Step Seven

Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.



STEP SEVEN~QUESTION #1

Read the following from the synopsis of Step Seven in the table of contents of the AA 12&12:

"What is humility? What can it mean to us? The avenue of freedom of the human spirit. Necessary aid to survival. Value of ego-puncturing. Failure and misery transformed by humility. Strength from weakness. Pain is the admission price to new life. Self-centered fear chief activator of defects. Step seven is change in attitude which permits us to move out of ourselves toward God."

Discuss and reflect on the idea that "He (God) has removed a great deal but there is still work to be done."

LEADERS SHARE:

When I started program, I was angry all the time. I deeply resented people who seemed to be happy. My childhood and adolescence was quite miserable and still brings up terrible memories of pain and sadness as I progress in my program. Many of my past defects of character and shortcomings were the result of the pain and sadness of my earlier years. The most serious shortcoming that I have to ask God one day at a time to take care of is that I always thought everybody hated me. Today, I consciously know that there are people who really do care about me. But this tape still wants to kick in and play on its own. Only God can deal with this one! I am truly a work in progress as I continue to grow in my program. Answering my own questions as I lead this study has brought up painful memories that until now were suppressed. I theory is god did not consider me to be ready for these memories until I started this study. I know that more will be revealed in the future as I continue on my road to recovery.

Today, the first three things I do are: pray, pray, and pray. This is my only way to communicate my feelings, hurts, anger, and sadness to god. I acknowledge that the things done to me were wrong and I ask god to help me forgive those who hurt me during my childhood and adolescence. In addition, I ask god to forgive them and to show his grace to them. God talks back to me through my readings and through other people.



STEP SEVEN~QUESTION #2

Read Step Seven in the OA or AA 12&12, if you have one. Discuss and reflect how taking this step indicates a change of attitude for you.

LEADERS SHARE:

Step 7 asks me to HUMBLY ask HIM to remove MY SHORTCOMINGS.

Humbly tells me to submit my request to God without any reservations or strings attached. My requests include:

*Asking god for the willingness to do His will for me one day at a time. If necessary, I ask Him for the willingness to be willing.

*If there is something bugging me, I ask God to deal with it, other wise it will manifest itself in a character defect or shortcoming.

*If a painful or sad memory from my pre-adult years come up, I express my feelings to God and acknowledge any wrongs committed against me were wrong. I ask God to give me the willingness to forgive those who hurt me and for God to forgive them.

Him to me is God. When I started program, although raised Christian, I used the generic concept of God. Today, being an active member of my church, I have a very clear definition of a higher power. He provides me with everything I need because I believe:

*He really does care about me and wants the best for me

*He is crazy about me

*He gives me strength to work my program

*He provides me a source to ask for the willingness and/or strength to forgive others who has hurt me

*He speaks to me through other people

When I started program over 23 years ago, I could not see any shortcomings in myself. Today, there is only one thing that I am perfect in and that is being imperfect! I ask God to remove my shortcomings as they become known. I also surrender anything that shows up on my "gripe list." If something gripes me, then it will manifest itself in a character defect through my actions or words if I do not deal with it.



STEP SEVEN~QUESTION #3

Read "A Vision For You" in the AA Big BookWrite on the concept" God's vision for you includes the concept that you cannot transmit something you haven't got. What must you do to maintain what you have?

LEADERS SHARE:

Well, I learned the hard way that I cannot transmit something I haven't got! When in program from 1980 - 1982, I worked the first half of step #1 and the last half of step #12 with utter perfection and disregarding the rest. Since then, I was humbled. Even when answering my own questions that I have been posting here daily, I can only share my own experience, feelings, what I have done in my program, and where I am at now. within the last year, I completed all of the steps through step #12 with a step sponsor. During this quarter, I am working the steps again by answering my own questions. As a result, more stuff has come up by answering my own questions.

