Keeping Recovery Alive with “CPR,” part 2

In our last post we began looking at three important daily recovery disciplines that anyone in recovery can implement. The first post was on making calls. You can read that post by clicking HERE.

[This is from our guest author.] The second part of the CPR acronym is “Pray.” Although there are many different ideas and methods regarding prayer, here are some specific suggestions that have been helpful to me throughout my recovery. 

The Big Book of AA offers these thoughts on page 87 when describing step 11:

“On awakening let us think about the twenty-four hours ahead. We consider our plans for the day. Before we begin, we ask God to direct our thinking, especially asking that it be divorced from self-pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives…As we go through the day we pause, when agitated or doubtful, and ask for the right thought or action.”

Another suggestion is to pray or meditate through steps 1, 2, and 3 each day. Acknowledge powerlessness, recognize your need for a higher power, and surrender your thoughts and actions as you try to “do the next right thing” today. These steps are not “one-time” events, but are disciplines that we should practice every day. Praying and meditating on these is a great way to do this.

Step 7 suggests that we ask God to remove our defects of character. It’s probably not practical to go through each character defect every day – I think my initial list had 23 character defects and I keep finding more! – but we can think about the top 2 or 3 defects that have been most prominent in the last 24 hours. We can also look at our day ahead and think about any situations that might cause these defects to surface. 

Finally, if we’re not sure what to pray, we can simply recite the Serenity Prayer, the Lord’s Prayer, or another prayer that we find meaningful. When saying these prayers, take them slowly and meditate on each word or phrase. Doing this on a regular basis can help us to find new meaning in these old, tried-and-true prayers.

[This is from Greg.] I so appreciate the perspective on prayer you’ve just read from our guest author. I just want to add a couple short thoughts of my own.

For a Christian who struggles with addiction, that person usually also has a difficult time connecting with God through prayer for help with the struggle. There can be a number of reasons. Shame is a typical one. Rather than run to God for the forgiveness promised in the Bible, we hide from him (like Adam & Eve in the Garden of Eden), ashamed and afraid of being exposed. But God knows what we’ve done and He invites us to come back to Him and receive His help.

Another reason prayer can be difficult is spiritual abuse. Many who grew up in the church were taught wrong messages about God (i.e. He’s angry, He’s looking for a reason to punish people when they do wrong) or were constantly subjected to hellfire & brimstone thinking. Why would someone who struggles with sexual sin want to pray to a God like that? We often want to clean ourselves up first, before coming into God’s presence; the problem is this doesn’t work.

Finally, pride can be a reason we don’t approach God in prayer. We want to fix it ourselves. We live life surrounded by messages of self-sufficiency. Here is where working the Twelve Steps really helps. If we understand and remember our powerlessness, our inability to bring change on our own, this will drive us to seek help from the One who really can help us.

In our next post, we’ll take a look at the third element of CPR: Read. Stay tuned!

Awaken is a Birmingham, AL based ministry walking with individuals, couples, and ministry leaders who have been impacted by sexual brokenness & addiction. Our goal is to help people experience hope, connection, and healing through the gospel and the recovery process. For info on how to join our virtual meetings, contact us at!