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Step 11 of AA: Connect With Higher Power

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Step 11 AA – 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), founded in 1935, is an organization formed by former addiction sufferers and aimed at helping others recover from addiction. The main development of the organization is its 12-step program which serves as a workable plan for alcohol addiction recovery. Each of the steps contains instructions that are designed to further one’s path to recovery and maximize their chances of achieving long-term sobriety.1,2

One of the crucial steps of the program is Step 11 of AA. This step encourages AA program participants to seek prayer and meditation in order to ensure a successful completion of the program, as well as a lasting spiritual awakening. By trying to foster one’s relationship with a Higher Power, AA Step 11 represents an indispensable part of AA’s treatment plan.3

What Is Step 11 of AA?

The 11th Step of the AA program reads as follows3:

“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.”

The Step 11 AA directs recovering addiction sufferers’ attention toward their Higher Power. Two crucial methods of doing this involve prayer and meditation. Both are well-known and widespread practices aimed at sending a message to God and finding inner peace within oneself.3

In the context of AA’s 12-step program, these practices align with the program’s basic principle, according to which addiction sufferers are largely unable to control their addiction and are thus in need of their Higher Power’s help. The sufferers are also taught how to bring an unshakable foundation for life by securing their place and destiny in the world.3

It is important to note that “God“ or Higher Power in question does not need to represent a deity associated with any particular religion or tradition. It is mainly up to an individual to determine how they perceive their Higher Power.4

What is the 11th Step Prayer of AA?

The purpose of 11th Step Prayer AA is to raise one’s heart and mind to God. By devoting oneself to prayer, one is essentially asking God for help in overcoming the woes of everyday life, particularly those associated with addiction. Such help is critical in order to achieve sobriety in the face of alcohol addiction.3

Different versions of 11th Step Prayer AA circulate at different AA meetings. A version that can often be heard runs as follows5:

Higher Power, as I understand You,
I pray to keep my connection with You
Open and clear from the confusion of daily life.
Through my prayers and meditation I ask especially for
Freedom from self-will, rationalization, and wishful thinking.
I pray for the guidance of correct thought and positive action.
Your will Higher Power, not mine, be done.

As it is evident, this version of the 11th Step Prayer contains elements of the common prayer. Besides trying to establish a deeper connection with God, this prayer pleads for the freedom from obstacles such as self-will and rationalization. It also asks for help in reaching the right beliefs and behaviors.5

AA Step 11 Meditation

The next component of AA Step 11 involves Meditation. Meditation is generally described as an activity aimed at calming oneself and paying attention to one’s thoughts and emotions. By performing meditation, one may achieve a better understanding of one’s thoughts, improve decision-making abilities, and advance their personal relationship with their Higher Power, all of which are vital for recovery.6 

There are several ways AA program participants may perform meditation. One of these ways includes journaling, during which every mental state (thoughts, emotions, etc.) should be recorded. Another method involves the recitation of the mantra, which could help direct one’s thoughts to the present moment.6

Besides its role in fostering alcohol addiction recovery as a part of Step 11 AA, meditation is proven to have additional benefits. Some of these benefits include better abilities to manage stress, the easing of anxiety and depression symptoms, as well as an increase in creativity and patience. It is also believed to have positive physical effects. The ways it could help the body involve lowering resting heart rate, improvement in blood pressure metrics, and alleviation of sleep quality issues.7

What Is the Importance of AA Step 11?

Step 11 AA is vastly important for the completion of AA’s 12-step addiction program. Besides leading to the final stage of the program, this step is crucial as it conveys the main message of the entire program. This message signals that the course of addiction is mainly out of the sufferer’s control and that, to resolve it, one has to rely on the help from one’s Higher Power. Prayer and meditation, as crucial components of this step, serve as channels through which one may try to somehow influence these forces (i.e., Higher Power) or at least make them aware of one’s condition.3

AA Step 11 is, nonetheless, associated with a number of challenges. As with the program in general, these challenges may include the lack of confidence that devoting to prayer and meditation would help, as well as finding excuses in order to avoid negative feelings (such as anxiety) that might be associated with arrival at AA meetings. Repeatedly emphasizing the overall goal of the addiction program and the wider perspective behind it may help in addressing these issues.8

How to Complete Step 11 AA?

Completing AA Step 11 involves following a clear daily routine. The crux of this routine involves prayer and meditation. Both prayer and meditation should take place on a daily basis. It is advised that program participants devote 15 minutes per day at a minimum to these activities.9

The aforementioned activities of mantra and journaling are recommended for people who experience trouble with concentration. To make working on AA Step 11 more interesting, one may even select several mantras and assign them to different days of the week. It is also important to focus on breathing. Breathing in a slow and steady manner may lead to greater relaxation, which is extremely vital for the achievement of an inner peace experience.9

Finally, Alcoholics Anonymous recommends that its program attendees try to incorporate nature walks into their daily lives while working on Step 11 AA. Besides providing a meditation-friendly setting, such a habit could also be conducive to appropriate praying activities that frequently incorporate meditation themselves.9

What Are the Tips for Completing Step 11 of AA?

