Meditation and 12 Steps to Innovate for Recovering Humans

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1st Step to Innovating through Meditation for Recovering Humans

1st Step to Innovating through Meditation for Recovering Humans

I’ve noticed that we are all recovering in our lives from one thing or another. This is a joy of being human – imperfection.  But some of us choose a path to improve our selves and our lives. I’ve been sober for 17 years and have learned to frame my choices within the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. They are the guiding signposts in my life and and the primary framework to innovate my life.  A definition of “to innovate” is to introduce something new; make changes in anything established.

Personal innovation and change brings improved lives and in business it brings career growth and evolution.  Recovery from alcoholism and addiction is imperative for those of us with this disease. It is life and death. Many choose death rather than changing their lives.  We are all addicted to something.  For non-alcoholics these addictions can be work, social media, food, relationships, anything that we obsess about that gets in the way of living our lives productively in love and service.

In our personal lives and in our work lives we need to constantly be willing to change and innovate how we perceive and interact with the people in our lives and our rapidly evolving society.  Change is happening so fast, technology, science, politics,society and our family institutions, that we if we are coasting and not evolving our selves we are going down hill, so to speak.

As I began trying to meditate early in sobriety, I discovered, that in addition to being powerless over alcohol and other outside things, I am also powerless over my mind and the constant thoughts that demand my attention. I am unmanageble_thoughts_emotionspowerless over my emotions and I let the outward circumstances of the past, present and future affect how I feel. And, I am powerless over my body, the cravings, injuries, disease and other funny tricks that it uses to capture my attention. I am powerless over the world I live in, my family, my work and the outside world.

The 1st Step of Alcoholics Anonymous states that “we are powerless over alcohol and that our lives had become unmanageable.

”The 1st Step in learning meditation is “we are powerless over our thoughts Spiritstep One Guided Meditationand emotions and that they are unmanageable.” Powerless in this context does not imply that I cannot make changes but that these things happen automatically.  I am human and my brain is designed to generate thoughts and emotions based on previous emotional programming from my past. Today, I am unable to stop these thoughts, but I can change my perspective and relationship to them.  I can relax and let go of these thoughts and emotions.

When I finally stayed sober, I was doing the outward actions of the Steps and the program, but something was missing, something – a connectedness, a feeling of belonging.  I felt an inner pull toward something within myself. After a time, I realized that I needed to re-connect to a practice of meditation to discover the sources of this connectedness that I had sporadically pursued and read about over the years.

I began an inner journey of learning about meditation, while, at the same time, I became active in my AA spiritual program, attended meetings, worked the steps with my sponsor, and found ways to be of service to others. The beginning meditation techniques I discovered helped me to relax, slow down, quiet the thoughts, sooth the emotions…surrender and to detach from our old ways of living and our old self.

Here is a guided beginning meditation. Listen, and meditate now with this beginning 11th Step Meditation from the SpiritStep One CD

Tips on taking your daily spiritual vitamin – Meditation

Here are some tips to help you develop your practice of meditation. Remember, as with any exercise or new activity it is not always easy getting started. Please, be patient with yourself and the process, use tools such as, 11th Step Meditation meetings, guided meditation CDs, or any other tools to help as you get started.

When to meditate? Mornings are best, but anytime you can find 15 to 20 minutes in a relatively quiet location will be ok.

  • Where to meditate? Find a comfortable place to sit that is relatively quiet. Where you will not be disturbed. You may hear outside noises or experience distractions, but that is ok.
  • How to sit? There are meditation practices that suggest specific postures for sitting. You will have a better chance of staying awake while meditating if you sit up straight with both feet on the floor and your hands in your lap.
  • A few words about thoughts during meditation. It seems easier to teach beginning meditators to use a guided meditation that is active that uses affirmations and imagery to concentrate on to start with. This gives you something to concentrate upon and help detach from the constant stream of thoughts
  • Our minds are designed to think and they usually keep us very busy reminding us of our past mistakes, replaying emotional scenes in our mind or worrying about what will happen in the future. We cannot stop our mind from thinking as we meditate. The trick is to learn to not grab onto any particular thought or to let it dominate our attention, or even try to ignore them.
  • As thoughts arise in your meditation just watch them float by, as if on a cloud or in a stream. It is OK to notice these thoughts. Become the observer of your thoughts. This is the practice of meditation and know that this will be a skill that becomes easier the more that you meditate.
  • I suggest that you use the guided meditations a number of times before you practice it by yourself so you are familiar with the each step.
  • We are what we think and the affirmations are a spiritual exercise towards this realigning of our thoughts and of our lives.

