Step 7 of AA
Step six helped you develop a willingness to let God remove your defects. In step seven, you actively ask God to do so. If you don’t feel completely ready to ask your higher power to enable you to remove your defects, you may need to spend a bit more time working step six. Be sure to work each step thoroughly to get the most out of the process. If you feel yourself resisting, reach out to your community for help.
Step seven states:
“Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.”
This step is often connected with what is known as the 7th Step Prayer:
“My Creator, I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad. I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows. Grant me strength as, I go out from here, to do your bidding. Amen.”
Step seven quite simply asks that you request that your higher power remove your shortcomings as part of your daily life. That’s it. If you want to work on particular defects, you can be specific in your requests.
The following discussion should help you to understand the step and its intentions and provide some tips for working the step. If you want additional guidance, call 800-839-1686. Our caring counselors can provide you with resources and connect you to other sources of support. Call now.
Why Is This Step So Strongly Linked to the Concept of Humility?
Humility is a core concept of the 12 step model and step seven, in particular, highlights its importance. Don’t think of humility as groveling at the feet of your higher power. Instead, believe that it is the key to the true freedom of your spirit. It is about accepting the truth about yourself and desiring to turn to your higher power to change.
This step asks that you turn to your higher power and ask for assistance, but you can’t do that until you can honestly look at yourself without either self-satisfaction or self-loathing. You can’t ask to have a defect of character removed if you can’t yet admit that it exists. This is why humility is so central to this step.
It is an absence of humility that allows people to justify their behavior and excuse it away. Without humility, immaturity is “youthful high spirits.” Without humility, risky sexual behavior is “a healthy sex drive.” Lack of humility can also lead to a flawed negative self-image as well.
Will I Be Able to Do This If I Don’t Believe in God?
This is another step that invokes the word “God” and that can be hard for people who don’t have a specific religious higher power. But, any form of a larger source of power and comfort can work. Atheists often use reality as a higher power.
If you have not yet fully decided on a higher power, you can still request help through mantras and general prayers. Often the combination of acknowledging defects and vocalizing a desire to be rid of them is powerful enough to lead to substantial progress.
Regardless of the higher power that you choose, research shows that relapsing individuals show sizably lower levels of spirituality than those continuing in recovery.
Will My Higher Power Remove My Shortcomings?
Well, yes and no. Just because you ask for them to be removed doesn’t automatically will them out of existence. You have to do work. Remain vigilant and correct your behavior when defects begin to reassert themselves.
However, there are people for whom asking a higher power to remove shortcomings will lead to the absence of those shortcomings. You may be one of them. But, you can’t get complacent. You have to know that your higher power can return those shortcomings at any time.
Ideally, you will make progress. Progress is fewer shortcomings. Progress is greater willingness to ask for help. Progress is increased humility. Alcoholics Anonymous is about progress and not about perfection, a concept often referred to as “harm reduction.”
How Can I Help Myself with Step Seven?
Step one asked you to admit that you were powerless and that your life was unmanageable and that was a form of humility. Step seven takes that humility and increases it. With the increase in humility will also come an increased sense of wellbeing and that will serve as powerful motivation to continue forward.
You have to embrace humility to do this. Try writing a description of yourself during different times of the day. Compare your writings over a period of a few days. What traits are constant? These may be honest parts of your character. Ask a few of the people close to you if what you have written feels objective and honest. if not, try harder.
You will need to keep working at an honest self. But, you will make progress. For additional resources to help you make a successful recovery, call 800-839-1686 today.