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Step 11
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.

So often we start to believe that "we deserve" to be healed, that "we have worked hard enough" or "we have suffered enough" that it is unfair for us to not be healed!

Sorry, maybe I should have not included you in that sentence? Maybe I should have said "I deserve" and "I have worked hard enough" or "I have suffered enough".

No, not really, you have felt that way too, unless you haven't suffered much yet in this life. You may need to suffer some more to get the point through your "thick skull". At least, that's what I needed. I had been so self-focused, even in the healing process, that I missed the whole point of it all, almost.

There is a saying that is very, very old, that I long misunderstood. It's a piece of scripture from the New Testament, found in Second Corinthians in the first chapter. It reads about how God comforts us, so that we can pass the comfort on to others.

We are not comforted for our own sake, except that we are to pass it on to others that also suffer. If you need the reference, it's Second Corinthians, Chapter One, Verses Three and Four.

My difficulty in understanding that simple truth, has been a big reason for most of the problems in my life. I always focused on what "I" wanted, on what "I" deserved, or on how hard "I" was working. Me, me, me.

Well, here in steps 11 and 12 we learn that being self-serving is a useless dead end, and not the end-all of life. It is time to serve our Higher Power, to build a better relationship with God, and to focus on what God wants us to do. God is not our servant, there to make our lives better. He does make mine better, but that is not His highest goal!

I used to pray asking that God help me get done what I wanted to do. I had to learn, and I still have to remember to pray asking that God help me to do what He wants me to do, to help me want to do it, and then to go do it.

We will find out, that God's will is that we glorify His name, sometimes by comforting others, and that is why God comforted us. He has often given to me, so that I can share, not so I can horde.

It is not possible to go through the 12 steps, to make significant progress toward recovery, unless one stops being the center of one's life.

Let me repeat that, in case you missed it.

It is not possible to go through the 12 steps, to make significant progress toward recovery, unless one stops being the center of one's life.

When I decided that life was trust-worthy, that my Higher Power deserved my trust, and that life was trying to teach me something which I needed to learn, it was still tough. But now there was something new in life to go along with all the frustration and pain. There was now progress.

I can tell you dozens of stories of people who suffered, until they found someone else going through the same struggle, and helped them through it. When you can pass on your successful struggle to another, you learn why you had it so bad.

You have heard the phrase, "It's not what you know, but who you know" and I want to tell you that while many people use that phrase in a negative way, claiming that only by knowing the right "powerful people" do you stand a chance, they are almost right. I tell you that by knowing the right Higher Power, which is more powerful than any flawed human, you stand a chance.

Get to know your Higher Power. For those of you interested in the Christian God, whom I serve, you may see a good list of articles and books on getting to know Him, at: https://www.achievebalance.com/data/voice/ and https://achievebalance.com/data/relatewithgod.htm

A local church here has the motto, "To know Him, and to make Him known." Gee, they seem to have grasped both steps 11 and 12!

* The Twelve Steps are reprinted with permission of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. Permission to reprint and adapt the Twelve Steps does not mean that A.A. has reviewed or approved the contents of this publication, nor that A.A. agrees with the views expressed herein. A.A. is a program of recovery from alcoholism. Use of the Twelve Steps in connection with programs which are patterned after A.A. but which address other problems does not imply otherwise.

The complete Serenity Prayer is also available on this website.