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Posts Tagged ‘eleventh step’

We have a spiritual experience in knowing and being touched by something much larger than us, something beyond what we understand, something of mysterious dimensions. It can happen as we stand on the banks of an ageless river, listen to beautiful music, read scripture, or say a prayer with a friend. When we set aside defiance, willfulness, and our demands to subdue whatever we meet, we become receptive to a larger reality. The experience of awe brings out the best in a man because it instills a spirit of respect and gratitude. It inspires humility and expands our minds into realms we can’t express in words

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The longer we stay clean, the less surely we “know” what our Higher Power’s will for us is – and the less it matters. Knowledge of our Higher Power’s will becomes less a “knowing” thing and more a “feeling” thing. We still practice the Eleventh Step faithfully. But rather than look for “signs” from our Higher Power, we begin to rely more on our intuition, trusting our feelings about what will make us comfortable. After staying clean a few years, what we do seem to know is when we are acting against God’s will for us. When we are going against God’s will, we get that old uncomfortable feeling in our gut. That queasiness is a warning that, if we continue in this direction, ahead lie many sleepless nights. We need to pay attention to such feelings, for they are often signals that we are acting contrary to our Higher Power’s will for us. We know God’s will most clearly by how it feels, not by “signs” or words – and it feels right.

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Knowing our loneliness and admitting it to us is the beginning of a spiritual path for many of us. Today we are on a spiritual journey. We already have the means to translate the pain of our loneliness into a deeper spiritual dimension. Most of us in this program came in deeply aware of their feelings of isolation. Now, with the companionship of our Higher Power, we can spend time alone and use it for spiritual growth. As we develop a relationship with ourselves and deepen our knowledge of our Higher Power, our loneliness transforms into solitude. In this quiet moment today, we can be more accepting of ourselves than we were in the past. We admit loneliness has caused us pain, but now we can see that it also can lead us to our deeper self where we find serene solitude. This change is a movement into the spiritual world

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In spite of our best efforts to work our programs and lean on God’s guidance, we sometimes don’t understand what’s going on in our life. We trust, wait, pray, listen to people, listen to ourselves, and the answer still does not come. During those times, we need to understand that we are right where we need to be, even though that place may feel awkward and uncomfortable. Our life does have purpose and direction. We are being changed, healed, and transformed at levels deeper than we can imagine. Good things, beyond our capacity to imagine, are being prepared and brought to us. We are being led and guided. We can become peaceful. We do not have to act in haste or urgency just to relieve our discomfort, just to get an answer. We can wait until our mind is peaceful. We can wait for clear direction. Clarity will come

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Honesty, means more than just not lying. The kind of honesty that is truly indispensable in recovery is self-honesty, which is neither easy nor simple to achieve. In our addiction, we created a storm of self-deception and rationalization, a whirlwind of lies in which the small, quiet voice of self-honesty could not be heard. To become honest with ourselves, we first must stop lying to ourselves. In our Eleventh Step meditations, we must become quiet. Then, in the resulting stillness, we must listen for truth. When we become silent, self-honesty will be there for us to find

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Most of us came into the program with some serious regrets. We had never finished high school, or we had missed going to college. We had destroyed friendships and marriages. We had lost jobs. And we knew that we couldn’t change any of it. We may have thought that we’d always be regretful and simply have to find a way to live with our regrets. On the contrary, we find that our past represents an untapped gold mine the first time we are called on to share it with a struggling newcomer. As we listen to someone share their Fifth Step with us, we can give a special form of comfort that no one else could provide – our own experience. We’ve done the same things. We’ve had the same feelings of shame and remorse. We’ve suffered in the ways only an addict can suffer. We can relate – and so can they. Our past is valuable – in fact, priceless – because we can use all of it to help the addict who still suffers. Our Higher Power can work through us when we share our past. That possibility is why we are here, and its fulfillment is the most important goal we have to accomplish

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What was the worst aspect of active addiction? For many of us, it wasn’t the chance that we might die some day of our disease. The worst part was the living death we experienced every day, the never-ending meaninglessness of life. We felt like walking ghosts, not living, loving parts of the world around us. In recovery, we’ve come to believe that we’re here for a reason: to love ourselves and to love others. In working the Twelve Steps, we have learned to accept ourselves. With that self-acceptance has come self-respect. We have seen that everything we do has an effect on others; we are a part of the lives of those around us, and they of ours. We’ve begun to trust other people and to acknowledge our responsibility to them. In recovery, we’ve come back to life. We maintain our new lives by contributing to the welfare of others and seeking each day to do that better – that’s where the Tenth, Eleventh, and Twelfth Steps come in. The days of living like a ghost are past, but only so long as we actively seek to be healthy, loving, contributing parts of our own lives and the lives of others around us

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