Topic for the week: Step 7
We are all invited to share on Step 7. The steps are our blueprint for living sober lives.
*** Step 7 ***
“Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.”
By the time I finished my 4th and 5th Steps, I was more than ready to change, to have my character defects removed. Without knowing it, I had done Step 6, but I didn’t think I could make the changes that were so obviously needed. Thankfully, the Big Book contained the 7th Step Prayer, and that explained a lot. It was a great relief to know that my Higher Power would remove my defects. What I didn’t realize is that it would be in HP’s time, not mine.
Another thing I didn’t notice right away is that HP would remove those defects that were a barrier to my service to God. HP wasn’t going to remove something just because I wanted it gone. HP would make me useful to other alcoholics first and other human beings second. I learned to rely on that prayer to help me heal and become whole.
Celebrating 27 years means nothing. I still say the 7th Step Prayer every day: “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.” Of course, I say it in my own words, but the sentiment is the same.
A wise old man in my Virginia meetings pointed out to me that the word “remove” does not mean a defect will be taken away forever. He said it would be set aside. I could have that character defect back anytime I wanted. All I had to do is stop working the program and stop striving to be of service. Soon, I would find myself repeating old behaviors and making the same old mistakes. I might relapse. (Someone else suggested that HP would remove them in the order in which they were killing me.)
When I ask in prayer that HP remove my character defects, I trust that it will happen. But I have to do some footwork. I have to stay aware of what I’m saying and doing. I have to continue to apply these principles in all my affairs. I need to be aware of what others might need that I can give, and I have to give it with love. I have tried to do all of these things since I put down that last drink. I haven’t been perfect, but I have changed. Most of that is due, I believe, to Step 7 and my HP’s willingness to help me a better person.
I’d love to hear about your experience with Step 7. What does the 7th Step Prayer mean to you? What have you done to make change real in your life? Have your character defects been “removed?”
This step is listed in Chapter 5, How it Works, from the book, Alcoholics Anonymous (affectionately known as the Big Book) (see p. 59). There’s more in Chapter 6 (Into Action), starting at the top of page 76. There’s even more about it in the book, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.
*** Where to get the books, Alcoholics Anonymous and Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions ***
You can find these books at many f2f AA meetings; you can order them online from many places. And they are available from the AA General Service office, to read online, in English, French, and Spanish. See www.aa.org/