12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous: Step 11

This series of articles is a PERSONAL perspective/interpretation of The Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.

The 12 Step program of Alcoholics Anonymous began on June 10, 1935 and has helped scores of people around the world obtain and maintain sobriety from drugs and alcohol.

­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.

“Prayer and meditation are our principle means of conscious contact with God.” This is the first sentence in the chapter on Step Ten in “Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions”. Personally, I think it is important to emphasize that “God” in the 12 Step Program of Alcoholics Anonymous can mean anything to you. YOU can define your “God” or Higher Power any way you wish. The most important thing to get from Step Eleven of The 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous is the idea that staying in contact with this Higher Power is a way for us to get and stay sober. And prayer and meditation are two ways to do this. Each person is free to develop his or her own way of praying and meditating.

Yes, this Step implies “spirituality”—and many of us struggle with the whole concept of “spirituality”. So, it’s often helpful to seek out the thoughts and experiences of other members in the 12 Step Program of Alcoholics Anonymous on the subject. By doing this, you’re able to explore and develop WHAT WORKS FOR YOU. There have been many, many people who have struggled with and resisted the “spiritual” part of the 12 Step Program and who have come out on the other side with a clearer idea of what works for them to enable them to stay sober. After all, that is the whole point of the 12 Step Program—to STAY sober. Of course, practicing Step Eleven of The 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous is an ongoing process—just like all The Steps. But after spending some quality time on Step Eleven and after we have gained a good chunk of successful sobriety, we’re ready to move into Step Twelve—which is at the heart of why we continue The Steps.


1. Alcoholics Anonymous, Fourth Edition; Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. 2001.

2. Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions; Alcoholics Anonymous Services, Inc. 1952

***NOTE: this article is a personal interpretation of the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous and is neither endorsed nor approved by Alcoholics Anonymous. ***

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