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Alcoholism and the Eleventh Step in Alanon - My Spiritual Life

Updated on February 12, 2019
Deborah-Diane profile image

Deborah has several alcoholic relatives. She became active in Al-anon, for families of alcoholics, over 37 years ago, often helping others.

Why I Pray

Pray only to understand God's will.
Pray only to understand God's will. | Source

What is the Alanon 11th Step?

As you come to the end of your first round of working the Alanon Twelve Steps, you will begin to realize that these steps are not something which you do once, and then forget. The steps become a part of everything we do and say the rest of our lives. Part of our new life is to include prayer and meditation in our daily lives.

The exact wording of the Alanon Eleventh Step is: 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 the power to carry that out.

This is not just something I have done only with regard to the alcoholics or addicts in my life. Prayer is something I do all the time. It is the way I handle all the stressful, difficult situations I encounter. It is one of the ways I have learned to practice the Al-anon slogans, especially my favorite slogan which is "Let Go and Let God."

Why do I pray? Because I have learned that I can only control the things I do, not what others do. I rely on God to help other people. Another Alanon slogan I particularly like is "If you worry, why pray? If you pray, why worry?" It is amazing how much easier life seems to be when I turn things over to God.

Remember: In Alanon, your definition of God can be however you understand him, regardless of what religion you follow, and even if you do not practice any particular religion. God, as you understand him, can be the universe, father figure, a mother figure, nature, fate, or whatever higher power which makes you comfortable. Since you can define God however you want, praying should come naturally.

Ask for Knowledge of God's Will

In Alanon, an important aspect of this step is that we do not pray for God to take specific actions which will please us. In other words, the temptation is to ask God to make someone else stop drinking, or to fix other problems that we have. However, in the Eleventh Step prayer, we only pray that God makes His will clear to us.

Frequently when we pray, there is something specific which is going on in our lives, or an issue we must deal with. We may want God to remove these problems from us, and eventually He might. Meanwhile, while we wait, we sometimes need to accept that dealing with these problems may be part of God’s will for us. If someone we love continues to drink, then learning to accept the situation may be God’s will.

I have found it can be hard to surrender and accept when other people are not living the lives I would like to see them live. When one of our daughters was married to an alcoholic, I could not change that circumstance until she was willing to. My prayers often simply became the first line of the Serenity Prayer. I would repeat over and over "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change." Eventually, they divorced and my daughter raised her two children on her own. Today, we have a wonderful relationship with our daughter and her children, but it took time for all this to unfold. Sometimes, I have found that it takes patience to accept what God has in store for our lives and the lives of our loved ones.

Ask for the Power to Carry out God's Will

The other part of the Alanon Eleventh Step is to ask for the strength or power to do what we need to do. Sometimes life can be so overwhelming that it seems as though we can barely get out of bed in the morning. There may be times when we feel that we cannot go on. At other times, we may need to ask for the strength just to be patient enough to let life unfold on its own terms.

Personally, I have found that when we ask for God to give us the power to carry on, He will. He may not change our circumstances, but He will give us the strength to work our way through our problems. Trust Him, and turn your will and your life over to His care, and you will discover that you are more capable and stronger than you ever realized.

This is what I prayer and meditation have done for me.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2012 Deborah-Diane

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