Episode 147: Step 11 with Angela and John

Angela and I had a nice conversation about Step 11, which in its traditional wording seems difficult for a secular person to even be interested in pursuing. However, for me and for Angela as well, this step wasn’t about making a conscious contact with a god. I liked the way that Angela described this step. She sees it as “being about openness and taking the new space in our lives and putting something good there.”

Transcript

00:00 John: And welcome to AA Beyond Belief, a podcast for, by, and about people who have found a secular path to recovery in Alcoholics Anonymous. And I’m here with my co-host, Angela B, and we’re going to be talking about step 11. And step 11, when you read it, it reads as “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.” Can you help me out with this one, Angela? 

00:30 Angela: [chuckle] Yeah, it is a difficult one when it’s read from how it was written, but I don’t think that most of us approach it that way. So, what was the way that you approached it or have thought of it early on and stuff? 

00:53 John: Well, okay. Now, when I was going to through the steps with the sponsors through my old group, when we got to 10, 11, and 12, the maintenance steps, there wasn’t really a lot of practical work that we did. All we did was read the material, get together, talk about it. And my sponsor at the time just urged me, he said, “The best way to learn about these steps and to work these steps is to help someone else.” Now later, many years ago, this is now, but it was further into my sobriety, about 10 years into my sobriety, I got a little bit more serious with meditation. We started a meditation group and I was meditating on a very regular basis, and got a lot of benefit from it, and learned a lot about it, and that was my step 11. It was never for me, even then, about making conscious contact with God. And I don’t know if I even, would even talk to my sponsor about that, necessarily. Although we did talk about prayer, that was so long ago now that I don’t quite remember it. 

01:56 John: But as I flash-forward to many years later, and when I start looking at the steps again as an Atheist, now I’m… Excuse me, now I’m looking at what am I trying to achieve from this step? And initially, the conclusion I came to is that what I’m looking for is serenity, peace, calm, and I thought about the serenity prayer. So, when I actually wrote this step out in my way, I just used the Serenity Prayer. So, for me, this step is seeking the serenity to accept the things I can’t change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference, however, I get there. And that could be meditation. And actually, there was one point early on, even as an atheist, where, and I probably would still rely on this, reciting the Serenity Prayer, but not really thinking about it in terms as it being a prayer. But there are times when I might be agitated, or nervous, or worried, or just feeling out of sorts, and reciting that in my brain does kind of help calm me down. And I think it does because of my past history of many years of using that prayer and saying it to myself still helps me. 

03:22 John: And so, I will, from time to time, say it. I don’t really think of it as petitioning to a god, though, but I will do that. So that’s kind of where I’m at with it. Now, another thing though, that I did like about this step when I was first studying it early on, and it’s something that I’ve carried with me, is the use of imagination in a constructive way, so that I can… Using imagination in meditation. So, I can sit quietly and kind of use my brain to imagine myself someplace else or imagining myself in a calm state, or something like that. And I have done that before. 

04:07 Angela: Okay. [chuckle] Well, interesting, and I think that yours is a pretty common experience for most people who are atheist or agnostic looking at the steps and such or who went through them the first time. The way that I do it, I kind of consider this more of the continuing education step. And so, to me, it’s not necessarily about prayer, or petitioning to God, [chuckle] or creating a conscious contact with God, of course. But part of that is the will for us and such. And so, for me, it’s more of just continuing education and continuing to grow.

 05:00 Angela: It’s basically taking what we did in steps two and three, the way that I understand them. So, the list of resources we developed in step two on things that help us create calm, the resources that we go to that are healthy, whether it is meditation already or going for a walk, or hanging out with our dog, that kind of thing. And then, the intentionality of step three, which is that we’re asserting that we want to continue to grow in this process. And putting them together, and then just kind of amplifying that. So, this step, I think, is more about openness and taking the new space we have in our lives and in our brain from doing the previous step work, and then putting something good there.

