Step 7 of the 12 Steps

Step 7 of the 12 Steps

While step seven of the Alcoholics Anonymous program could be viewed as a second part of the preceding step, it has enough power to stand on its own. This step is where the preparation meets action.

In step six, AA members looked inward and prepared themselves to get rid of a lifetime of baggage. This baggage is in the form of character defects uncovered in steps four and five.

Seventh Step Prayer

On page 76 of the “Big Book”, members of Alcoholics Anonymous are encouraged to offer a prayer to their Higher Power, asking Him to take away, once and for all, the “junk” they have been carrying around their entire lives.

“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.”

Having said this prayer, or some similar sentiment in their own words, the AA member is said to have completed step seven.

In step one (1), you admitted powerlessness over alcohol. In step two (2) you declared your higher power. It might have been God, Allah, Nature, a passed-on relative or loved one. As a last resort the AA Group itself can be a source of a higher power. In this article, I will refer to God as your higher power to ensure simplicity. In step three (3), you turned your will and life over to the care of God. In step four (4), you wrote a list of your moral inventory which included your resentments, faults, fears, sexual injury, and harms. Once your list was complete, in step five (5) you stated your role in past wrong doings. In step six (6), you declared to God that you are ready for him/ her to remove your shortcomings. And now in step seven (7), you humbly ask God to remove your shortcomings.

Mother Theresa said, “If you are truly humble, nothing can touch you, neither disgrace nor praise, because you know who you are.”

So how do you complete step seven? Let’s use the example of quitting smoking. In step six, you prepared yourself and declared that you are ready for change. You said, “I am ready to quit smoking” and you turned it over to God. You have faith in God. If God wants you to quit smoking you’ll quit smoking.

Steps 6 and 7 are considered the hardest of the actions due to their constant attention to a spiritual connection. At times, it is difficult to determine your own personal will versus God’s will. Your intention, motivation, and actions are of utmost importance.

With the grace and guidance of God you are breaking down your larger goal into smaller manageable actions. The process begins in the morning when you awaken. You embark on the day asking God his will for you. It could be the simplest of things such as you are not going to buy a pack of cigarettes today. The temptation may be great but if you ask God for help and pray for the power to carry out your goal, your chances to follow through are increased. If you fail you forgive yourself and try again. It’s as if God is holding your hand and guiding you along the way. At the end of the day as you fall asleep, give yourself praise and allow God to show his approval for your role in making your goal a reality. It is just as crucial to be kind and gentle in small setbacks.

Working step 7 along with the other steps is a continual process. As long as you are continuing to put one foot in front of the other, you are moving forward; positively and purposely as God encourages. With the guidance of another and your ongoing spiritual connection and consciousness, you are able to achieve anything you determine it to be. As long as you are kind, gentle, and compassionate to yourself, your spiritual being will support and help you along the journey.

Humbly Asking To Remove Your Shortcomings

It takes great humility to face our imperfections. Yes, we are all manifestations of the divine. At the same time, each one of us has areas of imperfection. Growth is an evolutionary process. We are all here to learn and to move forward in life. So asking God to remove our shortcomings isn’t an open admission of sin nature, but rather a procession from one stage of development and consciousness to a higher level of thinking and living out our lives.

Addictions definitely get in the way of a happy, productive life. Quite often, they can be the result of great emotional pain, or ways of dealing with unhappy events.

They satisfy our needs for a brief period of time, but end up creating more problems than they solve. In fact, nothing is solved by developing addictions. Misery is added to misery and lives are shattered.

So when we humbly ask God to remove our shortcomings, we pave the way toward developing happier, more productive lives.

Since each of us is a part of the divine, it is helpful to partner with someone in the recovery process. The intervention and the support of a prayer partner augments the power of intent when one is dealing with addictions. This cannot be done alone. Group support is critical.

So when we humbly ask God to remove our shortcomings, we pave the way toward developing happier, more productive lives.

Since each of us is a part of the divine, it is helpful to partner with someone in the recovery process. The intervention and the support of a prayer partner augments the power of intent when one is dealing with addictions. This cannot be done alone. Group support is critical.

There's Power In Words To Change Our State Of Mind

AA Step Seven is the martial arts method of ending emotional pain. Step Seven: “Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.”

If you have reached this page it’s probably because you have had trouble getting the AA Seventh Step to actually work. You are not alone. Step Seven is the hardest to understand and it’s hardest to get working. But at the same time, it’s the most profound and powerful.

Humility is the key! Step Seven doesn’t work unless one, “Humbly asks.”

The reason it’s the hardest to understand is because the word, “Humility,” is very difficult to understand. It origin is from Old English and means, to be servile. That’s one meaning. But there’s another meaning. The other meaning is, “Sublime,” which means: to elevate or exalt, especially in dignity, honor or peace of mind.”

When we get a dictionary definition of the word humility, it’s usually involves being scraping and servile. So no one rushes to Step Seven with much enthusiasm. Then over time we come to realize there’s another meaning, but we still have trouble.

Another reason is we don’t actually know how to achieve the sublime state. Sublimation is the key. Sublimation means “To divert the expression or impulse of an instinctual desire or mental reaction, from its unacceptable form, to one that is considered more socially, culturally, or spiritually acceptable.”

Achieving a state of humility (The Sublime State) in the midst of intense emotional pain such as anger, jealousy, fear, or depression is actually easy but only if you know how. Humbly asking, the requirement for Step Seven, comes easily too.

Sublimation itself is an easy task, but again — only if you know how!

Trying to control the mind by forcing it into a state of humility using will power is not advisable. This is because it involves suppressing emotions. This causes both physical and mental illness. Suppressing anger is possibly one cause of cancer. Do it that way and Step Seven will give you cancer.

So achieving a state of humility is not done with direct will power. Besides will power is totally ineffective for sublimating any strong emotion into humility. If ever there is a fight between the will and emotions, the emotions always win. Trying to control anger with will power is like trying to control diarrhea with will power. It only works for a little while. Step Seven can’t be done with will power alone.

Instead the martial arts system for controlling the mind is employed. None of the martial arts rely on physical strength alone. Instead the opponent’s force is harnessed with leverage, and this doubles and triples one’s own strength. We need power just to get the higher power to act for Step Seven.

In the same way emotional pain can be sublimated into humility. The human mind is not strong enough to do it with will power alone. So more power is needed. The power in words comes to our rescue. This is the real key to Step Seven.

All have seen a lady bent over in despair and hopelessness. Another lady whispers a few words of encouragement into her ear. Suddenly she straightens up with a look of determination and vitality. Such is the simple power in words.