Steve reflects on beginning the 11th step of his 12 Step Program: "Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God's will for us and the power to carry that out.”
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Hi everyone. And welcome to a podcast about sobriety for the LGBTQ plus community and our allies. I'm your host, Steve Bennet-Martin. I am a recovering alcoholic and I am grateful for my sponsor support. As I begin step 11. As of this recording, I am 332 days sober. And today I'm going to provide an update on my step work. As I learn how to live in the 11. For those of you unfamiliar with the 12 step program, step 11 is sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood God praying only for the knowledge of God's both for us and the power to carry that out. And what does that mean necessarily? Because I know that prayer and meditation are two things that I was very unfamiliar with, or I was somewhat familiar with the concepts, but they weren't part of my daily practice before entering into recovery. And similar to step 10 in terms of creating a new routine, it helps improve our connection to a higher power. While step 10 seems to be about keeping us accountable and keeping our sobriety on track. My experience so far with step 11, feels like it's more about improving ourselves and growing, but how well on page 86 of the big book that says when we retire at night, we can sh directively review our day where we resentful selfish, dishonest, or afraid. Do we own a polo? Have we kept something to ourselves, which should be discussed with another person at once where are we kind and loving towards all? What could we have done better? Were we thinking of ourselves? Most of the. Or are we thinking about what we could do for others of what we could pack into the stream of life, but we must be careful not to drift into worry remorse or morbid reflection for that would diminish our usefulness to others. After making our review, we ask God's forgiveness and inquire what corrective measures be taken. So this is certainly an interesting concept or a way of thinking about prayer. Just simply reflecting back on your day when it's all done. And these questions are ones that are very helpful to ask your. In terms of looking back on your day, I know that there are even in my best days, moments where I might have felt resentful, selfish, dishonest, or afraid, you know, we're all trying to live a better life in our recovery, but we also are still human. And so mistakes are apt to happen and giving our chance to review and reflect upon the day, gives us a chance to then also address those issues and come to peace with them so that we can move forward to a better day tomorrow. And speaking of tomorrow, it also recommends on awakening. Let us think about the 24 hours ahead. We consider our plans for the day before we begin, we ask God to direct our thinking, especially asking that it be divorced from self pity, dishonest, or self-seeking motives under the conditions we can employ our mental faculties with assurance for after all God gave us brains to use our thought life will be placed on a much higher plane when our thinking is cleared of wrong mode. And that's similarly is a good morning routines have, however you want to frame it for yourself and where you feel comfortable just taking that moment before rushing into your day and reflecting on the day ahead and what you want out of it and what you can do for yourself and for others throughout the day. Thinking about the day in advanced certainly gives you the chance to make sure that you're starting off your day with a level head on your shoulders and can do your best as the day goes forward. Now, step 11 does include prayer and meditation. So how do they tie in prayer can be difficult, especially for those of us who have had negative experiences with organized religion in the. I know growing up Catholic, I always was taught that prayer was a matter of almost asking God for something like you would ask for Santa, you know, God, please make this person do this. God, please give me this. God, please get me that it was very much always gimme, gimme, gimme. And it kind of sets me up for failure because when God doesn't deliver. I blame them and not myself. However, in reflection, those are selfish prayers. Prayers can be simple though with it simply being the serenity prayer, which is one of my favorites that I say throughout the day, multiple times a week God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not use. The courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference that prayer has been a lifesaver for me, it's one of my favorite prayers. It's nice, short, simple, and easy to remember. Another one has just been simply like that. Welt, not mine, be done. Just kind of reminding yourself that it's not about what you want out of a situation that you're in, but it's about what the best place you can be in, in that situation. And if it's meant to be, and if you can control. Control is always something that I like to try and keep. And so giving up my control of my will to a higher power, oftentimes needs prayer to remind me, my sponsor also recommended the Saint Francis prayer, which also gets a shout out in the 12 and 12. And that is Lord, make me an instrument of your peace, where there is hatred. Let me so love where there is injury. Pardon? Where there is doubt faith, where there is despair. Okay. Where there is darkness light, where there is sadness, joy. Oh, divine master grant that I may not so much seek to consoled as to console to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love for it. As in giving that we receive it is in pardoning that we are pardoned and it is in dying that we are reborn to eternal life. And so that certainly is a little bit of a longer one. It's going to take me some time to get that memorized so that I can just say it on the fly, but it's certainly as a simple reminder of all the things that you want out of life showing love, faith, hope, and light, spreading joy you know, doing all of those things and meditation can be another truck you one but luckily like prayer, there are many different ways that one can meditate. It takes practice, but I found the calm app useful with their daily 10 minute meditations. Don't beat yourself up if you can't even make it the first 10 minutes through. At first, I know I certainly struggled to be able to even meditate that long it's because it is like many things, a skill that requires practice. But with practice, you'll find yourself able to meditate longer and less. If you're having trouble even doing it, you know, using an app on your own and solo practices, I've also found that there is great power from meditating with others. I've done some full moon meditations that my husband helps teach at a local apothecary, but there are lots of metaphysical realms throughout the United States and throughout the world where they have guided meditations, that can also help when you're in that community atmosphere sound bowl meditations are really cool. So I definitely recommend that. And try not to fall asleep like I do sometimes during meditation, because it is about being present and in the here and now. But like many things, like I said, you'll get better with practice and just overall, don't beat yourself up over any of this as you're learning how to pray and make that part of your daily routine. Whereas you're learning to meditate. It takes time to get things right. The important thing is, is that you're doing your best and that every day you're working a little, you know, a little bit more towards that ultimate goal of connecting with your higher ups. I'd love to hear from you all on what your favorite prayer is and how you might meditate. Let me know, and I can share it in a future episode. You can get in touch with me by emailing email@example.com or I'll be sure to post something on Instagram to start this conversation at gay, a podcast like to thank you all for listening, please rate and review. If you found this information. Or a follow us wherever you're listening. So you can get new episodes when they come out every Monday and Thursday. And until next time stay sober friends.