05:57 Angela: Trying new things in life since we’re not, hopefully, ruminating as much, or we’ve learned a little bit about how to keep ourselves out of some dysfunction in work situations or relationships and stuff. What kind of stuff do we want to put in? And that’s the part of it where it’s developing ourselves more. What is my purpose? We can look at that a little bit more. Do I have a purpose or are there certain goals? I don’t mean purpose as in, “I was born to do this,” [chuckle] but more of a “What do we feel like we can contribute?” And so, since we’ve done this previous work, this is the step that I think is about learning about ourselves more and trying things that maybe we haven’t tried. Even simple things like if you were prone to go drinking in the woods, maybe you could actually try camping. And taking the curiosity, I think, of trying new things in different ways. So that’s kind of how I look at it.

 07:03 John: So, if you had to put it in words, how would you word this if someone asked you to write it out?

07:11 Angela: If someone asked me to write it out, let’s see. I guess I would say it was something, it would be something along the lines of, “This step is more about continuing education, trying new things so that we can recognize our potential.”

 07:33 John: Okay, okay.

 07:34 Angela: So yeah.

 07:35 John: So, this is really… And that makes sense to me, that you kind of get to the point where you’ve gone through all of the other steps, you’ve reached a point where you’ve probably grown a lot. You’re already working on a lot of things, and this is just almost like a re-commitment to challenge yourself to continue along with that process?

 07:57 Angela: Yeah, yeah. So, it’s continuing to grow. And usually, you have more confidence, particularly after you’ve done step nine and gotten over some of the scary parts of what other people might think, or what the repercussions are going to be from that. And in step 10, you’re developing better practices and routines and things to keep yourself more balanced emotionally. And so, this is like taking all that you’ve learned and being able to try stuff that maybe you wouldn’t before. So, an example, my sponsor at one time was into ecstatic dance, which is like when she explained it to me, it sounded very “woo-wee”, which usually isn’t my thing, but I was willing to try it. And basically, it’s like a bunch of people and they play music, and everybody just kind of dances around to whatever way moves them or they feel like it, and it’s usually kind of, I guess I’d say, hippy-ish type people. And so just wasn’t really something I thought that I would enjoy, but I decided that I was going to try new things, and I’d never done that. And I was extremely uncomfortable, it was very, very, very difficult. I was super self-conscious, because of course everybody’s looking at me in my mind, it’s all about how I’m moving.

 09:33 Angela: But I tried it for a couple of months because, for me, it was more of an exercise of, “Okay this is uncomfortable and probably not something that I’m going to want to do, but I want to do it enough time so that I’m okay with it, that I could do it if I wanted to. And that the discomfort, the self-consciousness goes away.” And that’s what I did. And so, I did it for a few months and it got to be where I could, get in the flow, and dance, and do what I wanted, and it was kind of fun and stuff. But it just wasn’t something that I felt like I would do long term. And so, I tried something out and I gave it a real effort. I didn’t shy away or didn’t stop doing it just because I was uncomfortable. So that’s part of the growth step for me is that, yeah, it was a bit uncomfortable, but I stuck with it until I understood the discomfort and was able to move past that, and then I went on to the next thing that I decided to check out. And for me, some of the stuff I’ve mentioned before is like cooking, baking. I didn’t know how to do any of that. And so, starting to watch YouTube and learn different techniques, and all about butter and when you use butter, and when you use margarine, and when you use Crisco and all sorts of crazy stuff like that.

 11:00 Angela: I didn’t know anything about it. And so, I started doing that and making cupcakes. And then I got into cookie decorating and that’s something that I find that I’ve cultivated, and I’ve practiced a lot. So, I’m not talented at it, I’m learned at it, but I’m good at it now. And I find that it’s very meditative to me, the routine of I know the process and I go, and I bake the cookies, and this takes this long, and then I develop the icing, and I do the techniques. And yeah, and I find just sitting down and doing that is a very meditative thing for me. I’m in the zone, I have to pay attention to what I’m doing, and so I’m right there right now, in the present, working on something. And so, again, I consider that as part of this step because it’s trying something that I didn’t think I was good at, or I had very little skill at, that I might not have tried before. Because particularly, when I was in addiction, I didn’t generally try new things unless they were extremely dangerous and everybody else was doing it, and that kind of thing.

