Step Eleven is the daily practice and experience of deepening your awareness of your Higher Power through prayer and meditation. You are capable of prayer and meditation, regardless of your background or history. If you set aside the time daily, you can reach for whatever you believe is greater than, deeper than, or beyond yourself. Step Eleven also assumes that by now you have a conscious awareness of your Higher Power, and you are drawn to deepening that connection.
Step Seven is about humility (realistic, selfless, and modest) and asking for help to make the changes you are now prepared for. Consider Step Seven as a portal into openness for change. Once you take Step Seven, you step out of the way so your Higher Power can handle the rest of it. The combination of humility and asking provides a survivor with a perspective beyond the traumatic events. Sadly, you can form an inaccurate perspective based on how you internalized the traumatic event(s). Through prayer (humbly asking), you can trust that your prayers are heard, shall be answered in God’s time only.
When I first attempted this step, I had two immediate thoughts: 1) How and why would my Higher Power “remove” anything from me, and 2) What would I feel like if I were “entirely ready” to give up all my “defects”? I felt that if I would attempt this step, I would allow something extreme in my life, and this seemed intimidating. My fear was that Step Six meant I would have to open up in a way that felt unnatural to me. Frankly, I did not want to let go of what I thought would have to be too much, too fast, or parting from my vital survival skills. Taking this step did not seem at all appealing to me. The way I processed my fears was by asking which parts of me I thought would be removed, and was I afraid of having to live a life without these very necessary parts of myself. My fear was that this meant I had to become someone fundamentally different from my basic personality and nature. This was because I believed that I was defective, and who I was must be problematic. This too, is another tragic result of trauma and victimization. It is not the intent of Step Six at all.
You have worked Steps One and Two with a safe and trusted person – you have surrendered and you have demonstrated your willingness to try a new approach to your life experiences. When you admit your powerlessness over your traumatic history, you learn a comforting and critical truth: that you experienced certain painful life events that you absolutely could not have controlled. You were also not always in control of the coping patterns that have emerged. For some survivors, this can be a frightening and humbling experience. (More of this will be revealed through the Fourth and Fifth Steps).
When I first met Adam, it was not obvious why he came to me for help with the Twelve Steps. From a superficial look at his life he appeared to have every reason to be a trusting person. He described his successful love-relationship, healthy and smart children, a genuine love for his work, and a satisfying social life. His life would be the envy of most people, with a bank account, and external factors that most people dream of. Unlike many people who turn to the Twelve Steps because of addictive patterns of behavior in their lives, Adam turned to the Twelve Steps because a friend had urged him to seek help using spiritual principles that have helped countless others.
Step One is your guide on how to process and heal from trauma. It will also serve as your guide to personal growth, which is applicable for anyone, not just for trauma survivors. Why is processing trauma, and personal growth, important for you? You may wonder of the necessity of going through such a process, especially if you are high functioning and successful in life. After all, growing pains are indeed painful, and we humans are wired to avoid pain and seek pleasure. You also have a responsibility to take care of yourself, and although some pain can be avoided, there is the pain that cannot be avoided, and requires processing.
This book is directed to the individuals without any experience of Twelve Step recovery, the seasoned veteran of Twelve Steps, as well as the experienced mental-health professional. The Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous have helped countless addicts. This healing process is based upon spiritual principles that speak to the human spirit. If you practice them, you will experience physical and spiritual growth, and emotional stability.