I maintain what I have by maintaining contact with program people, reading each day (currently I am reading a chapter a day from a book that points out that my life really does have a purpose - actually 5 purposes), sharing at meetings, and attending church to maintain my conscious contact with God. Everything I do is one day at a time. As painful memories come up, I first acknowledge to God that I feel what was done to me was wrong, I ask for the willingness to forgive the people who hurt me, and I ask God to forgive them. I now know that there are people who really do care about me. The old tape that everybody hates me rarely ever gets played anymore. Furthermore I am no longer ashamed that I have a 70% hearing impairment and that I wear hearing aids.



STEP SEVEN~QUESTION #4

Read the quotation from Step Seven in the AA 12&12, "Refusing to place God first, we had deprived ourselves of His help. But now the words 'Of myself, I am nothing, the Father doeth the works' began to carry the bright promise and meaning." Discuss and reflect on what is working in your life and what must be let go.

Also, undoubtedly additional memories have come up that relate to all of the earlier questions, beginning with the step #1 questions. Share on at least one of the memories that you have not yet shared.

LEADERS SHARE:

I must share all of my hurts and feelings with God. When somebody wrongs me, I first acknowledge to God that I feel in my hear that I was wronged and ask His guidance and direction. Secondly, I ask God to give me the willingness to forgive the person or institution that wronged me. Thirdly, I ask God to forgive them. This process provides sustained results over a period of time if I do this on a daily basis to the best of my ability. The most difficult feeling is a person on my team that I feel tries to take advantage of me and he encourages the other members of my team to do the same. It has always been difficult for me to take a stand when somebody takes advantage of me. Through God, I can ask for the willingness and courage to correct this shortcoming by being able to do the difficult task of standing up for myself.

One memory that came up for me was almost 29 years ago when I was hired into a entry level civil service position and a co-worker told me that I was lucky person because of civil service. He pointed out to me that nobody else would hire me because of my hearing impairment and the fact that I wear hearing aids. This experience reinforced my shame of my hearing impairment and the fact that I wear hearing aids. Thankfully, through these 12 steps, today I am free of this shame!



STEP SEVEN~QUESTION #5

Take a Seventh Step inventory. Discuss and reflect on program accomplishments and program setbacks.

LEADERS SHARE:

My shortcomings are inability to speak up, fear of other people's reactions, and procrastination. The program has given me the gift of speaking before crowds of people with greater confidence. I ask God to give me the words to say and to have the strength to deal with difficult people. God is always with me and He is always around to help me when I let Him in.

Also, my program accomplishments is that I am nowhere close to 300 pounds. I am still learning that other people's reactions are their problem, not mine. I am not responsible for how others react. I am constantly asking God for willingness to get over procrastination. However, when I set my sights on something, it gets done - no matter what.



STEP SEVEN~QUESTION #6

A quote from Chapter 17, Doctor, Alcoholic, Addict page 439-456 in the third edition of the AA Big Book states; "...if I focus on the answer, the answer increases." Discuss and reflect on what this idea means to you?

LEADERS SHARE:

To me, this also means to be in the solution. Growing up, I learned to focus on the problem and try to affix blame. When something is bothering me, I need to focus on what the real issue is and stay in the principles and keep the personalities out of it. Today, I ask God to lead me to the correct solution. God has always been there for me, I just need to choose to follow His lead. Living in the solution to the best of my ability causes the solution to glow brightly. This weekend, I had an opportunity to fellowship with other friends in recovery. I cannot describe how much this means to me to be around others who accept me for who I am and who are not judgmental. In the group I attend on Friday night, we all call each other brothers and sisters in recovery.



STEP SEVEN~QUESTION #7

How do you make, or how can you make, honesty, tolerance and true love of man and God the daily basis to live in?

LEADERS SHARE:

Learning to be totally honest was partially accomplished by a game. When somebody gives me change and the amount given to me is too much, I no longer walk away and say "YIPPEE!" I ask the cashier if the amount of change is correct and if I received too much, I give the excess back. You should see the looks on their faces - total disbelief! First, I am now being honest and it feels really good inside, and I really do enjoy seeing their reactions! Sharing to somebody how I truly feel is the hardest thing for me because I have a natural fear of other people's reactions. Today is better than yesterday, and yesterday is better than the day before. This is one area of program I am still growing in.