 12:12 John: Yeah, totally get it now.

 12:13 Angela: I did jump out of an airplane, but yeah, so…

 12:15 John: Yeah, I totally get it. Yeah. The light bulb just kind of went off, and I relate to you now so well about this, I actually did the same damn thing. I don’t know if I ever connected this to my recovery necessarily, or to any particular step, but it makes sense. So, for me, after I reached about 10 years of sobriety, that’s really about when I was ready to move to the next level I guess, and really begin exploring things like what you’re talking about, activities beyond my normal recovery stuff. So, at this point now, it took me this long, it took me about 10 years to get my life financially stable. That’s just what it took for me. So, at that time, that’s when I started doing things like running, playing chess, doing fun things that I hadn’t done before because of my drinking or because my life was, I was just so busy trying to get my life together. 

13:23 John: And I was learning, I was doing things that, bike riding, different things that I just wasn’t doing. And you’re right, for me, they were very meditative. They were very… They took me, they took my mind off of any other kind of worry or concern I might have and at this point, I don’t really have that many. I was kind of thinking today before I got on to talk with you, I thought, what do I do today to calm myself or whatever but I don’t really have situations so often anymore, where I feel like I have to do anything to calm myself down. I just don’t feel like… And things are going pretty smoothly. I’ve been really lucky in that regard here lately, I guess. But yeah, but those things, and I just got back to running. Oh gosh, I haven’t been good about it since my wife’s surgery, but I was getting back into it. And I really do enjoy it because it’s that, once I get into that groove, I’m not… I don’t know, I just kind of, it puts me in a different thought plane, I guess. And when I leave the gym after running, I always do it on a treadmill, I always just feel uplifted and I just feel better. And when I do that on a regular basis, it helps. But yeah, I started exploring things like that as well. And still do. 

14:41 Angela: Right. And then, I like several things about it. One is that I think after working the steps, trying things, and then deciding I don’t like them wasn’t as difficult as it was. If I did try it before sometimes, I’d feel guilty like I have to keep going with this even if I don’t like it. It was easier for me to give something a real effort and then determine and try something else if I didn’t like it. Or commit more, if it’s something that I thought was good for me or that I could benefit from or help other people with and stuff. And so that was a little bit of a new thing for me because, again, I’ve spoken before in the steps of learning to have boundaries and say no, and all of that kind of stuff was a difficult thing for me. So this was another part of that where I got some growth is that I got to try something like this ecstatic dance and then determined that I didn’t want to be part of that and not feel like I was letting down the entire community or whatever else. 

15:48 Angela: We do, I think a lot of us, we can get a little carried away, sometimes, with this. So, we are mindful of that. Oftentimes, sometimes we’ll take up running or things and then we injure ourselves because we push it too far because we get so excited about it. There is one woman in one of my meetings who talked about that she was going to get into fishing because she’d always been going to the river, and with beer, and she called that fishing. And so, to get into fishing instead of just getting a fishing pole and a tackle box and stuff, she got several fishing poles and a boat and went totally overboard. And I can relate to that too. One of the things that I’ve tried was hula hooping. All of my friends, it felt like, could hula hoop and I couldn’t hula hoop. And so, I learned how to hula hoop and then I learned how to make hula hoops and then I started selling hula hoops. 

16:50 John: Oh my God. 

16:51 Angela: And it’s just like, yeah, it was like, really going for it and so starting to learn a little bit of balance with that. 

