Last night we talked about honesty. It’s a relative term that we can just barely grasp in early sobriety, but goes way deeper as we progress through recovery. I just recently did a little fourth step work over some nonsense that has been causing me an inordinate level of stress. In that 4th column, we ask where we have been self-seeking, dishonest, inconsiderate and fearful. This time, just like nearly every other time, when I asked myself where I have been dishonest the answer came back – I act like I’ve got this; like I can do this on my own and I don’t need anyone’s help.
Step 11 reminds us of what we learned in steps 2 & 3: We are not the “end all, beat all.” There is a power greater than ourselves and if we stop trying to solve all our own problems ourselves, then we will stop making a huge mess out of a little bump in the road.
When I first got sober, I was scared to death. I had fallen very far, very fast and I knew just how close I had come to killing myself. I did everything that was asked of me. I fully believed that I needed to live by someone else’s will because my own will had gotten me to this dark place. As the shattered pieces of my life began to reknit themselves, though, and things started to get better, I gradually began to take back my own will. No longer did I have death and destruction looming over my shoulder. I wasn’t a complete waste. I was a smart girl with a lot to offer this world, so why did I need God or anyone else?
If I were to truly live in steps 10, 11 & 12, my level of suffering would decrease drastically. I fully understand this. The problem is… I’m an alcoholic… and I’m human. I often say that we lot are “more human than human.” I make mistakes. I get lazy… very lazy sometimes. I get cocky and I take back my will as often as I give it away. Step 11 helps to maintain our conscious contact with a power greater than ourselves through prayer and meditation. By practicing daily, we are able to build a relationship with God and others instead of falling back into the isolation and depression caused by acting as if we are the ultimate answer to all of our own problems.
The instructions of the Lord are perfect, reviving the soul.
The decrees of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple.
The commandments of the Lord are right, bringing joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are clear, giving insight for living.
Reverence for the Lord is pure, lasting forever.
The laws of the Lord are true; each one is fair.
They are more desirable than gold, even the finest gold.
They are sweeter than honey, even honey dripping from the comb.
They are a warning to your servant, a great reward for those who obey them.
How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart?
Cleanse me from these hidden faults.
Keep your servant from deliberate sins! Don’t let them control me.
Then I will be free of guilt and innocent of great sin.
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
– Psalm 19:7-14 (NLT)