Suggestions and Guidelines
Eleventh Step Guidance Meetings are for “anyone or everyone interested in a spiritual way of life.” They are NOT Open Discussion meetings. We share only what we have written during a ten minute “quiet time.”
We are here to listen to the voice of the “One who has all power” to free us from our addictions; we are not here to talk about or feed our addictions.
“We advocate the use of a pencil and note-book so that we may record every God-given though and idea that comes to us during our time alone with Him (our Higher Power), that no detail, however small, my be lost to us and that we may not shirk the truth about ourselves or any problem when it comes to us.” (What is the Oxford Group?, p. 68)
If the “One who has all Power” is going to supply us with the “right answers,” wouldn’t it be a good idea to jot down thoughts, images, or feelings we receive so we can remember them?.
Procedure for “Listening”
- Be quiet and still.
- Write down the thoughts that come.
Test each thought using the Four Standards of Honesty, Purity, Unselfishness and Love to separate the God thoughts from the self-thoughts.
Share the guidance that you believe passes the “test” with the other members of the group.
We share what we have written to demonstrate that God does “disclose Himself to us” and because sometimes the guidance we receive isn’t for us but for someone else in the room.
Guidelines for the Guidance Meeting
- Please identify yourself by your first name only. Do not identify yourself in terms of any addiction or affliction.
- No cross talk.
- Do not critique or comment on anyone else’s guidance.
- If you haven’t written anything down or captured any thoughts on your fingertips, please “pass.”
The typical guidance meeting has 8-14 attendees. Because there is no time limit, the size of the group is important. The meeting ends when everyone has had the opportunity to share his or her guidance.
If the meeting consistently lasts more than an hour, you can split into two smaller groups to facilitate sharing.
Eleventh Step Guidance Meeting “Big Book” Format
Good (morning) (afternoon) (evening) my name is ____________ and I will be your facilitator for this Eleventh Step Guidance Meeting.
Please help me open this meeting with a moment of silence followed by the Serenity Prayer.
I have asked ___________ to read a portion of the “Big Book” on prayer and meditation:
(Read pages 86-88 from the “Big Book.”)
We have a 7th Tradition. There are no dues or fees for membership. We are fully self-supporting through our own voluntary contributions. Our needs are simple, a place to hold our meeting and literature to help carry the message.
(Pass the basket)
We will now take a ten-minute “quiet time” for the purpose of making contact with the “Spirit of the Universe” and receive guidance right now.
(Ten-minute “quiet time”)
Now, we will go around the room asking that you share only what you have written without embellishment or explanation. If you haven’t written anything down, please “pass.”
(If a person starts to explain his or her guidance or starts talking about whatever is on his or her mind, please direct the person back to sharing guidance by saying something like, “I’m sorry to interrupt, but I must ask you to share only what you’ve written down during your ‘quiet time.’ Thank you.”)
(After everyone has had the opportunity to share…)
Is there anyone who heard something during the sharing session that he or she feels was directed towards them in addition to the person who shared it? If so, please tell the group, without identifying the person from whom you received the guidance, what it was that you heard. This is three-way prayer-God speaking to us through others. If this has happened to you, please raise your hand.
(Have those who raise their hands share their examples of three-way prayer.)
I would like to thank each of you for participating. Whether you shared guidance or listened to others share their guidance, you have taken Step Eleven.
Remember, we recover by the steps we take, not the meetings we make! We will close this meeting with the…
Directions for Prayer and Meditation “Big Book” pp. 85-88
Step Eleven suggests prayer and meditation. We shouldn’t be shy on this matter of prayer. Better men than we are using it constantly. It works, if we have the proper attitude and work at it. It would be easy to be vague about this matter. Yet, we believe we can make some definite and valuable suggestions.
When we retire at night, we constructively review our day. Were we resentful, selfish, dishonest or afraid? Do we owe an apology? Have we kept something to ourselves which should be discussed with another person at once? Were we kind and loving toward all? What could we have done better? Were we thinking of ourselves most of the time? Or were we thinking of what we could do for others, of what we could pack into the stream of life? But we must be careful not to drift into worry, remorse or morbid reflection, for that would diminish our usefulness to others. After making our review we ask God’s forgiveness and inquire what corrective mea-sures should be taken.
On awakening let us think about the twenty-four hours ahead. We consider our plans for the day. Before we begin, we ask God to direct our thinking, especially asking that it be divorced from self-pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives. Under these conditions we can employ our mental faculties with assurance, for after all God gave us brains to use. Our thought-life will be placed on a much higher plane when our thinking is cleared of wrong motives.
In thinking about our day we may face indecision. We may not be able to determine which course to take. Here we ask God for inspiration, an intuitive thought or a decision. We relax and take it easy. We don’t struggle. We are often surprised how the right answers come after we have tried this for a while. What used to be the hunch or the occasional inspiration gradually becomes a working part of the mind. Being still inexperienced and having just made conscious contact with God, it is not probable that we are going to be inspired at all times. We might pay for this presumption in all sorts of absurd actions and ideas. Nevertheless, we find that our thinking will, as time passes, be more and more on the plane of inspiration. We come to rely upon it.
We alcoholics are undisciplined. So we let God discipline us in the simple way we have just outlined.
But this is not all. There is action and more action. “Faith without works is dead.”
Test for Self-will / God’s Will
Fourth Step Test
- Selfish — Unselfish
- Dishonest — Honesty
- Self-seeking — Purity
- Frightened — Love
“Where had we been selfish, dishonest, self-seeking and frightened?”(Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 67, para. 2, lines 3-4)
Tenth Step Test
- Selfishness — Unselfishness
- Dishonesty — Honesty
- Resentment — Purity
- Fear — Love
“Continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment, and fear.”(Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 84, para. 2, lines 8-9)
Eleventh Step Test
- Resentful — Purity
- Selfish — Unselfish
- Dishonest — Honest
- Afraid — Love
“Were we resentful, selfish, dishonest or afraid? (Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 86, para. 1, lines 2-3)