16:58 John: Oh, wow Angela, you’re just like me. I can tell you a story about just something just like that. I got into coin collecting, okay? because I coin collected as a kid. Well the next thing you know, I’m selling coins on eBay, buying coins on eBay. And then, next thing you know, I’ve got a damn website, NumismaticSupplies.com. And I’m buying coin collecting supplies wholesale and trying to sell them retail. And I’m going to coin shows all over the Midwest trying to sell this crap. Oh my god, it became like a full-time job and I wasn’t making any money at it because these coin collecting supplies are dirt cheap. I mean, it’s like you have to sell boxes and boxes of the crap. I mean, we’re talking about the little things that you hold coins in. Oh my god. So anyway, my basement to this day, is full of coin collecting supplies and it drives my wife crazy. What she does now because she was on my ass for a long time saying, “You got to do something about this basement.” Well, I just, I’m bad about it, I just never did. Anyway, what she’s doing now, she just grabs a few boxes of this stuff at a time and she takes it to this coin dealer and sells it to him. [chuckle]

 18:05 Angela: Nice, you guys have a good system. 

18:07 John: But yeah, I did that. I mean, I got totally out of hand. Why couldn’t I just collect the damn coins and not have a big business and website? 

18:14 Angela: Right. 

18:14 John: Yeah, so you can’t get carried away. You got to be really careful.

 18:16 Angela: Yeah, it takes practice and probably if we worked on the meditation part, maybe we’d get that quicker, but I don’t know. But yeah, there’s that. I tried beading, making necklaces and stuff. So, I got all of these beading supplies, and that’s not cheap. And then I determined that really, I didn’t like beading. I like playing with beads. I like touching the beads, the tactile stuff, but I really don’t like to bead. So, I held on to this stuff for a while and then eventually I’m like, you really don’t like to bead, you should give it to people who would benefit more. And so yeah, so I did that. But I tried it out. And so, I tried that as a new thing. And then exploration academically. Looking into new things, reading books and studying. And a lot of us, I think, can get into that. And particularly those of us that are secular and trying to make our way in recovery. Particularly in 12 step meetings, I think a lot of us really get into reading and exploring and so yeah, I think that’s helpful as well to expand our ideas, both of addiction or substance use, or whatever you want to call it, and being aware of all of the different information out there so that we are making good decisions about ourselves and changing our language if that’s what works for us, or what would work better for us. So, it’s continuing to grow, basically, that’s how I think about… 

20:03 John: Yeah, and it’s really putting yourself outside into the world, outside of AA, outside of recovery, but you’re interacting with all kinds of people in the real world, doing things that aren’t necessarily related to recovery per se, but it’s getting you out there and meeting these people and expanding your horizons. All of this stuff happened to me after that 10-year mark; that’s when I went back to school and this was happening, I started reading more. I still enjoy reading. And anyway, now, all of the stuff I incorporate into AA Beyond Belief, the website and all that kind of stuff, and I have to watch that too, because I can get carried away. Nowadays, if I read a book, I feel like I have to write a book review and post it on AA Beyond Belief, and I stress myself out over it because I have a hard time writing these damn book reviews, they’re hard to write. [chuckle] So, I’m telling myself… I’d just given up on the last two books I’ve read about writing reviews. I said, “You know what? Damn it, I read the book, I liked the book, I don’t know what to tell anyone about it. I liked it, that’s it.” I just got to move on. 

21:14 Angela: Yeah. Well, and there are lots of ways you can share it too. So, sharing it in the online communities or in podcasts like this. We’ve talked about a couple of different books that are helpful in different things. I really am enjoying it this time. Well, “enjoying” sounds really strange when you’re talking about trauma, but it’s an interest of mine in understanding trauma, developmental trauma, and how that affects people’s lives, and particularly those of us who start using substances, and I find it fascinating. I’ve read five books on trauma, and so, I can talk about them in these podcasts or with other people in groups and share the information that I’ve learned that way. And so, yeah, so that’s something that I find really interesting and that I’m pursuing right now. 

22:06 John: And I think that’s totally onboard with Step 11 too because when you’re doing that, you’re in a place where you’re reading, you’re comprehending, you’re calm, you’re happy. Why is that any different from meditating? I just don’t… I just think that that’s really… For me, reading is a very relaxing activity, and it’s something where, when you’re reading a book, you stop, and you think about it along the way. And to me, that’s just a wonderful way to get myself chilled out. And yeah, yeah, totally. 