First of all, program participants should be made aware that they do not need to stick to the term “God”, as this term risks may be unattractive to people who do not belong to any of the traditional religions. This is the reason why it is commonly recommended that the term Higher Power or “God“ in a neutral sense is used. This allows each participant to enter communication with their deity as they understand it.10

Furthermore, addiction sufferers are advised to view prayer as a sort of open conversation. This means that it can be performed in any way preferred. Those who are willing to get down on their knees are permitted to do so, while others may recite a prayer in a standing position or even do so while walking in nature. Similarly, people may decide what they would like their conversation to include. As in most everyday conversations, all individual participants take part in creating the content of the conversation.10

Meditation, on the other hand, is to be perceived as a sort of receiving. What individual meditators are about to receive is of uttermost value: it involves peace and serenity of mind. To achieve such a state, one is advised to show patience and try to clear the mind of any thoughts for several minutes each day.10

Step 11 Worksheet Questions

Devising a set of worksheet questions linked to Step 11 AA is another good method to follow while completing this step of AA’s program. One of such sets may take the following form11:

  • To what extent has one’s comprehension of a Higher Power changed since the initiation of AA’s 12-step program?
  • Is one’s spiritual path in any way specific and how this relates to one’s recovery?
  • How are religion and spirituality different, if they are so?
  • Did one make any steps to inquire into one’s spirituality?
  • Does one possess any personal guidelines on how to pray or meditate?
  • What are one’s reactions to prayer and meditation?
  • Are prayer and meditation helping one obtain a wider perspective on how things are going?
  • What changes have prayer or meditation brought to one’s life, if they did any?
  • How can one describe the feelings associated with the presence of a Higher Power? In which circumstances do these arise?
  • What steps have one taken in order to improve one’s relationship with God?
  • Were there any cases in which one attempted to align one’s will to the one of God? What consequences did such attempts have?
  • Why does Step 11 of AA instruct one to pray for the knowledge of what Higher Power wills and power to make that will a reality?
  • Are there any signs through which one’s commitment to AA Step 11 could be monitored? 
  • When was the last time that one prayed or meditated? Is one doing it in a regular manner?
  • Does one believe that knowledge of Higher Power’s will and power will be revealed?

These questions will likely help along the path of achieving recovery. However, more good would be done if these questions encourage addiction program participants to deeply inspect their situation and, if needed, act in order to improve their performance in the program.11

How to Interpret Step 11 AA: What Should I Do Next?

In a certain sense, AA Step 11 presents the final step of AA’s 12-step program, at least when it comes to one’s own recovery. What comes in the final step of the program concerns the spread of the word of success to others. To credibly do this, one needs to achieve something worth mentioning. The spiritual awakening that arises once recovering addiction sufferers successfully perform Step 11 AA activities presents such an achievement. In this state, one manages to find a feeling of inner peace, relinquishing any worry associated with the need to control one’s circumstances.11 12

AA Step 12 involves spreading the words of recovery to others. By doing so, former addiction sufferers may not only make the lives of others happier but also improve the prospects of their own peaceful relationships with their loved ones. Moreover, former AA program participants may develop higher ambitions, even going to the extent where they would be holding AA seminars at which they would be helping numerous addiction sufferers they do not know personally.12

How Can I Get Help from Step 11 of AA (Alcoholics Anonymous)?

People who think they or their loved ones could benefit from attending AA’s 12-step program could easily do so by contacting Alcoholics Anonymous directly. They can also visit the AA website, where they could obtain more information on the dates of specific meetings.13

If they find it easier, prospective AA program participants could also contact American Addiction Centers. They can do so by calling one of our hotline numbers, where they can talk to navigators ready to offer help. Some of the topics that could be discussed include different payment options available, the locations of nearby rehab centers, as well as advice on how to pay for the treatment and assistance with verifying your insurance.14

Another option for prospective 12-step program participants is our online search tool. Some information that could be gleaned via this service includes those on different insurance schemes and associated treatment costs.15

Our website is another source of valuable information for alcohol addiction sufferers. It covers information on a wide range of treatment options, both concerning outpatient and inpatient alcohol addiction treatments available. The website also possesses information on treatments of different duration, ranging from treatments taking around 7 days to treatments that last for a month or so.16,17

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The editorial staff of Projectknow.com is comprised of addiction content experts from American Addiction Centers. Our editors and medical reviewers have over a decade of cumulative experience in medical content editing and have reviewed thousands of pages for accuracy and relevance. Our reviewers consistently monitor the latest research from SAMHSA, NIDA, and other reputable sources to provide our readers the most accurate content on the web.
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