Step Seven

Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.



STEP SEVEN

Hi friends.

My name is Shlomo and I am a food addict and compulsive overeater.

Just a reminder:

All the things I write are my personal ESH and interpretation. I don't invent anything new here, since all the needed material about taking the steps is written in the Big Book, and the 12 & 12.

I also don't represent anyone except myself. I write and share about myself, the way I understand the steps and the way I work the steps. Whatever you find here that is not written in the books is just my personal opinion backed by my personal experience.

Now let us begin with discussing step 7.

This is the only step with the word humbly in it. I have written about humility in the step 5 post but I think it would not hurt to repeat it again, since I need all the reminders I can get, especially were humility is concerned. So let us see again what is meant by humility.

First let me say what humility is not. Humility is not humiliation. It is not being a door mat for other people to wipe their shoes on. It is not letting others spit on me and push me around. Another point to notice is that if I think that I am humble than I am not, I am really prideful. Only my actions can indicate a degree of humility.

Let us see again how the A.A. 12 & 12 defines humility.

First definition: "... it amounts to the clear recognition of what and who we really are, followed by a sincere attempt to become what we could be." page 58.

Second definition: "... a desire to seek and do God's will ..." page 72.

Seeing and accepting ourselves as we are, with our liabilities and assets without trying to hide anything, and then acting to become what we can be as recovered persons by seeking to do God's will, are definitely action definitions. God wants us to be happy, joyous and free. Which means for us, to be a recovered person, free of our obsession with food, who develops spiritually.

We have the method to achieve all that by taking the steps, and when we desire to seek and do God's will instead of our self-will, we are acting humbly. Taking all the steps is the way to do it.

Each step of the 12 steps is an ego (self-will) deflation device. It is our ego which manifests as self-centeredness and self-will run riot, which block us from H.P., from our inner being and from others. Humility also means being teachable and changeable, since it is also the opposite of being prideful. A prideful person thinks he knows everything and does not need to learn and change.

Let me now say a few words about the meaning of humbly asking in step 7.

Humbly asking does not mean that I think of myself as a humble person. It means that I don't make contracts with God. I don't barter. I let God decide what is good for me and what to do about my defects. I leave it to God and accept anything that God does about it. I let God be the one who decides when and how much to deal with my defects. I ask God to remove my defects since I am powerless over them. If I don't ask God to remove my defects it means that I still want to keep them, and since I have free will, that is my prerogative. The misery that results from holding on to the defects is also my prerogative.

The Big Book suggests we take step 7 by saying a prayer. Here is the seventh 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." BB page 76.

The Seventh Step prayer follows both aspects of humility that were defined by the A.A. 12 & 12, which are:

"... the clear recognition of what and who we really are, followed by a sincere attempt to become what we could be ..." and "... a desire to seek and do God's will."

In this prayer we stand before God as we are, with our strengths and weaknesses. We let God determine which aspects of our character are most useful to God and to others. We do not seek God's help to accomplish our self-centered objectives. The new focus of our lives is to find and do God's will for us. God's power is available to us for asking. With it we will be able to overcome the temptation to act in self-centered ways.

After saying the prayer we are told:

"We have then completed STEP SEVEN." BB, page 76.

Does this mean that our character defects have been removed by saying the seventh step prayers?

NO!!!

The steps are not magic tricks that fix us at first try, but rather techniques (principles) for living life successfully, and prayer is always accompanied by action in the 12 steps. Saying the seventh step prayer means that I am aware of myself as a person with defects and assets, I am aware that I am powerless over my defects, and I am aware that it is only God who can remove my defects. That is why I turn to God with prayer.

Letting God deal with my defects leaves me free to deal with other aspects of my life. Instead of trying to do the impossible and deal with my defects, I surrender them to H.P. and am now free to deal with the rest of the steps and thus practice and develop my assets. Those are the things I can do and those are the things I should do without delay.

Asking God to remove our defects in step 7 is just a beginning. Usually we surrender a defect with one hand and hold on to it with the other. A defect is removed entirely only when our surrender is complete. Our surrender will probably never be complete since this is a program of progress and not of perfection. Therefore our defects will be removed to the same degree that we surrender, and will surface from time to time more strongly, as our surrender weakens. That is why the daily steps 10-11 tell us to watch on a daily basis for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment and fear. Those are the indications that our self-will took over and we have to act in order to surrender again more fully and do God's will.

This is a never-ending process on a daily basis. Progress not perfection is our motto, and we progress by working all the steps on a daily basis.

As I said only God can remove our defects and the degree of removal is dependent on our degree of surrender at that time. We can strengthen our surrender by practicing living in a way that's different from the way we lived when we were ruled by our defects. We can try to live according to the principles of unselfishness, honesty, courage and considerateness. Once I have asked H.P., to remove my selfishness for example, than with that Power's help I can practice unselfishness instead. Slowly my old mental habits can die and be replaced by new ones. This will take time and work on my part, but with the help of H.P. and with what will power I can muster while in my H.P.'s service, I can start becoming unselfish. The same is true for my other defects. The change evolves by praying to God to remove them and practicing living according to the conjugate assets.

