Step Seven

Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.



Step 7 Essay

Step Seven: Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

The steps use the somewhat stilted language of an earlier time, and so, in Steps 4 - 7 a different word is used for what is in essence, the came concept. In those days people were taught never to use the same word when another could be found. "Shakespeare never repeats," even though we are not dealing with Hamlet or Sonnet XVI. I once assisted in the writing of a law in which the same word was repeated sixteen times in one paragraph, but there were no questions about what meant what.

You can't change your personality. It is pretty much a given. You can develop some aspects of personality that are underdeveloped, but you can't change the basic set up given at birth. My daughter works for a large corporation where she is a manager in a certain highly technical division. She is an introvert. The company some time ago sent her for training in public address and outgoing managerial style. She learned well. She can address an assemblage of experts with equanimity. It still takes a lot of energy. Introverts are fueled from within, and lots of people without saps them. I, an extrovert, am quite the opposite. So when I started to develop my spiritual side, I had to learn that I can go silently within and make connections there, too. I still draw more energy from being with people, but I learned to meditate, or contemplate. And so I learned to talk humbly to my Higher Power. This does not mean that an introvert will be better at "prayer" than an extrovert. It just means that sometimes, as these examples show, we have to develop all of our talents. There isn't a person so introverted that they cannot learn to be effective with groups of people, and there isn't an introvert who cannot learn to enjoy sitting in silence listening to the God who speaks to us interiorly in our intuitions.

We could multiply examples. I just mentioned intuition. The opposite of intuition is sensation. These refer to our primary ways of gathering information. Some go within, some look without. But there is always some kind of balance required. If you go within and never notice the "out there," you will soon be classified as psychotic, if you don't get run over first. And the sensate person who never goes within can come close to missing their own spiritual connection.

But character is a collecting of habits. Sometimes these habits are unconscious – compulsive eating at a point prior to recovery is an unconscious habit, and it can be a very difficult habit to dislodge. Compulsive type habits are almost impossible to break alone.

We need a power greater than ourselves. The same such that we came to believe had the power to restore back in Step 2. Now, in this step, the moment of crisis has arrived. We are asked not merely to believe in the possibility, but to actualize the possibility.

Out in a minimal way, there universe is energetic. It is a vast energy field. And energy moves. And in the universe we know, it moves with seeming purposefulness, even if not in an orderly way. Chaos is true at one level. But somehow all the chaos results in certain movement, which if not completely predictable, has at least probabilities, sometimes of a high order. Many of us are content to believe that this energy is directed by God. Others do not know how it is directed, but know that the energy is there, and that it can be used in certain highly personal ways for the ends of recovery. We do not dispute theology here.

So now the time has come when we need to place ourselves in the direct flow of this energy, and let it take us to new places, rather than continuing to attempt to buck the stream. Salmon do swim upstream to spawn, but also to die. The salmon who swim with the stream are those with life ahead of them. A good analogy.

The purpose of the prior step was to come to see that we've been bucking the current, and this has gotten us nowhere. The purpose of this step is to begin to relax and float in the stream, moving where it directs us, with a realization that we are now headed in not merely another direction, but that the energy we get by letting go and letting God at this point can change our characters. It can make us healthier, it can restore us to sanity, it can take away our compulsions and all those terrible habits that have supported it. But we have to stop fighting it. We have to turn the business over to our HP, and go with the flow. Trusting that such will indeed take place, we can get on with recovery, with life, and with the next steps.


Be Realistic - Plan for a Miracle

Step 7 Questions

Step 7: Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

1. The accurate definition of humility is "the right assessment of oneself." It is inevitable that we see ourselves as good the way we are. It is only when we notice that life is not going as we had hoped that we may begin to understand the need for change. The things that can be changed include certain aspects of our character. Especially the compulsive habits and patterns in our lives.

A. Look back over your moral inventory. Have we done it with true humility, that is, with awareness of the character defects we actually do have? If, at this point, you think you see some evidences of ignorance of denial, can you add these and whatever they represent to your list before going on?

B. One of the greatest acts of humility as well as wisdom is not only to recognize those things we cannot change, but also to recognize the changeables that we can attempt on our own, and those which require a great power than ourselves.

C. Can you sort out some of these? Can you alone control your eating, or do you require some other source of power?

D. Are you finally willing to turn those things you cannot change alone over to your Higher Power? Do you have confidence that your Higher Power can move you in another direction which is recovery? E. Will you sit down today, if possible, and ask your Higher Power to help you stop struggling with that which is impossible for you to do alone, and let go and let God? Do you already have some sense of what this might be like?

F. In the essay I told about an example of my own and one of my daughter's, but this was not a change in Character – it dealt with development of personality. This is something we can do for ourselves. A change in character might consist of not being given to so much anger, or not be unconscious when eating the refrigerator bare. Can you share at this point in time some ESH on the change of your own character with the help of your HP?

For me, for example, I have long since stopped being unconscious about my eating. Long ago, I learned the difference between what I call compulsive hunger and natural hunger. I also learned that if I sought help from my HP, the compulsive hunger could be overcome on the spot. Now, after nearly ten years, I am rarely hungry in the compulsive sense, and my appetite is more nearly "normal" that it has ever been. I visited a restaurant a few days ago where I had eaten long ago when in my food. I used to eat prodigiously there – I won't mention the foods, but suffice it to say that the protein portion weighted 20 ounces. The other day, I ordered something else from the Senior Citizen's menu, which was sort of half portions of the regular dishes. I couldn't finish it.

I have no idea how this happened, except that I know who caused it to happen. But, then, we do believe in miracles, don't we. But the habit and the consciousness have changed.

Be Realistic - Plan for a Miracle



Step Eight

WTS Home
The Twelve Steps
Recovery Home

Copyright 2002 THE RECOVERY GROUP All rights reserved