Dear Fellow Travelers,
Step Seven Essay
As with step six, once again we are addressing our character defects and for the fourth time; since step 1, we are asked to seek God's intervention in our lives. Step 6 concentrated "on our willingness to yield these flaws to God, Step 7 centres on the humility with which we should approach Him."
It is very important at this point to understand that humility should not be confused with humiliation.
Most of us have experienced enough humiliation to last a lifetime, every time we failed to control our food; our self-esteem plummeted to record-breaking lows. The further we fell from grace the harder we fought and obsessed over our position on the imagined 'ladder of approval.' For many, being socially accepted became more important than life itself; self-absorption, manipulation and gaining recognition became the methods we'd use to "disprove our own feelings of inadequacy."
Status seeking, self-absorption and feelings of inadequacy are all toppled by genuine humility. True humility places us neither higher nor lower than other individuals, instead it seats us exactly where we belong: "on equal-footing with our fellow beings and in harmony with God."
Humility unlocks several chains that, if left unbroken, will prevent us from reaching our goal of a life in recovery. There is a tendency to minimize or even deny the pain inflicted upon us by our compulsiveness around food and the rest of our lives. By approaching the steps and God with humility, the seriousness of the disease and the part it plays on our character defects will become openly and honestly evident. Underestimation is a tool of the disease; humility our sword.
Believing that we can vanquish this disease on our own, with our own will power and our own intellect and logic, is yet another rock under which our disease hides. Humility helps us to uncover the limitations of our very human brawn.
How quick were we to shrug off the significance of step 7, "so few words, hardly worth making them a step on their own!" How many of us stumbled on the word "humbly" and felt a twinge of pain as we so willingly delved down the path of humiliation, negative self-images and low-self-worth! "Poor self-esteem may be camouflaged by a superficial sense of false pride and by a resistance to God's intervention." The disease would love for us to wallow ever after in the mire of low self-image, humility throws us a lifeline and with Gods help we discover a life free from negative self-respect and are restored to a healthy balance of acceptance through God.
Step 7 is once again asking that we surrender the leadership role of our lives to God. We are being asked once again to acknowledge our own limitations and to understand that it is not what we "accomplish, amass or accumulate materially" that brings us true contentment or freedom from that spiritual hunger we have lived with for so many years.
With regards to the number of words, step 7 is probably the shortest, however it is by far the most potent and embodies the miracle of transformation:
"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.
~ Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 76