22:45 Angela: Right. Yeah, definitely. 

22:47 John: Yeah, that’s how I always see these things. I always try to look at the steps in a practical way, as far as, “What am I getting out of it? What do I really want to get out of it?” And when you think about Step 11, for me, it’s always been… It says… And I’m sorry, I always have to go back to the original, and it’s stupid that I even have to, but when it talks about… Maybe I shouldn’t even… What does this mean? This really is nonsense, I’m sorry, the more I read it. “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve my conscious… ” Okay, so I guess what I… When I was looking at this was years ago, I’d say, “My conscious contact with God,” that doesn’t really mean anything to me as an atheist, other than I’m assuming that people who have a conscious contact with God, they must feel a peaceful connection. [chuckle] So, I’m assuming that, okay, so I have peaceful connections myself, but it’s not through a connection… It’s not through God… Yeah. 

23:45 Angela: Right, yeah. Well, yeah… 

23:46 John: Oh boy. 

23:47 Angela: I’d say the inner peace with yourself. Improve your inner peace, your self-knowledge, your acceptance of self for that part of the step. And then, yeah, for me I think the rest is learning to explore and develop what that self is, what is your potential? It’s kind like an openness, creating a connection to life, which is outside of AA. [chuckle] It’s both in… Usually, in the steps we’re in, when we’re getting sober, it often is a major part of our life. And then, I think this takes what we’ve learned and starts to apply it outside. So, making a connection to life and exploring additional resources, and maybe letting the inner child out to explore things that maybe we didn’t before, or if we’ve had biases that we grew up with. I was thinking of gender ideals or things that we have, like men are supposed to be a certain way, or women are supposed to be a certain way, and learning, “Is that what I want to be part of my life?” Realizing that I have choices on how I can do things, and exploring those until you come to a place of, “Oh, this is how I think I’d like to be and this is how I’d like to grow.” 

25:19 Angela: So, it’s just really bringing all of that together using mindful inquiry, [chuckle] if I can speak today, and yeah, and being intentional or aware of that we have potential. A lot of us, I think, for a long time, suffered self-esteem issues or we did do crappy things, and learning to come to terms with that. And then this, I think, is getting to the point of, “Wait, regardless of my past, I have potential, and let’s explore that, let’s see what this is.” 

25:58 John: So, if you’re sponsoring somebody and you get to this step, do you actually have them do anything concrete, any actual action? Again, as I said, my sponsor, when I was doing this… No, we didn’t really do anything other than later, I did some things that I associate with Step 11. 

26:16 Angela: Yeah. Well, for this, we talk a little bit about what I’ve talked about thus far. And then sometimes, if there’s… If the person isn’t quite sure, we’ll make a list that they can do at the end of the day to think about. We do things like, “Think about, did I do something today for my mind? What did I do today for my body, for my relationships? How did I foster creativity, or am I looking at passions I might have interests?” That kind of thing, so that it gets you thinking about stuff outside of the basics of today of, “If I’m just being a nice person and not drinking.” What other things are going on that help develop myself so that I can be more helpful in the future and enjoy life more? That’s kind of what we do with that, is we think about those things and start to explore that. I have them take time to think about it and to start trying a new activity or a new discipline, a new practice of some sort and see how that goes. And so, we do that for… It depends on the person, but sometimes a month or so, and try different things and see how it feels and how it feels to… How do you make the determination that something is your interest or not if it makes you feel uncomfortable the minute you do it? [chuckle] 

28:07 Angela: It’s like, “How does that work?” And so, we talk about that. And then, once they get used to that, then we can move on to Step 12. But it’s just the, taking two and three and applying it to the larger scale and realizing that we have that potential. Sometimes I think people get stuck in recovery. And they do good things in recovery, they get into service and they are better people, but they sometimes get stuck and that’s all that they feel like they can do, that’s all they feel they’re successful at, is being a person in recovery. Which, for some people, maybe that is the best thing for them, is being a person in recovery. But for me, I felt like this step is taking what I’ve learned and the tools I’ve gathered and the self-esteem that I’ve gathered and stepping out into the world and trying it in different places. And sometimes it works well in different places and sometimes it doesn’t. It really depends on what you’re doing and what your interests are. So yeah, that’s how I work with it when I’m working with somebody and doing Step 11. 

