Step 11 in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous pages 86-87 gives us some direction as how we are to begin our day. We are to begin it with a period of prayer and meditation. This is probably something we have never done before. We may need to get up earlier than we are used to doing in order to get our mind and spirit in the right place to have a serene and productive day. The passage on page 86 begins as “before we begin, we ask God to direct our thinking, that it be divorced from self-pity, dishonest, self-seeking motives.” Under these conditions we are able to employ our mental faculties with assurance. In the beginning we may have a hard time quieting our minds but through time and practice this will become easier. For after all “God gave us brains to use.”
We may face indecision in our prayers. We ask God to help clarify what it is that we are undecided about. The book then suggests we just take it easy and wait for the right answer to come to us. This answer may not come right away but it will manifest itself sometime during the day. In the beginning we may come up with some outlandish ideas, but this will diminish with time and practice. In the beginning of my sobriety, I allowed 15 minutes for this prayer and meditation. Now after a number of years sober, I am up to an hour plus of prayer and meditation upon awakening. I rarely forgo this as it feels like I forgot my shoes or something if I go out without prayers and meditation. My prayer list keeps getting longer and longer as I pray for friends and loved ones to find God’s love.
Throughout the day we ask for freedom from self-will and are careful to not make any “requests for ourselves only.” Our prayers are to benefit others as well as ourselves. Praying for a new car while sitting on the couch isn’t going to happen. We must get up and go to work to earn the money to pay for the car. We may pray for a job to help us take care of our families and ourselves. This is a proper form of prayer. God just doesn’t seem to pay attention when we pray to win the Lotto or for a free vacation.
In our morning prayers we also remember to pray the 3rd and 7th step payers. One may also incorporate the reading of some spiritual material into this morning’s preparation for our day. All of the suggestions I have made here may appear to be a daunting task. Add one thing at a time to your morning ritual. You will find that after time and practice these things become automatic, and you are able to accomplish what you need to do and pray for. Remember that we agreed to go to any lengths to be relieved from the lash of active addiction. Following the guidelines of the 12 Step Program is the easier and softer way to live our lives in recovery.