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STEP 11 ACOA Red Book

Old 08-18-2014, 11:41 AM
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STEP 11 ACOA Red Book

11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understand God, praying only for knowledge of God's will for us and the power to carry that out.

First note: I am terribly sorry to be so delayed on this step. My son was recently diagnosed with epilepsy which became my obsession in finding more information out about it than probably I even needed to know. :P He is doing very well on a low dose of meds, so we are doing just fine in this regard.

Anyway, without realizing this is part of the steps, since I turned 40 and my life as I knew it, essentially fell apart, I got much more personal, up and close, with my HP and it has changed my life in so many wonderful ways, I can't even count them. I know the whole spiritual process is a stumbling block for so many people but luckily for me, I am very open and needy as far as spirituality goes, so these aspects of the steps really resonates for me. For me, I have always had to separate religion from spirituality for it to make any sense. There are many paths to God, imo.

Every day, I start the day telling the Lord to "Steal my show."
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Old 08-18-2014, 06:16 PM
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Originally Posted by DoubleDragons View Post
.... I am terribly sorry to be so delayed on this step. ....
eeesh, don't even _think_ of apologies!!! This is a stress-free zone, so if you want to be a couch potato for a month and do _nothing_ you are completely entitled to that.

Originally Posted by DoubleDragons View Post
.... My son was recently diagnosed with epilepsy....
Now _that_ must be horribly stressful. I cannot even imagine what you must be going thru. You take care of _your_ needs, and your son's needs_, first and foremost. This forum should not even be on your list of things to do when compared to your son.

Okay, so as far as step 11.

Originally Posted by DoubleDragons View Post
.... I know the whole spiritual process is a stumbling block for so many people....
I substitute "God" with the initials "HP". My definition of "HP" is a "Higher Power", and that means "higher" than _me_. I tried fixing myself, which I discovered was a continuation of my dysfunctional family's command to keep their secrets. I take my car to a mechanic, my teeth to a dentist, why not take my ACA issues to somebody who knows more than I do?

My HP has been a couple of good shrinks, some very wise peeps in real life meetings, and the accumulated wisdom of all the world's ACA as expressed in books, pamphlets and this forum.

Originally Posted by DoubleDragons View Post
.... prayer and meditation....
My head is _constantly_ stuck on high-speed. The "self-talk" just never stops, and it is always negative. Always busy planning for the worst possible scenario, always creating entire conversations with people that are not in front of me, it's like having a TV stuck on the advertising channel. How come my head never fantasizes about something _positive_, like, say, winning the lottery?

My sponsor taught me that going from a bad habit directly to a good habit is incredibly difficult. Much easier to make the transition in small, manageable steps. Therefore "prayer" is replacing my negative self-talk with _positive_ self talk. In the morning, when I step out of my condo on the way to work, I look at the trees and flowers that the management planted between the buildings. I think to myself that I am grateful that I have a job and that I can afford to live in a place like this.

Whenever I catch myself with negative self-talk I replace it with something positive.

Meditation is a step beyond "prayer". It is being able to turn _off_ that incessant chatter in my head, not just replacing it.

I have lots of health problems, and one of the things I have been instructed to do is physical therapy. I have combined that with yoga, and while I am doing those routines I focus on _not_ thinking. Keeping my head turned off. I can manage a few minutes at a time, and whadya know? It feels _great_!!

Originally Posted by DoubleDragons View Post
.... conscious contact ....
To me that means being aware of the _present_. Where I am in reality, right this minute, instead of that non-stop head that resides in some future catastrophe, that is in conversation with people who are not in front of me, that is always somewhere else instead of where my body is. Part of my "prayer and meditation" is to focus my mind on what is _now_, and where I am _now_, and enjoy the present reality, instead of living in a future fantasy.

Originally Posted by DoubleDragons View Post
.... knowledge of God's will for us ....
That one is easy. The HP's will for me is to _not_ be stuck in my ACA issues, and to become the kind of person I could be if I only stopped focusing on everything else.

Mike
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Old 08-19-2014, 10:30 AM
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DD- I am very sorry to hear of your son's diagnosis. That must be a huge challenge.

I use word God as well. I have a Christian background. I also believe in only one creative life force so when people say "my HP" or "your HP" sets my teeth on edge. Plus I see those letters and think Hewlett Packard. Cant help myself.

I dont believe that God intervenes much or directs us at all. I believe in free will and its my job to be open to the experiences and people that come into my life so that I learn the lessons I am meant to learn.
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Old 08-20-2014, 11:39 AM
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Hey DD, good to see you again. Glad your son is healthy and responding well to the medication.
I actually took a class on mindfulness through the VA. My therapist set it up while she was on medical leave and unable to keep our appointments. Learning different meditation techniques has been extremely helpful to me in my daily life and maintaining my serenity. "Staying present" and not living in fantasy, as Mike mentioned in his post.
Right now it is enough for me to understand that if I don't know what I should do about something, then it is acceptable and even advisable for me to do nothing. I don't need to direct all the traffic in the universe. If there is a clear path, I am free to take it, if not, I can wait for the fog to clear before making decisions or taking action.
Still mulling over the higher power part. Been reading a lot of stoic philosophers lately, surprising how many are quoted in Alanon literature. Apparently stoicism was a religion back in the day, so maybe my higher power is Zeus or something, because I've really identified with their writings and philosophy.

"For though we are made for the sake of one another, still each of us has his own tasks. Otherwise another's faults would harm me, which God has not willed, in order that my happiness may not depend on another."
-Marcus Aurelius
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Old 08-20-2014, 05:22 PM
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LS, I have been ready Anthony DeMello lately. His book called Awareness really resonated with me. He describes perfectly what I consider to be my spiritual beliefs, now if I could only keep them in practice!!
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