I had gotten to the point that I knew that if I didn’t jump in and do the rest of the steps that I was going to drink again. I stopped fighting, I stopped struggling. I surrendered to the reality that this disease was far more powerful than I and that it (alcohol) controlled me, not the other way around.
The actual practice of meditation started when my sponsor suggested that I read pages 86 – 88 in the Big Book. Some quiet time in the morning to start the day, pausing throughout the day, then reflecting on the day in the evening. This simple discipline was all I could do and not with much regularity!. It was enough to keep the ball rolling. It still amazes me that these steps seem to meet us where we’re at. No matter how much the fog has lifted the spiritual principles gleamed from the utilization of these steps has a powerful effect on us.
I found a couple AA meetings that focused on step eleven. They actually did a 20 minute silent meditation which I found very hard to sit through at first! One meeting gave a very simple technique of focusing on your breath and counting them. This simple focus helped quite my mind from all of its chatter, kind of! I heard it said that if my thoughts wonder a thousand times and I bring them back to my focus point a thousand and one that it was a successful meditation. That helped me realize that I don’t have to ‘do it perfectly’ to gain some benefit.
We’ve all heard that old saying, “Be still and know that I am God.” I began to truly experience Its presence in the stillness of meditation. It was an opening, a clearing of a channel. At first I was convinced that there wasn’t a God, or at least not one that cared about us as individuals. Why all the suffering and tragedy in events where it seems like it’s circumstances beyond human control?
What I’ve come to understand is that even that so called ‘suffering’ can be used for good. Every wrecked car, ruined relationship, every time I was sent to jail got me closer to the point of surrendering to that Power Greater than myself. What I thought were my greatest advances weren’t! And what I thought were my greatest defeats were in fact some of the greatest advances. I do not know what’s best for me! I do trust the process of the steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. I’ve not only experienced miracles in my own life but I literally see the dead rising and the blind seeing. Those of us that are sober members of this Fellowship are living miracles, living proof that this thing really does work, when it’s worked!
Today I do feel like I belong, I am a part of this amazing Fellowship. I no longer live in a completely hostile world. I have begun to see that truth, justice, and love are real and eternal things in life. I’m no longer deeply disturbed by all the seeming evidence to the contrary that surrounds me in purely human affairs. When I turn to Him all is well.
~ The New Yorker Group
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