As I continue to practice on a daily basis I will find that a new personality emerges and replaces by degrees the old one and I will find out that this new personality and the new way of life that goes with it are far better than the personality and the way of life I used to have. So I have to work all the steps on a daily basis and practice my assets consciously.

We began asking God to remove some of our defects and began practicing the conjugate assets while taking step 4. Let us remind ourselves of the Big Book's suggestions about resentments, fears, and leading a sane life. The suggestions comprise prayer and complementary action:

"This was our course: We realized that the people who wronged us were perhaps spiritually sick. Though we did not like their symptoms and the way these disturbed us, they, like ourselves, were sick too. We asked God to help us show them the same tolerance, pity, and patience that we would cheerfully grant a sick friend. When a person offended, we said to ourselves, 'This is a sick man. How can I be helpful to him? God save me from being angry. Thy will be done.' BB, pages 66-67.

"We avoid retaliation or argument. We wouldn't treat sick people that way. If we do, we destroy our chance of being helpful. We cannot be helpful to all people, but at least God will show us how to take a kindly and tolerant view of each and every one." page 67.

"We ask Him to remove our fear and direct our attention to what He would have us be. At once, we commence to outgrow fear." page 68.

"We earnestly pray for the right ideal, for guidance in each questionable situation, for sanity, and for the strength to do the right thing." page 70.

"... we throw ourselves the harder into helping others. We think of their needs and work for them. This takes us out of ourselves." page 70.

"We have begun to learn tolerance, patience and good will toward all men, even our enemies, for we look on them as sick people." page 70.

Here is a suggested simple method, based on personal ESH, for practicing step 7 on a daily basis. Let us call it:

A STEP SEVEN DAILY PRACTICE METHOD.

Choose a character defect from your personal liabilities and assets table. Devote a blank page to it in your notebook. At the beginning of the page, write for example:

"Today's Personality Flaw - Judgmental"

Say the seventh 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."

Now say a prayer for the removal of this particular defect

"God, I pray that you now remove from me the defect of being judgmental, 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."

Now write the following:

"I will work today to practice the conjugate assets of Unprejudiced, Tolerance, by doing these things today."

Then you list a number of things that you plan on doing today in order to practice those assets.

In the evening write:

"Review of the day's efforts and personal notes -"

This is a very useful way to practice step 7 daily.

If you are not clear about what actions to take for practicing a particular asset during the day, than discuss it with your sponsor first.

There is an additional action, based on personal ESH, that I can add to this daily practice:

MEDITATE ON THE CHOSEN ASSET.

Let us say that for today I have chosen the defect, fear of financial insecurity. The conjugate asset to fear is courage, and faith and trust in my H.P. Since meditation is an awareness tool, if I meditate daily on the meaning of courage and faith and trust in my H.P., I help my asset to develop. Meditation in this case means sitting quietly and contemplating the meanings of faith and courage, and visualizing how my life will be when these assets are dominant.


INTO ACTION AND SHARING SUBJECTS.

1. Seventh 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."

Say the seventh step prayer aloud to God to yourself and to another human being (sponsor, or other suitable person).

By saying the prayer that you have taken step 7. CONGRATULATIONS!!

You are now ready to move on to step 8.

Share you feelings after saying the prayer.

2. Let us review the daily work resulting from taking the first 7 steps, and being part of the fellowship.

a) Going to meetings at least once a week.

b) Giving service.

c) Sharing with my sponsor regularly.

d) Daily commitment to abstinence, and asking God to help me with the commitment.

e) Daily communication with H.P., telling H.P. my problems by talking to H.P. as to a dear friend (or as father, or mother, or guide, or beloved, etc.), and asking for help.

f) (Option). Reminding myself of my decision to turn my will and my life over to the care and direction of God, by saying the third step prayer.

g) In the step 4, harm done to others tables (by sexual conduct and by general conduct), there are persons that you may find very difficult or impossible to make amends to.

Say the following prayers for these people on a daily basis.

"God help me show __________ (name of person) the same tolerance, pity, and patience that I would cheerfully grant a sick friend. Show me how can I be helpful to ___________ (name of person). God save me from being angry. Thy will be done."

"God please grant ___________ (name of person) health, prosperity, and happiness. Help ___________ be happy joyous and free."

"God, remove my fear of___________ (name of person, institute), and direct my attention to what You would have me be."

h) Suggest you begin practicing the STEP SEVEN DAILY PRACTICE METHOD of choosing a different defect and conjugate asset pair every day, and practicing saying the prayers and acting on the specific asset that day. (We may choose a different pair every few days if we wish.)

The idea is to deal with all the conjugate defect/asset pairs in our liabilities and assets table and then begin again from the beginning.

i) Suggest you meditate on the chosen asset for this day.

Share with us on all the things listed here that you carry out on a daily basis and how they make you feel.

See you in step 8.

Have a nice day.
Shlomo




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