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.
This step is loaded with cult meanings that must be explained to the outsider.
“Sought” – This means quested after, pursued. In the next step, however, Bill W. will speak as if this quest was guaranteed to work, that anyone who does it will be rewarded with a “spiritual awakening”.
“through prayer and meditation” – Bill W. is of course hinting at the spiritualist practice of “automatic writing” he learned in the Oxford Group, not more traditional religious forms of prayer and meditation. It involves holding a pen and paper and writing down whatever thoughts pop up, then attributing them to a ghost one channeled.
“to improve our conscious contact with God” – Alcoholics Anonymous preaches that it’s members can be in constant direct communication with God. This is not standard Christian theology or Biblical.
“as we understood Him” – In other words, as Bill W. and the Oxford Group understood God: authoritarian, obsessed with confession, and male.
“praying only for knowledge of His will for us” – This is more Oxford Group spiritualism in Christian wrapping. Bill W. believed in the Group practice called “Guidance “, where members would ” channel God” through automatic writing. This is heresy. (As an atheist I don’t care, but as an ex-Christian I’m wildly offended.)
“and the power to carry that out.” – AA members excpect to be granted knowledge and power by the creator of all because they followed the steps an abusive alcoholic cult member told them to. It’s another example of demanding a miracle in place of taking healthy actions.
This step is so overtly religious I can’t help but laugh at claims the program can be conducive with atheism or with other faiths. This God must be an animate entity if it is to have a will for my life, much less grant me power to carry it out. No doorknob or slogan is going to do. I must either believe in the group’s God or else make my God the group.