Harbor Light – 2015/11

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“Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.” Step Eleven is, hands down, my favorite step. But it certainly has not always been that way! My sobriety date is April 12, 2009. As of this writing, I have just under six and a half years sober. My first meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous was in May of 1989. Do the math, you’ll figure out that it didn’t “take” the first time I “tried.” Or the second, third or fourth time (ad infinitum). You should know that I use the word “tried” loosely here. I had always considered myself an agnostic (if I had to consider myself anything at all), so from the moment I walked into my very first AA meeting and saw those twelve steps on the wall with the word “God” prominently represented in four of them (alluded to in two), the doors in my mind began to close. Opening and closing the meeting with a prayer? Yeah, that slammed those doors shut pretty tight! If I had to “get God” to get sober, I was in trouble. AA became nothing more than a place to go to collect a few chips to quiet the voices of those concerned for my welfare, and to “get well” physically in the bargain. I never in all those years read the book, looked closely at (let alone worked) the steps, or even considered getting a sponsor. I kept to myself and wasn’t there to make friends. I also never managed to put together more than a couple of years “dry” (you notice I didn’t say “sober”) before I’d go back out and start all over again. I never listened, so I never heard about the progression of our disease, and how each time we stopped and started we would pick up where we left off, only to spiral downward further each and every time, without exception. I didn’t realize this was happening to me until it did. Every “bottom” I experienced had a “trap door.”