Please do not get discouraged and give up. Meditation takes practice. You will think that you are not being very productive, that you are distracted and not doing it right. Persist through this. Be consistent. You will discover the fruits of your meditation over time. The first goal achieved will be emotional balance, a calm within the storm of our thoughts and emotions. This is Serenity! Discover it and Stick with it.

Intro to Innovating through Meditation for Recovering Humans

Intro to Innovating through Meditation for Recovering Humans

We are multidimensional beings living in a multidimensional world with multidimensional illnesses.  Wow. What does this mean and how does it relate to my life and my spiritual program?  I’d like to invite you to join us on a journey to explore what this means, how this perspective relates to me and the 12 Step program of recovery as outlined by Alcoholics Anonymous, and how this paradigm and meditation can help heal us from many of our defects.

In 1935 the program of Alcoholics Anonymous was started with 2 alcoholics helping each other to recover a seemingly hopeless spiritual malady. From the depths of the Great Depression of our country and their personal bottoms they helped innovate a spiritual program of recovery that today has help millions of people recovery from addiction. In 1999 Time listed him as “Bill W.: The Healer” in the Time 100: The Most Important People of the Century.[

The success of an innovating idea is the amount of spin-offs and adaptions an idea has to solve other related problems. This simple 12 Step healing process as outlined by the founders of AA has morphed into close to 100 related Anonymous groups to help with other types of addictions.

Human have multiple operating systems that must be seamlessly integrated with each other to work at it was ultimately designed to work. These human operating systems are our:

  • Physical bodies
  • Emotional bodies
  • Mental systems
  • Spiritual systems
  • Universal systems

We usually strive to heal and correct our immediate problem but we can reach Meister Eckhart Layers of Selfinto the root systems that helped cause the problem.  Not only did I need to stop drinking but I need to heal my way of thinking, feeling, and interacting with others and our world.

I got sober in 1998 and immediately was drawn to the meditation aspect of the program. The 11th Step of AA’s Step Steps states “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.”

Today we are learning to innovate once again within the 12 step program by applying meditation to each of the 12 Steps.  We have discovered that the spiritual perspective and action of each step can be practiced and enhanced with meditation techniques and practices.

We invite you to join us on a year long journey of spiritual exploration through meditation of the 12 steps.  Here is the first Blog Post on the 1st Step in this journey.

11th Step Holiday Meditation to Sooth the Soul

11th Step Holiday Meditation to Sooth the Soul

The 11th Step Meditation Journey consists of many different facets that combine over time and practice to become your spiritual path towards that Conscious Contact that the 11th Step seeks.

We encourage you to use the tools suggested on this site to assist you in learning Holiday Meditationmeditation and developing our 11th Step practice.

This journey, is your journey, we cannot do it for you! But we can, and have tried, to provide you with the tools, the information, the encouragement and a special place to explore and experience this.

Listen to this guided 11th Step Holiday Meditation

Let’s begin by working Step One and realizing that we are powerless over the holidays and that at times it will seem unmanageable.  In meditation, the roots of my unmanageability are that my thoughts and emotions are unmanageable and I am powerless over them.  This is, also, the First Step in learning and practicing meditation.

We can practice this 11th Step meditation to help create a sane and serene holiday time of year! This 3 Step Meditation will help to re-center and re-focus your thoughts and emotions to connect with your Higher Power.  You can do this at home in the morning, sitting in your car at lunch, or anywhere that you can sit for 10-15 minutes.

