Step Seven

Humbly asked Him
to remove our shortcomings.


Step 7 is pretty simple: ask God to remove my shortcomings. I'm ready because I did the preparation in Step 6 to the best of my ability. I take my list of character defects and ask God to remove every one of them. I like to use the Step 7 prayer from the AA literature. Imperfectly remembered, it goes like this: "My creator, I am willing for You to have all of me, good and bad. I pray that you remove from me every defect of character that stands in the way of my usefulness to You and to my fellows (Note: I add "and to myself"). Grant me strength as I go out from here to do Your will." That's all there is to it.

Humility is an interesting concept, and it's interesting that it appears *here* of all places. How come I'm supposed to ask God to do God's thing w/humility? My best guess is that it reminds me of why I'm in OA in the first place and what makes OA different from diet clubs and weight-loss organizations. Step 7's "humbly" reminds me of a number of principles:

1. The purpose of going through recovery is not to make me better than other people (I've spent my life trying to do that already). Rather, it's to give me serenity and acceptance about who I am and what my purpose in life is. Humility says that I'm neither better nor worse than anyone else. It says that I am a child of God, created in God's image and have no reason to apologize for breathing my portion of the air or taking my amount of space in the universe. I'm asking God to remove my shortcomings so that I can be the best "me" that I can be ... and to be able to relate to those around me peacefully and with integrity.

2. If I'm asking *God* to remove my shortcomings, then I'm not responsible for making them go away ... *God* is. However, that does not mean that I get to behave inappropriately or act out those shortcomings. Quite the opposite: Step 7 (and Step 6, too) keeps me on my toes about when I am losing myself to my defects of character. I may not be responsible for my tendency to procrastinate, but I *am* responsible for getting things done on time. With God's help, this becomes easier to do as God removes procrastination as a shortcoming in my life. In the meantime, I need to keep a calendar and a to-do list and make sure that assignments are done on time. God may move mountains, but it helps to bring a shovel.

3. Recovery is on "God" time, not "Penny" time. If I had my way, I'd be abstinent, thin and totally recovered *yesterday*. Humility reminds me that I'm not in charge - and right now that sounds pretty nice.

I am eternally grateful for the slogan "progress, not perfection." Steps 6 and 7 are like Step 3: I give up the imperfections to God ... and then promptly take them right back. As I mentioned in Step 6, I give up the character defects when I'm ready ... and God is always there to take them from me.


1. What does "humility" mean to you?

2. What does it mean to ask "humbly?"

3. Why is it so important to ask God "humbly"?

4. What would the difference be if "humbly" were not part of the step?

5. How does it feel to know that you are not in charge of removing your shortcomings?

6. "God may move mountains, but it helps to bring a shovel." How does this relate to Step 7?

7. How does "progress, not perfection" relate to Step 7?

8. How do you understand Step 7 working in "God's" time, not our own?

9. If you have worked Step 7, do you have a "procedure" for working Step 7 that has worked for you?

Yours in Recovery,

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