April is "Alcohol Awareness" month, but John Barleycorn neither endorses nor opposes any causes, his is a singleness of purpose which is a desire to stay sober and to help others who wish to do the same. Although, I personally don't disagree with what the Alcoholic Awareness people say, I nevertheless am not anti-alcohol nor am I against other people drinking it, God gave us free-will and John Barleycorn is not trying to take that away from you. Alcoholics Anonymous is for people who have a desire to stop drinking, but cannot do it alone and we are a program of attraction rather than promotion. Approximately 10-14 percent of the world's population is allergic to alcohol and it's a problem for them, but not the rest of the population. There are no dues or fees for AA membership and we alcohol addicts have nothing to lose by joining AA except our enlarged egos and a very expensive alcohol addiction. This having been said we shall continue Bill Wilson's 11th Step discussion from his book, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.
Step Eleven: 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. Those of us who have come to make regular use of prayer would no more do without it than we would refuse air, food or sunshine and for the same reason. When we refuse air, light or food, the body suffers and when we turn away from meditation and prayer, we likewise deprive our minds, our emotions, and our intuitions of vitally needed support and the body can fail its purpose for lack of nourishment, as can our soul. We all need the light of God's reality, the nourishment of His strength, and the atmosphere of His grace. To an amazing extent the facts of AA confirm this ageless truth.
There is a direct linkage among self-examination, meditation, and prayer. Taken separately these practices can bring much relief and benefit. But when they are logically related and interwoven, the result is an unshakeable foundation for life. Now and then we may be granted a glimpse of that ultimate reality which is God's kingdom. And we will be comforted and assured that our own destiny in that realm will be secure so long as we try, however falteringly, to find and do the will of our Creator.
As we have seen, self-searching is the means by which we bring new vision, action, and grace to bear upon the dark and negative side of our nature. It is a step in the development of that kind of humility that makes it possible for us to receive God's help. Yet it is only a step. We will want to go further. We will want the good that is in us all, even the worst of us, to flower and grow. Most certainly we shall need bracing air and an abundance of food. But first of all we shall want sunlight; nothing much can grow in the dark. Prayer and meditation is our step out into the sun.