Here is a description of the Meditation if you wish to learn to do this on your own. Let’s begin:

Step One – Sit comfortably and close your eyes. Spend several minutes just listening to your breath. We breathe everyday, but never pay attention to it. Notice how your body moves in rhythm with your breathing. As you hear sounds or have thoughts, simply notice them, but do not reach out and grab them or attach any emotion to them. Each time you exhale, let go of your stress and tension and feel yourself becoming more relaxed. Now use this affirmation as a mantra with your breathing….as you inhale, think to your self, “I relax” and as you exhale, think to yourself, “I let go.” “I relax” and “I let go.” “I relax” and “I let go.” Repeat this over and over for several minutes.

As you find yourself getting distracted, re-center your meditation by pulling your focus back onto your breath.

Step Two – Change your affirmation to “I let go” with the inhale and “I let God” with your exhale. “I let go” and “I let God.” “I let go” and “I let God.” You may substitute the word “love” for “God” if you wish. Repeat this for several minutes. Now try to visualize your stress and tension falling from your mind and your shoulders as you remember that you are not alone, that you have others to support you and that you have an inner connection to your Higher Power that is always present.

Step Three – Our next affirmation is “Love” on the inhale and “in action” on the exhale. “Love” “in action.” “Love” “in action.” “Love” “in action.” Repeat this for several minutes. It is not easy to know what God’s will is, but I have found that if I always express love, compassion and kindness in any situation, then I am probably following my Higher Powers will. Continue the affirmation while visualizing people or circumstances in your live. Imagine that you are surrounding them with a cloud of white, healing loving energy. Do this for as long as you wish.

Slowly end your meditation by returning your attention back to your body and the area where you are sitting.  Science tells us that you have just increased your flow of endorphins, reduced your blood pressure, relaxed your body and calmed your emotions.  Not bad for free and in just a few minutes!

Try the Holiday Mini-Meditation! Remember that the goal of Step Eleven is “to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him.”  I also need to continue reconnecting to my Higher Power throughout the day.  Use a quick 3 Step Mini-Meditation anytime, while standing in the check-out at the store, sitting at my desk at work, anytime through the day.  Practice detaching from your frustrations and resents of the moment by listening to your breath, focusing on the affirmations and connecting to your Higher Power.

Meditation can be a powerful friend this holiday season and throughout the year.  Practice this simple spiritual exercise to help build a spiritual connection and foundation for emotional sobriety.

Hope you have a serene, loving holiday season!

Randy F

The 5 P’s to Working an 11th Step Meditation Practice


The 11th Step Meditation Journey consists of many different facets that combine over time steps_to_heaven_1200x412and practice to become your spiritual path towards that Conscious Contact that the 11th Step seeks.

We encourage you to use the tools suggested on this site to assist you in learning meditation and developing our 11th Step practice.

This journey, is your journey, we cannot do it for you! But we can, and have tried, to provide you with the tools, the information, the encouragement and a special place to explore and experience this.

Here are the 5 “P’s” of an 11th Step Meditation practice:

Persistence, Patience, Practice, Perseverance, Presence

Here are some thoughts on how you can bring these words and concepts to your program, to your life, to your relationship with your Higher Power, and your relationship with others, the world and the universe:


It takes sustained meditation effort to overcome habits and patterns of thinking feeling, acting that we have used our entire lifetime. We need to forgive ourselves as we steadily trudge this road when we fall short of our goals. Persistence, continued and recurring effort, meditating everyday, even 5 or 10 minutes, is vital to changing our lives.

The spiritual path requires constant rededication. Just like when sailing a ship you can’t steer directly toward your destination. Instead a sailor must tack back and forth, adjusting sails and direction, to catch the best wind at the time. So, in hind sight, the path looks like a zig zag, but in truth, it is just the path that needed to be taken. We can’t give up just because we fall short momentarily. Each time, over the years of striving to meditate, I have needed to begin again, to pick up where I left off, and get back to my daily meditation practice.

Find or start an 11th Step Meditation meeting in your area. Utilize the tools that we have in the program of group effort, commitments to a meditation meeting, joining other meditation group’s, attend retreats, read any of the suggested books on meditation on this site. Grow your passion and desire to find your inner connection to you higher power through persistence in working towards this worthy spiritual goal.