29:20 John: Well, I really liked your take on it. I like it because you get away from meditation. And that’s such a hang-up for a lot of people because meditation is not something that a lot of people like to do. It’s not… It’s just, I can see that there are definitely benefits from it, and I think that if people like to meditate they definitely should, but there are other ways of achieving the same goal, I think, that aren’t necessarily sitting in a chair quietly, or whatever. [chuckle] 

29:53 Angela: Right, yeah, yeah. And I think it’s the idea, preconceived idea of what meditation is that is difficult for a lot of people. Because like we said, there’s a lot of ways that you can experience that. Is it the Tibetan monks that do the sand mandalas, where they spend lots and lots of time doing this beautiful thing and then wipe it away? That takes a lot of intent and time and concentration, and it benefits them. So, they’re still getting the benefit, they’re just not sitting there doing it, contemplating life. Maybe they are, but that’s not how it appears from my understanding. And part of my coming to understand this step this way was attempting meditation. And I think it was probably more along when I was in Step 2, I went to a Mind Sangha-type thing to try to do, understand group meditation, and I just could not get it. I couldn’t stop my mind long enough to get anywhere, and so, it was pretty miserable for me. I’d sit in there and my butt would hurt, and then I’d try… We’d walk around and I’d try to do the walking thing, but I was busy concentrating on not stepping on the person in front of me. [chuckle] And so, most of those things didn’t help. 

31:18 Angela: I do use guided meditation sometimes, but when I’m doing a guided meditation, it’s generally for calming myself. It’s one of my resources for helping to get myself out of a mental spiral or some sort of thing like that. And so, I find those useful because it is somebody talking and guiding me through thinking about either different parts of my body or relating to different things. So, it’s still more of a mental exercise than what I think most people consider meditation to be, that you’re supposed to get outside of your thoughts or whatever. And for me, I’ve been outside of my thoughts and I’ve had the skill of disassociation. And so, I need to be more into my thoughts, not in a ruminating way, but into the acceptance way, understanding what they are, figuring things out. I was thinking about that last night, that I’ve heard in a couple of different meetings over the last 13 years that this isn’t, figure it out, anonymous. And I’m like, “What a strange thing to say. It’s just, it’s so weird to me.” And it’s usually by people who are like, “You have to do the steps this way and everything’s by the book, and blah, blah, blah. It’s not figuring it out.” And I’m like, “Well, actually, I think it kind of is, at least for me. Learning how to do it in a productive, introspective, caring and compassionate way.” But yeah, that’s my thoughts on it. 

33:00 John: Well, I think that we did a pretty good job at Step 11, actually. And I hope that people like what we had to say. I think that there are going to be some people that are going to think that we are pooh-poohing meditation too much, but that’s okay. It’s just not for everybody. Some people are really into it, and that’s great. But some people aren’t, and that’s okay, too. There are other things you can do. And you and I have found other ways besides meditation to achieve what we want out of this, so I think that’s great. 

33:34 Angela: Right. Yeah, well, and it’d just be like the people who are saying that we pooh-pooh prayer. It’s like, “Well, yeah, we do.” [chuckle] 

33:42 John: Yeah, we do, actually, don’t we? 

33:45 Angela: Well, whereas in my home group, there are people that are agnostic that use prayer and they’re like, “I don’t actually pray to anything, it’s just an exercise I use to understand what my desires or my thoughts are or to understand where I’m at the moment.” And so, they use… And I’m like, “Well, isn’t that more of an affirmation?” Or, I want to phrase it in a way that makes sense to me, but to them, it works perfectly fine as prayer. And so, if that works for you, that’s great. If meditation in a traditional sense, works for you, then I think that’s great too. That most of this is finding stuff that works for each individual, and that’s why if we’re putting these podcasts out there, to say, “Hey, this is what I do or what somebody I know does and this is how it helps them, and maybe it’ll help you too. And if not, there are lots of other things.” And so, yeah. 

