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.
Koan: The storehouse of treasures opens of itself. You may take them and use them anyway you wish. –Fukanzazengi* – Dōgen (PZI Misc. Koans)
I had a sponsee once; I was telling him that the overriding theme of AA was all about service to others; and he asked, “What’s the payoff for me?”
“That’s telling,” I thought, “This may be a challenging situation here.” But again, this was early on, he was actually demonstrating his self-centeredness in spades, this is how alcoholics act, and we continued on.
Step 11 is, after all, simply reminding me to do what I’ve already been doing working Steps 1-10. These Steps are in my mind already, and have been a part of my daily life for some time now. Bill W. knew from his personal experiences that alcoholics need reminding all the time.
Step 1 reminds me that I’m an alcoholic and will always be one for the remainder of my life. It’s also a reminder of how unmanageable my life was back in the drinking days. This reminder often opens of itself, a storehouse of treasures from my past. What, now, should I do with these reminders?
I’m reminded of Step 2, how my willingness to be open to the notion that a higher power is here that will restore some sanity into my life. What a gift this is! It leads me to Step 3 and the power and relief I’ve experienced over the years, just by turning my thoughts and actions over to a God of my understanding. This is perhaps the greatest treasure in my storehouse.
Steps 4 and 5 are reminders how to look back at my past behavior and actions, sort them out regarding my motives and how I’ve hurt others; then telling my sponsor about all about myself. The payback? Treasures of relief and periods of serenity, understanding that I am but a human being, not a defective human being.
Steps 6 and 7 are midway in the Steps, a reminder that God is always with me, I can always talk to my higher power about new matters coming up, about some shortcomings that have returned, and through prayer, ask that these be removed. Bill W. was right. We need frequent reminders.
Steps 8 and 9. Making my amends to all those I have hurt. When I clean up my side of the street, I feel cleaner! What a concept (think treasure). Steps 8 and 9 involves the entirety of my life’s actions and thoughts. And in order to not continue to build upon my 9th Step list, Step 10 provides me with daily tools … to keep my side of the street clean.
Back to Step 11 again - - it’s very apparent to me, by working these Steps daily, I have a lot going for me. My life is full and rewarding. The payback?
The Steps have taught me that giving to others is far more rewarding than taking things for myself. I have my own storehouse of treasures that are uniquely tailored to my personality. Truly, my storehouse opens of itself when I stay close to and rely on my higher power one day at a time.
Sobriety, a motivator of gratitude
Gratitude, the catalyst that opens the door
To the world’s storehouse of treasures
*Fukan zazengi (Japanese: 普勸坐禪儀), also known by its English translation Universal Recommendation for Zazen, is an essay describing and promoting the practice of zazenwritten by the 13th century Japanese Zen monk Eihei Dōgen. The date of its composition is unclear, and the text evolved significantly over the author's lifetime. It is written in Classical Chinese rather than the Classical Japanese Dōgen used to compose his famous Shōbōgenzō.