At a recent meeting, the topic was Step 11. I most often share about my difficulties in creating a regular program of prayer and meditation. But at this meeting, I picked the second part of the step “Praying only for knowledge of God’s will…” The question that I face when I consider that phrase is, “how do I know if something is God’s will or just mine?”

Apparently, I last talked about this question in Episode 61 “Intuition or God’s Will?”

One tool that I try to remember to use when faced with this question is to ask myself “What is my motive?” I was guided to this question by a program friend some years ago. An acquaintance had had a horrible experience, and I was thinking about calling them to let them know I cared. But, I also had enough Al-Anon experience to know that I really ought to check this out with someone else, first. So I called a program friend, and described what I was considering. This friend then asked me “What is your motive?”

That made me stop and think. What was my motive? Did I really think that I could provide support? Or was I just trying to make myself feel better about not being able to actually do anything about the situation? Was I close enough to my acquaintance to even talk to them about their experience? 

In the end, I decided that this idea came from my will, with the motive of making myself feel better, and did not call. Years later, I still think that was the right decision.

There are other situations in which I ask myself, “what is my motive?” Listen to hear about them.

Readings and Links

We read from Courage to Change, January 18.


What is your experience using the question, “What is my motive?” Please send a voice memo or email to, or call our voice mail line at 734-707-8795.

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