Acceptance of where we are in our life is key to bringing patience to our meditation practice. Meditation is not a quick fix. Chances are that others in your life will see the fruits of your meditation before you do. As a friend once said to me – “meditation is long term sobriety stuff.” Trust, have faith, and know that your efforts to learn and practice meditation will have wonderful benefits for you, others around you and for the world!

Meditating is truly a one day, or even one meditation, at a time process that grows and deepens our relationship with ourselves, the world around us and our Higher Power. Thomas Keating, who teaches Centering Prayer, a Christian Meditation method, teaches that meditation (prayer) “is opening ourselves to a deeper relationship with God. This relationship with God develops through a process of growing intimacy.” As we know relationships take time, effort and patience to grow from acquaintanceship, friendliness, friendship and finally to intimacy. Through our practice of meditation, with patience, we are developing an intimate relationship with our true selves and our Higher Power.

Practice, Practice, Practice

My sponsor, when I got sober, taught me the concept of “practicing.” He suggested that I “practice” life in the same way that I “practiced” for sports. When I begin I am not very good, maybe awful. It can be frustrating starting a new spiritual practice. But as I continue to try, learn better skills, practice with others, and improve practicing turns into proficiency.

Imagine how our lives, minds and emotions are like a polluted lake when we get sober. Even if we begin meditating later in sobriety we still have some of this pollution in our system. Vedanta, the philosophical basis of Hinduism, teaches that meditation is learning to master the mind. “Vedanta says that we can master the mind and, through repeated practice, we can make the mind our servant rather than being its victim. The mind, when trained, is our truest friend; when left untrained and reckless, it’s an enemy that won’t leave the premises.”

After a period of practicing, “now, instead of the polluted lake we previously envisioned, think of a beautiful, clear lake. No waves, no pollution, no tourists, no speedboats. It’s clear as glass: calm, quiet, tranquil. Looking down through the pure water, you can clearly see the bottom of the lake,” from Vedanta: A Simple Introduction by Pravrajika Vrajaprana. The bottom of the lake is reality, the present moment, truth, God.

Pursue and practice meditation to discover for yourself the benefits (promises) of emotional stability, serenity, improved health and a life of quality sobriety.


According to, “perseverance commonly suggests activity maintained in spite of difficulties or steadfast and long-continued application.” This is also a synonym of persistence, but it is such a vital ingredient to spiritual life that I feel it is worthy repeating!

When I was drinking and trying to stay sober, I was often a quitter. I gave up on people, places, things and myself. Be steadfast in your persistence in staying sober and learning to meditate. There is so much evidence that this effort with meditation will bring your great rewards beginning with emotional balance.


We need to find every method we can to be present in the moment and in the presence of our higher power. Meditation is the greatest practice that I know that will help you accomplish this. It is a wonderful spiritual exercise in connecting to, and in spending quality time, in the presence of your higher power. This is conscious contact, the advanced part of the 11th Step. While it is vital to begin learning and practicing meditation early in recovery we may only find moments of “presence” or conscious contact with God until we have practiced meditation for a while.

The phrase “being in the Now” is uttered more often lately in meetings I’ve noticed. We spend too much time trapped in our thoughts, fueling our roller coaster emotions, stuck in the past, or worrying about the future. Life, reality, God, can only be found and experienced in the present moment. Meditation gives us a perfect way to detach from all that interrupts our “presence” and let’s us learn to spend quality time within the presence our higher power.

Wayne Dyer in his book, Getting in the Gap, summarizes this perfectly for us:

“The paramount reason for making meditation a part of our daily life is to join forces with our sacred energy and regain the power of our Source (God). Through meditation, we can tap in to an abundance of creative energy that resides within us, and a more meaningful experience of life. By meditating, we come to know God rather than know about God” page 2

“It’s been said that it’s the space between the bars that holds the tiger. And it’s the silence between the notes that makes the music. It is out of the silence, or “the gap” or the space between our thoughts that everything is created – including our own bliss.” page 71

“By making conscious contact with God, it is said that you will come to know the power of that Source and use that power to attract anything into your life. God is that one force in the universe that is indivisible. There’s only one force, one power, and you can’t divide it.” page 72

Remember – Persistence, Patience, Practice, Perseverance, Presence!

Randy F.

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