Tolerance had to be learned. Fortunately it was easy for me because of the way I was treated as a child because I was "different." Many of the issues in my life that needed work stemmed from intolerance towards me as a child and young adult. Today, I say out loud that we are all God's children and each of us have our individual purpose. Furthermore, I say out loud that each and every person is equally important to God and that we all really do matter.

Learning to love others and God was hard for me. This is because I grew up thinking everybody else hated me and wanted nothing to do with me. In this scenario, how could I love anybody else. I was always ashamed of myself and my disability. Today, I know that there are people who really do care about me. I also learned to care about others and to feel their pain with them and be there for them because I care about them. One employee of mine told me that I was very compassionate. I did not believe her until I shared this at a meeting. When others at the meeting told me that she was correct. I shared this with the employee how much her comment meant to me. I believe that God speaks to me through other people. A person at my church told me that I had a lot to offer. I first wanted to look behind me to see if she was saying that to somebody else. That was God telling me that I am really important. Through these experiences, I have learned to love my fellow human beings and to love God. I pray most every day and I pray about the people I care about and I also pray about what's on my mind. When bad memories come up from my childhood or young adult years, I acknowledge to god that I was hurt by the experience, I ask God to give me the willingness to forgive them, and I ask God to forgive them. Today, I know without question that God was there for me even during the worst of times.



STEP SEVEN~QUESTION #8

Do you still place self-reliance first and are you still rebellious? How can humility give us serenity? How does the taking of the Seventh Step aid in the reduction of Ego?

LEADERS SHARE:

My default reaction is always based on self-reliance. This how I grew up, always having to fend for myself and making it through difficult times all by myself. Through program and my faith, my reactions are more based on "what would God do?" When something bugs me, I learned to pray about it and turn it over to God. Being humble is the way to peace and serenity because I AM NOT IN CONTROL! I ask God for guidance and direction every day in my life. When the going gets tough, I ask several times each day.

Step #7, is all about letting God in to fix and heal me. The opposite is EGO (edging God out). With God in my life, I am learning to accept life as it happens and knowing that God is not behind evil things but He is behind the solution. All the bad things that happened to me were not from God, but God was always there even when I did not know it. The gift that I have from all of this is the ability to share it with others who may have had similar experiences and to help them grow. doing this helps me grow in my program as well.



STEP SEVEN~QUESTION #9

Make a gratitude list of what God has done for you that you could not do for yourself? What unreasonable demands have you made upon others, yourself and God? How did self-centered fear play a part? What proof have you had that other problems besides "the deadly obsession of eating compulsively" can be banished?

LEADERS SHARE:

All throughout my life, God was always with me. When we were kicked out of a church in 1982 because my daughters were diagnosed with autism, God was with me. God brought me closer to him many years later when I was ready. God has shown me that I really do have something to offer and that I do not just take up a space. God has shown me that there are people who really do care about me and do not "shut me out." There are people who are not afraid to eat at the same table I do. God speaks to me through other people. God has given me the willingness and the faith to forgive those who hurt me as a child and adolescent and He is willing to forgive them too.

My inability to speak up when needed can often make others guess at what I really want. I always expected myself to lose weight while bingeing is an unreasonable demand on myself. Buying tight clothes did not make me lose weight, just made me miserable. I know God was always there for me and was ready for me when I was ready.

My natural fear is other people's reactions. I do not like to deal with other people's comments or behaviors. As a child, I was beaten up by my peers all the time because I said something or asked for something. I learned to hide and avoid when I was about 10 years old. Instead of dealing with something, I would avoid "working the issue."

Feeling all alone and isolated thing everybody hates me is just as deadly as eating compulsively. I been learning that although some people do not like me, there are many more who do. I take care of myself by not eating lunch alone during work when I go off campus for lunch. Unless I am with someone, I order the food "to go" and take it back to my office to eat it. I take up opportunities to fellowship with others in recovery by participating in social functions. When people want to be with me and connect, I feel blessed that I am really worth something.



Love In Recovery,
Dennis

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~Much Love~ ~Kim