34:40 John: So, when we get to Step 12, you want to do it live. [chuckle] 

34:46 Angela: Well, I thought it’d be interesting to do it live, to try it out. because like with this one, we didn’t… We don’t have as much material as four and five. [chuckle] And so, with Step 12, we’ll probably talk a little bit about being of service, how you put all this stuff together to be of service to people. And so, yeah, I figured maybe 20 minutes, 20 minutes to half an hour, and then open it up to people to call in and either share their thoughts on Step 12 or on what we’ve talked about in the steps thus far, or even, are the things that they think should be covered more that they would like to hear more about or think that we should check out.

35:29 John: I think it’s a great idea. I think it’s a great idea.

35:31 Angela: That kind of thing.

35:32 John: I think I’ve ironed out the bugs. The first live one that we did, the phone calls were off, they didn’t sound too good, but I think that was because of something on my end. I think that I had a web page open that was playing YouTube as I was recording at the same time. I think that I was doing something like that, I don’t know, but I’m going to be… I tested it a few times with my wife, [chuckle] and it seemed to work okay. So, I think I might have figured that out. I think it was just a fluky thing that I happened to do that particular night. because I remember I was not sure If I was actually streaming, so I went on YouTube and I opened it up so I could actually see myself, see that I, “Oh yes, I am on YouTube, there I am.” But I think I left that window open and it was messing up the audio.

 36:32 Angela: Yeah, but we can practice it. 

36:34 John: Yeah, we’ll practice it. And then, I think… 

36:37 Angela: It’s figuring it out podcasting. [chuckle] 

36:39 John: Yeah, yeah, it will work, we will work. And I think that we can actually connect like we are now, through Zencastr, and then play it on streaming through YouTube, and that’s what we’ll have to practice. Anyway, that’s some geeky stuff that everybody doesn’t have to hear, I guess, but yeah, we’ll figure it out. 

36:56 Angela: Unless it’s part of their Step 11, is to do a podcast, and so, they want to hear the geeky stuff. [chuckle] Anyway, okay. 

37:02 John: Oh, that sounds fun. We’ll definitely do that, then. That sounds great. 

37:07 Angela: Okay, sounds good. 

37:08 John: Anything else you want to talk about, you want to cover, before we head on out? 

37:12 Angela: No, I think that’s about it for today. 

37:14 John: Yeah, I think I’ve got it too. It was nice chatting with you, and I do look forward to… 

37:19 Angela: You too. 

37:19 John: Going through Step 12. And tomorrow, by the way, I will be posting Step 10 on AA Beyond Belief, so that will be out tomorrow. Actually, tomorrow doesn’t mean anybody who’s listening to this now, but anyway. 

[laughter] 

37:36 John: Alright, you take care, Angela. 37:38 Angela: You too.

 [music]

37:42 John: And that’s another episode of AA Beyond Belief. Thank you so much for listening.

 [music]

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George
George

Your lengthy rambling discussion about the difficulties with meditation give me a pause to reflect on the notion of not thinking and stilling the mind. Your adversions to meditation were thoroughly discussed and explored as far as you were able. Suppose for example that you were able to conceive of meditation as sitting quietly with your eyes closed and letting your thoughts go ramble where they may not attempting to control or stop them in anyway. Suppose that before you sat quietly you had in mind a meaningless one or two syllable sound to use to help with meditation. Preparing… Read more »

John S

I could have done a better job discussing meditation and how it has been helpful. Sorry about the rambling. So often, I am just enjoying myself and having fun with the discussion that I lose my focus on the topic at hand.

Joe C
Joe C

A lot of practical ideas. I love the treatment of Step 11 as continuous education ; the ‘educational variety’ because they develop over a period of time-to reference AA-speak.
A great Freethinkers’s approach to the Steps