Meditation and 12 Steps to Innovate for Recovering Humans

The Basic Texts of the 12 Step Programs

The Eleventh Step of Alcoholics Anonymous 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."

It has been our experience that the "and meditation" part of this step is often overlooked and omitted as a foundation for a sane and serene recovery program.

In this section we invite you to explore what our primary program literature teaches us about meditation. The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous and the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions (12 & 12) and their segments on meditation are discussed on the pages linked here. We encourage you to become a student of these texts as you progress on your journey in recovery.

Meditation, as stated in the 12 & 12, is "intensely practical" which is why I have included Bill W.’s article on emotional sobriety, which is also one of the first fruits of meditation.

In another article in the Grapevine, from March 1962, and included in the book Language of the Heart on pages 269-272, Bill mentions one of the methods he uses to meditate:

"One way to get at the meaning of the principle of acceptance is to mediate upon it in the context of AA’s much used prayer, God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference….

In times of very rough going, the grateful acceptance of my blessings, oft repeated, can also bring me some of the serenity of which our prayer speaks. Whenever I fall under acute pressures I lengthen my daily walks and slowly repeat our Serenity Prayer in rhythm to my steps and breathing…..This benign healing process and repetition, sometimes necessary to persist for days has seldom failed to restore me to at least a workable emotional balance and perspective."

As you will see, Bill’s, and the 12 Step Program’s, understanding, use and experience with meditation have grown from the early days when the Big Book was written.

It is this continued understanding and experience that we wish to continue through, increased visibility and attendance of 11th Step meditation meetings, and availability of information and tools to learn meditation.